Survey: Religious Liberty In Decline, But American Christians Complain Too Much

(Wikimedia Commons)
(Wikimedia Commons)

A growing number of Americans believe religious liberty is on the decline and that the nation’s Christians face growing intolerance, according to a survey by LifeWay Research.

Those surveyed also noted American Christians complain too much.

Those are among the findings of a new study of views about religious liberty from LifeWay Research. Researchers surveyed 1,000 Americans in September 2013 and September 2015 and then compared the results.

Two-thirds (63 percent) say Christians face increasing intolerance, up from half (50 percent) in 2013.

A similar number (60 percent) say religious liberty is on the decline, up from just over half (54 percent) in 2013.

Forty-three percent say American Christians complain too much about how they are treated, up from 34 percent in 2013.

“More Americans worry the U.S. has a hostile environment for religious liberty,” said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. “As this perception grows, some approve of it while others speak up against it.”

Religious liberty has become an increasingly contentious issue in American culture — with disputes over birth control, same-sex wedding cakes, headscarves at work, and prisoners’ beards.

The more recent LifeWay Research survey found faith plays a key role in how Americans view the state of religious liberty.

Two-thirds of Christians (64 percent) and those of other faiths (65 percent) say religious liberty is on the decline. Self-identified evangelicals (71 percent) and those who attend worship at least once a week (70 percent) are most likely to agree.

Catholics (56 percent) and non-evangelicals (55 percent) are more skeptical. So are Nones (46 percent).

“Christians are particularly sensitive to what they see as intolerance towards their faith,” Stetzer said. “But they share a common concern with people of other faiths — that religious liberty in general is declining. And this perception is growing rapidly.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Bob Smietana

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