Poll: Our House Is Divided on Church and State

More Americans than ever want religious leaders entering the political fray.

The divide between Americans who think religion should play a role in politics and those who don't is growing.

A Pew Research Center survey released today shows those who say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political issues is up 6 points, to 49 percent from 43 percent, since the 2010 midterm elections.
At the same time, the share of the population that's not affiliated with any religion -- sometimes called the "nones" -- is growing. That group totals about 20 percent of Americans.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans -- 72 percent -- think religion is losing influence in American life, up 5 percentage points from 2010. That's the highest level in a Pew poll during the past decade. Most of those who hold this view see the trend as a bad thing.

Some of the survey's other findings:

  • Half of Americans consider homosexuality a sin, up from 45 percent a year ago. Nearly half of adults think that businesses like caterers and florists should be allowed to reject same-sex couples as customers if the businesses have religious objections to serving those couples.
  • A larger share of the general public sees the Republican Party as friendly toward religion (47%) than sees the Democratic Party that way (29%).
  • Thirty percent say the Obama administration is friendly toward religion, down 7 points since 2009.
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