Alleluia! Pew Poll Shows an Emerging Consensus for Religious Institutions

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In 2016, Donald J. Trump defied expectations by winning not only the Evangelical vote, but a wide majority of the Catholic vote as well. It was a hopeful sign that American voters might be awakening to threats against the unborn, morality, and our first freedom: Religious liberty.

But our analysis of a stunning new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that popular support for religious liberty may be far greater than even the 2016 election indicated.

In fact, judging from how Americans feel about our nation’s religious institutions, the Trump administration has an absolute mandate to defend religious freedom.

Pew Poll: Our Analysis

The Pew Center asked Americans whether they thought religious institutions had a “positive or negative effect on the way things are going in the country.”

Happily, conservative Republicans reported a positive view of religious institutions, 75-to-12. Liberal Democrats: Negative, 44-to-40. A stark contrast.

But here is the surprise: The anti-religious Left is alone.

Moderate Republicans reported a positive view of churches, 68-to-20. And moderate Democrats: Positive, 58-29!

This puts moderate Democrats only 18 points behind moderate Republicans in their positive assessment of religious institutions (58-68). And moderate Republicans, in turn, are only seven points short of conservatives Republicans (68-75).

An emerging consensus in favor of religion playing a role in shaping our country’s future!

Religion Unites Americans (Except the Far Left)

Only a small minority of Americans reported a negative view of religious institutions. The overall population feels that Churches have a positive effect on the direction of our country by a margin of 59-to-26.

Here, the ideological disconnect between the far Left and the majority of the country couldn’t be more clear.

Only 12 percent of conservative Republicans reported a negative view of churches. Moderate Republicans: Only 20 percent. Moderate Democrats: 29 percent.

But a full 43 percent of liberal Democrats believe religious institutions have a negative effect on our country. There is only a 9-point difference between moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans (29-20), but a 14-point difference between liberal Democrats and moderate Democrats (43-29).

So when it comes to religious institutions, moderate Democrats now have more in common with moderate Republicans than they do with the anti-religious far-Left.

This again leaves liberal Democrats out in the cold, nearly 20 points more anti-religious than the general public (43-26), and far more anti-religious than even moderate Democrats—the far Left’s closest would-be allies.

What this Means for Democrats

When Democrats couldn’t get through a convention without booing the mention of God (2012) or heckling a preacher’s opening prayer, it looked ugly to the American people. All, that is, except for the far Left, which the Pew poll shows to be totally out of touch with a majority of Americans.

When Democrats ran a presidential candidate who openly said “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” in order to lay the groundwork for progress, the Party was playing to a bitter minority on the far Left.

When leaked emails revealed Hillary staffers jeered at Catholic converts, who “must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations,” it became clear that the Clinton campaign was a part of that bitter minority.

No wonder American voters rejected the Democratic Party in 2016.

If the Democratic Party continues to let the anti-religious Left dictate their messaging and policy positions, they will attract only a few to their cause.

The rest of us will just see the Democratic Party as the party that has no respect for our religious institutions, and wants to take away our religious liberty.

What this Means for Republicans

If American voters think religious institutions have a positive effect on the direction of our country, then they wouldn’t want those institutions threatened by attacks on religious liberty.

There is no excuse for timidity. Republicans should energetically defend religious freedom, assured by the knowledge that a majority of Americans think highly of our nation’s religious institutions.

What this Means for the Supreme Court of the United States

This Fall, the Supreme Court of the United States will begin examining a number of momentous religious liberty cases.

Ultimately, they will decide whether LGBT groups have the right to force Christian florists, bakers, and calligraphers to participate in gay “weddings,” against their religious convictions.

Supreme Court decisions on such cases can either defend religious liberty, or set precedents that spell the beginning of the end of the religious institutions that Americans cherish. We hope our Justices keep in mind the will of the American people, rather than impose their own will on us as in the cases of Roe and Obergefell.

What this Means for the Trump Administration

In October of 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump wrote a letter to CatholicVote. “Religious freedom is our First Freedom,” he wrote, “and it must be respected.”

The American people need their president to represent them, and to broadcast their values on the national stage. The Pew polling data proves that we care about religious freedom, and we hope President Trump will use his bully pulpit to echo that without apology.

With every opportunity, whether a Supreme Court vacancy, a visit with our nation’s religious leaders, or a simple weekly address, we hope President Trump will continue to champion the people who voted to preserve the institutions that first made America great, and can make America great again under his leadership.

The 2016 election proved American voters are attracted to a bold defense of our culture and our Judeo-Christian values.

The new Pew Research poll shows us why: We the people want religious liberty.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

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Stephen Herreid is Managing Editor Online at CatholicVote.org, and Executive Producer and Host of the CatholicVote Radio Hour. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHerreid.

10 Comments

  1. “The 2016 election proved American voters are attracted to a bold defense of our culture and our Judeo-Christian values.”
    Really?  The American people elected a man who has three wives, who has been divorced twice, and who cheated on both of his first two wives.  This is the bold defense of our culture?
    Oh, and it should be mentioned that Donald Trump’s affairs, divorces and remarriages are all completely legal in our Judeo-Christian society.
    But as usual, whatever heterosexuals do in their marriages has no impact on our culture and values.
    “The American people need their president to represent them, and to broadcast their values on the national stage. The Pew polling data proves that we care about religious freedom, and we hope President Trump will use his bully pulpit to echo that without apology.”
    Perhaps you have missed…I don’t know, the last two years of current events?  These are the words of the man who is going to save our religious liberty:
    “I think Islam hates us.”
    http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/09/politics/donald-trump-islam-hates-us/index.html
    Yes, clearly this man supports EVERYONE’s religious liberty.
    Did you not read the executive orders on immigration issued by the President, the orders ballyhooed by this website?  The orders that “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
    Very interesting, isn’t it?  I mean, Muslims in Iraq or Syria couldn’t possibly face religious persecution.  It’s not like ISIS is attacking Shiites, who they believe to be apostates, nor killing Sunni Muslims who refuse to convert to Wahhabi interpretations of Islam.  Surely, setting up a religious test for immigration is supporting EVERYONE’S religious liberty.
    “This Fall, the Supreme Court of the United States will begin examining a number of momentous religious liberty cases.  Ultimately, they will decide whether LGBT groups have the right to force Christian florists, bakers, and calligraphers to participate in gay “weddings,” against their religious convictions.”
    Your defense of religious liberty is noted.  Now, one must ask, will religious groups that support gay marriage be forced to no longer perform such marriages?  Will ministers in the Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Unitarian faiths, licensed ministers of the STATE, be banned from practicing their faiths?  Since you support the banning of gay marriage, how do you reconcile the restrictions of the religious beliefs of these groups of people?
    Clearly, you don’t believe in religious liberty for all.  You believe in religious liberty for those who agree with you.

  2. “Now, one must ask, will religious groups that support gay marriage be forced to no longer perform such marriages? Will ministers in the Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Unitarian faiths, licensed ministers of the STATE, be banned from practicing their faiths? Since you support the banning of gay marriage, how do you reconcile the restrictions of the religious beliefs of these groups of people?”

    Anna-aren’t you setting up a strawman here?

    • Maybe I missed something, but if gay marriage is banned, then logically, ministers licensed by the state cannot officiate legal gay weddings, regardless of their religious beliefs on the matter. This seems rather obvious.

        • “Ultimately, they will decide whether LGBT groups have the right to force Christian florists, bakers, and calligraphers to participate in gay “weddings,” against their religious convictions.””

          This isn’t remotely akin to your strawman about ministers in LGBT-affirming churches officiating at same-sex weddings.

          • Ryan Schroeder on

            Um, are you actually claiming that the religious beliefs and practices of lay persons are actually somehow elevated above the religious beliefs and practices of ORDAINED MINISTERS?

          • “Um, are you actually claiming that the religious beliefs and practices of lay persons are actually somehow elevated above the religious beliefs and practices of ORDAINED MINISTERS?”

            If they aren’t in the denomination of the ministers in question, I bet they’d say “yes” or that they’d say “I’m entitled to my own beliefs-I’m not PCUSA, Unitarian, UMC nor TEC”.

            Wouldn’t you say likewise?

      • When gay marriage was not recognized, the situation you describe was in effect. Regardless of their religious beliefs on the matter, these licensed ministers could not officiate same-sex marriages legally.

        Logically, that is. Rather obvious.

        • Ryan Schroeder on

          I thought civil marriage was a religious belief? Isn’t that what we’re talking about with bakers, florists, etc.? So obviously, civil marriage is a religious belief. So obviously, ordained ministers who are banned from officiating civil marriages according to their beliefs are having their religious liberty restricted. Obviously.

          • Who said it wasn’t?

            Obviously not. They can perform all the marriages they want-they do not decide what constitutes civil marriage.

            They’re clerics, remember? They don’t make civil law.

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