Pew survey: Americans think religious influence declining


NEW YORK (JTA) — Nearly three-quarters of Americans think religion is losing its influence in American life, according to a new survey.

The Pew Research Center poll released Monday found that 72 percent of respondents, the highest level in 10 years, see religious influence on the decline and want religious institutions to become more vocal.

The survey of 2,002 U.S. adults also found that 32 percent think Jews face “a lot of discrimination,” compared to 65 percent who say that about gays and lesbians, 50 percent about Hispanics, 54 percent about blacks and 59 percent about Muslims.

The share of Americans who say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political issues rose to 49 percent from the 43 percent in 2010. In addition, a growing minority of Americans (32 percent) think houses of worship should endorse candidates for political office, though most continue to oppose such direct involvement in electoral politics.

More Republicans than Democrats would like to see religion play a larger role in public life, the survey found.

The survey was under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

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