Religion’s influence

More people are saying religion is losing its influence on American life. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

A bad thing, according to a survey from Pew released today.

What’s odd about the survey is those groups that seem to be gaining political influence are the ones who say their religion has less influence than 2006.

Today, an overwhelming 82% of Republicans say religion is losing influence in American life; 61% said this four years ago. Independents are also more likely to say religion is losing influence in American life (65% now; 56% in 2006), while Democrats are less likely to say so, though, a majority still agrees (58% now; 60% in 2006). Majorities of Protestants (70%), Catholics (71%) and the religiously unaffiliated (62%) all agree that religion is losing influence on American life, with white evangelical Protestants (79%) the most likely to agree with the statement.

These things tend to shift. Shortly after 9/11, 78% of those surveyed said religion’s influence on American life was increasing. But six months after the attacks, only 52% thought that.