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A recent Pew Research Center study shows that the majority of Americans believe religion has lost its influence in American life. The poll was conducted between February 13-25, with responses from 12,693 US adults. In 2002, 52 percent of US adults believed that religion was losing its influence in American life, while 37 percent believed it was gaining influence. In this most recent poll, 80 percent believed religion was losing its influence, while only 18 percent believed it was gaining. Forty-nine percent of those who believe religion is losing its influence shared that they believed it was a bad thing, while 57 percent expressed a positive view of religion’s influence on America. 

Despite the feeling that religion is losing its influence on America, 94 percent stated it was either “very” or “somewhat” important for a president to live a moral life. Another 64 percent stated they desired a president who would protect those with religious beliefs. Nearly half of Americans (48 percent) feel they have religious views that are at odds with mainstream views, and 29 percent consider themselves as part of a minority group due to their religious beliefs. When it comes to a president’s religious beliefs, 48 percent of Americans stated it was important for a president to have strong religious beliefs, while 37 percent wanted a president that had the same religious beliefs as them. The differences were stark when compared with political affiliation, with 61 percent of Republican or Republican-leaning Americans preferring a president with strong religious beliefs, while only 36 percent of Democrats and Democrat leaners agreed. Fifty-five percent of Americans believe the country should enforce the separation of church and state, known as the establishment clause, but 44 percent who don’t believe Christianity should be the official religion of the US still believe that Christian values should be promoted. 

When it comes to current presidential candidates Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, Americans don’t seem to think too highly of their own religious beliefs. Only 4 percent of Americans considered Trump “very religious,” while 13 percent believe Biden is. Sixty-eight percent believed that Trump is either “not at all” or “not too” religious, while 44 percent believed the same about Biden. Sixty-two percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Biden, while 60 percent have an unfavorable view of Trump.  

Researchers stated the findings showed a growing unease in Americans. “Overall, there are widespread signs of unease with religion’s trajectory in American life,” wrote researchers. “This dissatisfaction is not just among religious Americans. Rather, many religious and nonreligious Americans say they feel that their religious beliefs put them at odds with mainstream culture, with the people around them and with the other side of the political spectrum.”

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