The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has released results of a national survey on American’s views of religion and politics titled “Many Americans Uneasy with Mix of Religion and Politics” (html-version; pdf version).

Looking at those who identify themselves as part of either the religious left or the religious right, they found:

The survey finds that religious conservatives, and white evangelical Christians specifically, have no equal and opposite group on the religious left. About 7% of the public say they identify with the “religious left” political movement. That is not much smaller than the 11% who identify themselves as members of the “religious right,” but the religious left is considerably less cohesive in its political views than the religious right.

Other findings also supported the notion of a more cohesive religious right than a religious left, even though the percentage of each side as a proportion of the population was not significantly different.

Other sound bytes:

Americans overwhelmingly consider the U.S. a Christian nation: Two-in-three (67%) characterize the country this way

Today, roughly six-in-ten (59%) say religion is losing influence on American life, while 34% say it is gaining influence.

A relatively high proportion of adults under age 30 (14%) say they think of themselves as a member of the religious left, twice the level of any other age group. However, roughly the same percentage of young people (13%) say they think of themselves as a member of the religious right.

Most Americans (78%) continue to view the Bible as the word of God, though there is disagreement over whether everything in the Bible is literally true; 35% say it is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, while 43% say the Bible is the word of God, but not everything in it should be taken literally.

There is much more to the survey than these quotes suggest. It provides a nice opportunity to get a snapshot of current U.S. attitudes about religion more generally and its relationship to politics.

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