A growing number of religious and nonreligious Americans say America should be a nation made up of people from a wide variety of religions, but white evangelicals stand out, according to a new study from Public Religion Research Institute.
Fifty-seven percent of white evangelical Christians indicate they’d prefer the U.S. be a nation primarily made up of people who follow the Christian faith. Only 13% of them say they prefer the U.S. to be made up of people belonging to a wide variety of religions. The remaining 30% fell in between.
Non-Christian religious Americans (71%) and religiously unaffiliated Americans (65%) are the major groups among whom a majority express a preference for religious diversity. Less than 4 in 10 Hispanic Catholics (38%), one-third of white mainline (non-evangelical) Protestants (33%), and about 3 in 10 Black Protestants (31%), white Catholics (30%), and other Christians (30%) express a preference for religious diversity.
“On this question, there is really more going on than politics,” said Robert P. Jones, PRRI’s CEO. “One relatively small but powerful group is willing to live in a mostly Christian country. Everybody else is somewhere quite different.”
Their preference for Christianity comes up again in relation to Islam, when 75% of white evangelicals say the values of Islam are at odds with American values and ways of life – significantly more than any other U.S. religious group (white Catholics were the next, at 58%).
There are deep divides along politically partisan and religious lines. Only 17% of Republicans, compared to 41% of independents and 55% of Democrats, mostly prefer the U.S. to be made up of people belonging to a wide variety of religions. Four in 10 Republicans (38%), compared to 20% of independents and 14% of Democrats, prefer the U.S. to be a nation primarily made up of people who follow the Christian faith. These patterns are also consistent with findings from 2018.
Also notable, 31% of Americans think the presidential election was stolen from former president Donald Trump, but a full 60% of white evangelicals believe this. No other religious group comes close.