06 Apr Poll: Does religion have a place in the public dialogue?
Regarding expressions,” of religious faith and prayer by political leaders, is there: “too much,” “too little,” “about right or “don’t know?”
Here’s how readers answered:
Too much 0 Percent
Too little 85 Percent
About right 9 Percent
Don’t know 6 Percent
This question was asked as a result of a survey done by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. You probably won’t find it surprising that the results of the UFI reader survey varied quite dramatically from the Pew Survey.
Here’s what Pew had to say about their results:
The number of people who say there has been too much religious talk by political leaders stands at an all-time high since the Pew Research Center began asking the question more than a decade ago. And most Americans continue to say that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of politics.
Nearly four-in-ten Americans (38%) now say there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders, while 30% say there has been too little. In 2010, more said there was too little than too much religious expression from politicians (37% vs. 29%).
Slightly more than half of the public (54%) says that churches should keep out of politics, compared with 40% who say religious institutions should express their views on social and political matters. This is the third consecutive poll conducted over the past four years in which more people have said churches and other houses of worship should keep out of politics than said they should express their views on social and political topics. By contrast, between 1996 and 2006 the balance of opinion on this question consistently tilted in the opposite direction.
We at United Families International are not surprised, but very disappointed, that so many citizens have come to believe that a religious voice doesn’t have a place in the public square or in determining public policy.
One might be able to make the case that some politicians are too profuse with their discussion of their personal religious beliefs and prayer habits, but all of us should be quick to point out that if religion is removed from the public square what is left is not a tone of neutrality between religion and secularism. What is left is simply secularism. We have not achieved neutrality; we’ll just be allowing the government to favor secularism.
A secular perspective and the belief structures that accompany it represent a point of view – a worldview – just as much as religious perspectives and beliefs do. So if you jettison a traditional religious perspective, you have now “established” a religion of secularism.
It is our hope that the vast majority of citizens will soon return to the long-understood position that the religious perspective is an important ingredient in civic engagement and in determining public policy.