Are Christians in America facing increased intolerance for their beliefs? That question at the center of a new Lifeway Research survey yielded some noteworthy results.
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Not only do the majority of Americans believe religious liberty is on the decline (54%), but nearly six-in-10 (59%) say religious tolerance for Christians in the U.S. is on the decline. This latter proportion believes Christians are “increasingly confronted with intolerance,” according to Lifeway.
Just 24% disagree with this contention, and an additional 18% aren’t sure where they stand.
Notably, the majority of people in every religious group — Catholics (59%), Protestants (69%), and those of other religious beliefs (52%) — agree that Christians face ramped-up intolerance.
This viewpoint is even held by 41% of people who are not affiliated with any faith.
In a world in which progressive and secular ideals are on the increase, it’s not surprising to see Christianity — which once held a more sweeping cultural sway — draw mounting rebuke.
Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, said this intolerance surrounds “cultural pushback.”
“In the American marketplace of ideas, not all systems of thought are welcomed,” McConnell said. “The majority of all religions notice this pushback against Christians today.”
Meanwhile, 36% of respondents agreed with the notion Christians “complain too much about how they are treated,” though 49% disagreed with this claim.
The survey results come as Christianity continues to decline, with the Pew Research Center finding 63% of Americans identify as Christians, down from 78% in 2007.
At the same time, the growth of the “nones” — those individuals who are either atheist, agnostic, or unaffiliated — continues to swell, expanding from 16% in 2007 to 29% in 2021.
“The secularizing shifts evident in American society so far in the 21st-century show no signs of slowing,” Pew noted in a December analysis.
Lifeway’s survey was conducted among 1,005 Americans from September 2-14, 2021, and has a sampling error that doesn’t exceed +/- 3.3%. Read all of the results here.
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