Survey Highlights Americans’ Mixed Views on Church and State, Constitution

October 19, 2010

Fifty-three percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation, but 66 percent say the document requires a clear separation of church and state, according to findings in a survey recently released by the First Amendment Center.

Thirty-eight percent strongly agreed that the Constitution founded America as a Christian nation, and 15 percent mildly agreed, while 26 percent strongly disagreed. The numbers closely reflect the survey's 2008 findings. 

The 2010 survey produced interesting results on a wide range of questions about religion, law, and the Constitution generally. These include: 

- When asked about the importance of political candidates’ religious affiliation in their decision on who to vote for, 23 percent said very important, 25 percent said somewhat important, 16 percent said not too important, and 36 percent said not at all important (1 percent refused or did not know).

- 80 percent agreed (61 strongly, 19 mildly) that students should be allowed to offer a prayer at public school events (13 percent strongly disagreed, 7 mildly).

- 76 percent support (58 strongly, 18 mildly) the proclaiming of a National Day of Prayer by Congress or the president (13 percent strongly oppose, 7 mildly).

- 75 percent agreed (54 strongly, 21 mildly) that students ought to be allowed to speak about their religious faith at public school events (12 percent strongly disagreed, 10 mildly).

- 61 percent agreed (39 strongly, 22 mildly) that corporations should have the same free speech rights that individual citizens have in supporting citizens (24 percent strongly disagreed, 10 mildly).

- 58 percent believe the U.S. Constitution should not be amended to ban burning the American flag; 38 percent believe it should.

I recommend checking out the full results, which can be found via PDF here.

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