Most Americans Feel Religion Is 'Under Attack,' Poll Shows

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - A new survey shows the majority of Americans think religion is "under attack" and "losing its influence" in American life.

According to the poll, American Attitudes Toward Religion In the Public Square, 64 percent agreed with the statement that "religion is under attack" in America, and 80 percent of those who identify themselves as fundamentalist/evangelical/charismatic Christians, were in agreement.

"The findings suggest that American public opinion is starkly divided when it comes to the role of religion in the public square, and that our nation's proud tradition of church-state separation is threatened as never before," said Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham H. Foxman.

The poll of 800 adults was conducted between Oct. 25 and 30 and released by the Anti-Defamation League.

"Unfortunately, too many people believe that religion is under attack in America, when in fact according to all measurements, religion is stronger in the United States than in any other Western country," said Foxman.

The poll also found 53 percent of respondents believe that religion is "losing" influence in American life, while 35 percent said it is "increasing influence." Among those who think religion is "losing" influence, 60 percent are evangelical/fundamental/charismatic Christians, while 33 percent of that same group said religion is "increasing" in influence.

As far as Ten Commandment cases go, 64 percent of those polled agreed with the statement that "it is important that religious symbols like the Ten Commandments be displayed in public buildings such as court housed. Eighty-nine percent of fundamentalist/evangelical/charismatic Christians agreed.

On the topic of intelligent design, the theory that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher being, 56 percent favor the teaching of intelligent design or creationism, alongside the theory of evolution in public schools.

Among fundamentalist/evangelical/charismatic Christians, 70 percent favor creationism, compared to 28 percent who opposed it.

And 57 percent said "the Bible" was "a more likely explanation for the origins of human life on earth" instead of Darwin, compared to 31 percent who believe Darwin is a more likely explanation. Eighty-seven percent of evangelical/fundamentalist/charismatic Christians favored the Bible over Darwin as a better explanation of the origins of human life.

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