Religious Liberty

Four-Year Study Reveals Unexpected Views of Religious Liberty

Research Releases in Faith & Christianity • April 30, 2019

What role should religious belief play in public life? The question has taken on new dimensions as the issues have changed and as successive generations are less connected to Christianity, or to religion at all. Although religious liberty questions remain frequently and hotly contested in the political arena, Barna research shows that, at least among Protestant pastors, concern about religious freedom restrictions has actually declined.

One of the foremost challenges to careful thought concerning this question is that public awareness of religious liberty debates is mixed—even among clergy. How do pastors and the general public define terms related to religious freedom, and how do they view its fate in the United States? A recent Barna report, Faith Leadership in a Divided Culture, is the culmination of four years of research conducted in partnership with The Maclellan Foundation examining views of religious liberty among the general population and faith leaders in the United States—Christian and otherwise. We found that although faith leaders and the general public agree on a definition for religious freedom, they have evolving outlooks regarding its future…

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