Fewer Americans say Religion is Key to Solving Nation’s Social Ills


Throughout US history, religious leaders and institutions have played a vital role in addressing the issues of the day.

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which witnessed a horrific shooting in June last year, was used in the struggle against slavery as a site for organizing and activism. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership of the civil rights movement was definitively shaped by his role as a preacher.

However, the share of Americans who think that churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship contribute to solving crucial social problems is declining rapidly, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

In August 2008, 75% of Americans said that religious institutions and leaders contributed at least somewhat to solving societal problems. That percentage had fallen to 65% by July 2012, and further declined to 58% in the most recent survey.

Roughly 4 in 10 Americans now say that religious leaders and institutions do not make a significant contribution to solving social problems.


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SOURCE: Neha Thirani Bagri