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Most Faith Groups Agree US Has Gone Astray. They Don’t Agree on the Way Forward.

Most Faith Groups Agree US Has Gone Astray. They Don’t Agree on the Way Forward.
2022 American Values Survey Cover. Image courtesy of PRRI

(RNS) —Three-quarters of Americans say the country is heading in the wrong direction, and the majority of many religious groups agree with that sentiment, a new report shows. But they don’t all agree on what, exactly, has gone wrong.

The 2022 American Values Survey by Public Religion Research Institute finds that religious Americans hold generally negative views of the state of the country, ranging from 93% of white evangelical Protestants to 59% of Black Protestants.

“Though most Americans favor moving forward, a sizable minority yearn for a country reminiscent of the 1950s, embrace the idea that God created America to be a new promised land for European Christians, view newcomers as a threat to American culture, and believe that society has become too soft and feminine,” the 60-page report states.

“This minority is composed primarily of self-identified Republicans, white evangelical Protestants, and white Americans without a college degree.”

PRRI’s survey addressed questions of race, sexuality, abortion and immigration as well as sentiments about the country’s origins.

About a third (31%) of Americans agree with the statement that “God intended America to be a new promised land where European Christians could create a society that could be an example to the rest of the world.”

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Half of white evangelical Protestants agree, while smaller percentages of other religious groups do: 37% of white mainline Protestants, 36% of white Catholics, 32% of Hispanic Catholics, 22% of Black Protestants and non-Christian religious Americans and 16% of the religiously unaffiliated.

There is also a split among Americans about whether immigrants to America are a threatening (40%) or a strengthening factor for society (55%), with white Christian subgroups significantly more likely than others in the country to side with the idea that newcomers from other countries are a threat.

“Attitudes About the State of American Society, by Party and Religious Affiliation” Graphic courtesy of PRRI