The Public Religion Research Institute has weighed in on the debate surrounding the controversial Coca-Cola commercial that played during last week's Super Bowl, reminding Americans that there are many diverse religious groups in the country.
"Although there appears to be a lack of consensus on the appropriateness of the Coca-Cola advertisement, it is clear that the religious and ethnic landscape of America is changing to become increasingly more diverse," PRRI said in a statement on Thursday.
The ad in question featured a multilingual rendition of "America the Beautiful," sung by a number of different individuals and families in various languages.
While some praised the commercial, those who had issues with it made their displeasure known on Coca-Cola's Facebook page and other social media means, and accused the soft beverage company of being unpatriotic and mercenary.
PRRI acknowledged that while the ad attempts to capture America's ethnic and religious diversity, it has prompted both appreciation and outrage on social media. It pointed to one of its surveys on faith in the U.S. from 2013, which showed that the country is divided among a great number of religious groups – with the unaffiliated making up the largest section of 18- to 29-year-olds, at 31 percent.
From the survey:
"More than 7-in-10 (71%) seniors identify as some type of white Christian, including white evangelical Protestant (29%) white mainline Protestant (23%), or white Catholic (17%). In contrast, less than 3-in-10 (28%) of Millennials identify as white Christian (10% white evangelical Protestant, 9% white mainline Protestant, and 6% white Catholic)."
About 13 percent of Millennials identified as atheist or agnostic in particular, which is four times more than seniors (65+), at 3 percent.
The PRRI survey divided the results not only by religious identification, but also by race, in particular White, Black and Hispanic. Besides the unaffiliated, Millennials seem to be more evenly distributed among the other religious groups.
A Gallup poll released earlier this week also looked at religiosity in the U.S. in terms of geography, and found that Mississippi and Utah remains the most religious states in the country, while the New England states continue to be the least religious.
"The United States remains a religious nation with about seven in 10 Americans classified as very or moderately religious – and the nation's residents as a whole are about as religious now as they were in 2008," Gallup reported.