Is America a Christian Nation? New Poll Suggests Few Americans View the US as a Christian Country

Jonathan Fromm, New York member of Communion and Liberation, carries a cross on the Brooklyn Bridge during the 19th annual "Way of the Cross Over the Brooklyn Bridge Ceremony" in New York City, April 18, 2014. The ceremony, hosted yearly on the Christian holy day of Good Friday, includes walking from St. James Cathedral, over the Brooklyn Bridge to St. Peter's Church in Manhattan. The event attracts approximately 2,000 people each year. | (Photo: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

A LifeWay Research survey from earlier this week has found that only 19 percent of respondents consider America to be a Christian nation. Furthermore, more respondents felt the U.S. is a welcoming place for atheists than for Muslims.

While only 19 percent identified America specifically as a Christian nation, close to 69 percent said that is a "Nation of Many Religions." Another 9 percent suggested it is a secular nation.

"Debate about whether America is a Christian nation will continue," said Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research vice president. "Although most Americans are Christians, they understand a nation founded on principles of religious freedom will be a nation of many faiths."

When it comes to welcoming people of different religious faiths, 92 percent of voters said the U.S. is a welcoming place for Christians — and 87 percent said the same for Jewish people.

Those numbers dropped for atheists, with 67 percent saying America is a welcoming place for them, and went even lower for Muslims, with only 57 percent saying the same.

"Americans are deeply committed to religious liberty, but they can look at today's culture and see America does not always welcome everyone," McConnell added. "Welcoming people of all religions means being open to both immigrants of other faiths and citizens who choose to change their beliefs."

The survey was based on phone interviews with 1,000 Americans, conducted Sept. 19-28, 2014, and provides a sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence rate.

The question of whether America is a Christian nation has been asked throughout the country's history, as CNN pointed out earlier in July on Independence Day.

A major Pew Research Center study from May found that although Christians still make up the majority of Americans, they are on a decline in terms of population share, while the religiously unaffiliated are experiencing the fastest rise.

Pew's statistics found that Christians fell from 78.4 to 70 percent of the population between 2007 to 2014, while people of no faith, or the nones, rose from 16.1 to 22. 8 percent in the same time period, making it the second largest group after Christians.

Jewish people and Muslims on the other hand made up distinct minorities, with 1.9 and 0.9 percentages of the population in 2014, respectively.

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