49 Percent of Americans Say Bible Should 'Influence' U.S. Laws

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Tuesday, April 14, 2020
49 Percent of Americans Say Bible Should 'Influence' U.S. Laws

49 Percent of Americans Say Bible Should 'Influence' U.S. Laws


About half of Americans believe the Bible should have at least some influence on U.S. laws, and one-fourth say the Bible should take precedence over the will of the people, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

The poll of 6,395 adults found that 49 percent of Americans believe the Bible should influence U.S. laws. This includes 23 percent who say it should have a “great deal” of influence and 26 percent who say it should have “some” influence. Nineteen percent of Americans say the Bible should have “not much” influence on U.S. laws, while 31 percent say it should have no influence.

The survey was highlighted in a March 13 “Fact Tank” blog at Pew’s website.

Among specific religious groups, the survey found a wide range of opinions on whether the Bible should have at least some influence on U.S. laws. For example, 76 percent of Protestants, 89 percent of white evangelicals, 76 percent of black Protestant church members, 51 percent of Catholics and 31 percent of Jewish Americans say the Bible should have at least some influence.

A total of 58 percent of white evangelicals and 47 percent of black Protestant church members say the Bible should have “a great deal” of influence.

But there is a sharp political divide on the issue. A full 67 percent of Republicans (34 percent “a great deal,” 33 percent “some”) but only 33 percent of Democrats (13 percent “a great deal,” 20 percent “some”) believe the Bible should have at least some influence on U.S. laws.

There also is an age gap.

“Older Americans are much more likely than younger adults to want biblical influence on U.S. laws,” Pew’s Michael Lipka wrote in an online analysis.

Sixty-one percent of those ages 50-64 and 64 percent of those 65 and up believe the Bible should have at least some influence. Yet only 30 percent of 18-29-year olds and 43 percent those ages 30-49 believe so.

Meanwhile, 28 percent of Americans believe the Bible “should have more influence” on U.S. laws than the will of the people when the two conflict. Among religious groups, 68 percent of white evangelicals, 50 percent of black Protestant church members, 25 percent of Catholics and 12 percent of Jewish Americans believe the Bible should have more influence.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ehrlif


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.