The majority of Americans believe President Biden is a religious man, although U.S. Catholics are divided along party lines over whether he should be denied communion because of his support for abortion rights, according to a new Pew survey.
The poll, released Wednesday, found that 58 percent of adults in America know Biden is Catholic, and 64 percent believe he is at least “somewhat” religious.
More than two-thirds (67 percent) of U.S. Catholics believe Biden “should be allowed to receive communion” regardless of “his views on abortion” – Pew didn’t specify Biden’s views in the question – although there is a significant divide along party lines.
By a margin of 55-44 percent, Republican Catholics say Biden should not be allowed to receive communion because of his pro-choice views. But Democratic Catholics believe the opposite, with 87 percent saying Biden should be able to receive communion.
Pew said Catholics are “deeply split along party lines” on the issue.
“Biden has said that he wants to make Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion nationwide, the ‘law of the land,’ among other policy changes,” Pew noted. “As a result, some Catholic clergy have called for Biden to be denied Communion, and U.S. bishops may produce a document on the issue.”
Biden is America’s second Catholic president, after John F. Kennedy.
The survey also found a political divide among Americans over whether Biden is or is not religious. Although 88 percent of all Democrats say he is religious (45 percent “very religious” and 43 percent “somewhat religious”), only 36 percent of all Republicans believe he is religious (7 percent “very religious” and 29 percent “somewhat religious”).
Among other findings:
- 64 percent of U.S. Catholics say Biden “mentions his faith and prayer” about the right amount.
- 50 percent of Republican Catholics say any Catholic politician who supports abortion rights should be denied communion. Overall, 67 percent of all U.S. Catholics say such a politician should not be denied communion.
The poll was conducted March 1-7.
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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-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.