Religious Liberty on the Rise?

Becket, the religious liberty law firm, released its fifth-annual religious liberty index.  This year’s report noted that, “American support for religious freedom is coming back strong after a COVID-era slump.” The report also found that Gen Z’s attitudes about religion offered both hope and concern.

Derringer Dick, strategic research associate at Becket, recently joined The Drew Marini Show to discuss the findings. He said the report gave American’s perspective on religious liberty a 69 out of 100. “It’s the best score we’ve gotten so far.” This marks an upward trend from 66 in 2020. The number is a composite score based on several categories: religious pluralism (84), religion in society (65), religion and policy (66), Church and state (59), religion and sharing (72) and religion in action (68).

Gen Z & Millennials

According to Becket’s findings, Gen Z’s support for workplace accommodations is strong; 58% of Gen Z, “is…more accepting than other Americans religious clothing and religious days off” vs. 40% of the whole population.  However, Gen Z is less supportive of the rights of religious organizations, “This seems paradoxical,” the report notes, “but Gen Z’s generational perspective may be informed by a desire to give voice to the voiceless.”

Millennials scored lower on most of the religious freedom questions. The report found that, “Millennials have lagging support for the freedom of people to choose a religion.” They also scored lower than Gen Z on questions of practicing religion in daily life, freedom to pray, or freedom to practice religion even when it’s not a majority belief. They did match Gen Z’s support (50%) on the question of tolerance for a broad range of beliefs about God.

Parental Rights

The report also measured perspectives about parental rights including the use of pronouns in school. In 2021, the report found a majority of respondents favored the use of preferred pronouns in school. This year however, “we had a 12-point swing, now 58% of Americans are opposed to those…pronoun policies,” said Dick. Additionally, the report noted that “67% of Americans agreed that parents should be able to opt their children out of school content that parents found morally objectionable.”

Even though here are some difficult findings for the future of American religion, the report signals hope. “Our nation values religion and people of faith, approves of strong protections for religious liberty, and supports a healthy, diverse and pluralistic society.”

To listen to the full conversation click here.

Click here to read the full report or a short summary here.

Nick Sentovich serves as a producer for The Drew Marinai Show from 2-5 pm CT. He previously served as the producer for The Inner Life and Father Simon Says. He is also a husband and a father.