A new poll, conducted by The Marist College Poll, reveals that Americans keep faith and spirituality intact despite a decline in religious participation. In addition, more than 70% of respondents believe the country’s ‘moral compass’ is pointing in the wrong direction.

The “Faith in America” survey released by Deseret News on Tuesday, March 22, underscores the importance of moral and spiritual values and the role of the family in American society.

Despite the decline in people’s practices of daily prayer and attendance at religious institutions, and even though modern trends promote values that go in the opposite direction, Americans retain fundamental religious beliefs. 

In this regard, Hal Boyd, executive editor of Deseret National, told Fox News, “What really stands out for me is that America continues to be a religious country, despite headlines and trend lines [to the contrary]. There’s a strong thread of religiosity and spirituality in America — and it continues to inform and undergird the moral character of our nation.”

With a total of 1653 U.S. adults surveyed between January 19 and January 26, 2022, the results yielded several highlights. 

  • Fifty-four percent of respondents report that they believe in God as described in the Bible. These include those who profess a religion (86%) and those who said they practice none (33%). 
  • About 7 in 10 consider themselves spiritual, regardless of whether they practice a religion or not.
  • Spirituality increases with age: 57% of those aged 18-29 consider themselves spiritual, 62% of those aged 30-44, 79% of those aged 45-59 and 83% of those aged 60 and over, regardless of whether or not they practice a religion.  

Another aspect that remains very strong among Americans is morality. A majority of Americans (72%) believe that “the nation’s moral compass is pointing in the wrong direction.”

In this regard, the survey shows that for the vast majority of respondents (92%), it is necessary to apply the “Golden Rule” in their personal lives.

The Golden Rule is a moral principle that states that you should treat others as you want to be treated yourself. 

“It’s hard to find out anything that 92% of Americans agree on,” Boyd said. 

The survey notes that “all generations of Americans believe it is necessary to follow the Golden Rule; however, younger generations are less likely to believe that being religious is necessary to live a moral life.”

He further found that, “one’s political stance can be a strong indicator of the role they feel religion does and should play in society.”

So it is that when faced with the role of religion in politics, a strong partisan divide emerges. The results were as follows:

  • Republicans (70%) are significantly more likely than Democrats (28%) and independents (45%) to believe that someone’s politics should be influenced by their religion.
  • Fifty-five percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution was inspired by God. That proportion rises to 65% among Christians and 70% among those who practice a religion in general. Even 45% of those who do not practice a religion believe the Constitution was inspired by God.
  • There is a strong partisan divide on this question of the divine inspiration of the Constitution and the major amendments. On the Constitution as a whole, Republicans (81%) overwhelmingly believe it was inspired by God, while 55% of Independents and only 36% of Democrats agree.

Boyd remarked in the release on the poll findings, that “despite headlines that emphasize religion’s decline, faith remains a strong moral force in American life.” 

“I think the surprising thing there is that people really look to the family, and then secondarily, to their faith teachings, for moral guidance,” Boyd added, according to Fox News. 

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