The fifth annual index by a leading law firm finds that friendship is key to maintaining gains amid polarization and the shifting emphasis of Gen Z.
American support for religious freedom is trending in the right direction.
Rebounding from COVID-19 lows in 2020, the Becket Religious Freedom Index registered a new high in 2023 in its annual monitoring of “first freedom” resilience in the United States. Amid widespread political polarization, core support for the right of individuals to live according to their faith remains strong.
“Despite some efforts to turn religion into a scapegoat for our nation’s problems, most Americans believe that religion—and religious freedom—are key to solving them,” said Mark Rienzi, president and CEO of Becket. “As we celebrate Religious Freedom Day, we should remember that religious liberty remains the cornerstone of our effort to form a more perfect union.”
Results were released on January 16, marking Virginia’s 1786 passage of the statute for religious freedom which became the basis for the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Initially led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the day has been commemorated in the United States ever since a presidential proclamation in 1993.
Either three centuries or 30 years later, there should be no “sky-is-falling narratives about American culture,” summarized the report.
Featuring 21 questions across six categories, the annual index measures perspectives on the First Amendment. Now in the report’s fifth year, Becket polled a nationwide sample of 1,000 Americans in October, scoring their opinions from 0 (complete opposition) to 100 (robust support).
The composite score is 69, one point higher than last year and up three points from 2019.
Becket’s report asserts the religious impulse is natural to human beings, and …