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Growing share of Americans want religion to play a role in US politics




File photo: A student from Trimmier Elementary School holds a flag during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony, Sept. 10.
File photo: A student from Trimmier Elementary School holds a flag during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony, Sept. 10.
Photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan Hoskins | U.S. Army via Flickr Creative Commons

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A new report from the Pew Research Center finds that nearly three-quarters of Americans say that religion is losing influence in American life.

And most Americans who say religion’s influence is waning see that as a bad thing. 

Jessica Martinez, a researcher with the Pew Research Center, says it's difficult to say why more and more Americans believe that religion is losing its influence, but "it might be that some of this is in response to the fact that there is a growing share of the public who don't identify with any particular religion."

Diane Winston, Professor of Media and Religion at the University of Southern California, agrees.

"I asked my class about their religious affiliation and out of about 100 students, about 60 percent said they were unaffiliated. That to me is an example of the loss of religious influence," she says.

But, Winston adds, that doesn't mean that religion has totally lost its influence in American society.

"The big example is [the] Hobby Lobby case. Now, privately owned corporations have rights of religious free exercise. That's a very big example of religion not losing its influence. The saliency of culture war issues — abortion, same-sex marriage —  these all show that religion is a vital part of American life."