Are churches good or bad for America? The partisan gap on this question is widening, according to a new Pew survey.
Since 2017 the belief that religious groups and churches have a positive effect on how things are going in the country has dropped significantly, especially among Democrats, findings from Pew Research show.
Fifty percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning respondents said churches had a positive effect on society two years ago; only 38 percent say the same today. Forty percent of Democrats say churches and religious groups impact society negatively. Thus, the 12-point drop on this question among Democrats has left them evenly split on the topic, a marked shift.
Among respondents who leaned or identified as Republicans, 68 percent said churches influenced the culture in a positive way in 2017, a slight decrease from the 73 percent who said so in 2017.
Taken together, 52 percent of Americans regard churches and religious organizations as positive, a drop from 59 percent from two years ago.
The now 30-point gap between the parties on the subject reflects stark partisan divide over the role of religion in American life.
Regarding the effect of colleges and universities on society, the Pew results were the inverse of the question about churches and religious organization.
Sixty-seven percent of Democrats said colleges and universities were a positive force in society. Only 33 percent of Republicans said likewise.
The survey was conducted last month and was comprised of 1,502 adults aged 18 and over from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.