Texas recently attempted to pass a number of bills that would inject Christianity into the public school system, including legislation that would require the Ten Commandments to be posted in public school classrooms and allow schools to hire employee chaplains.
To find out how many Americans don’t feel there needs to be a separation of church and state, in June, Intelligent.com asked 1,800 Americans whether or not they find it acceptable to have religious instruction in public schools.
Overall, one-third of respondents said they believe it is acceptable to have religion in public schools, and of this group our survey found:
- 85% believe that having religion in public schools would improve student morality, decrease school shootings
- 52% say it’s acceptable for school staff to give advice based on their religious beliefs; 66% say it’s acceptable to have school-led prayer
- The majority of proponents identify as religious Christians
85% say religion in public schools will decrease school shootings
Of those who find it acceptable to integrate religious instruction into public schools, many believe that this will lead to a decrease in school violence (73%), bullying (71%), substance abuse (67%), sexual experimentation (59%), and gender dysphoria (55%).
Additionally, the vast majority say doing so would improve student morality (85%), mental health (82%), and work ethic (75%).
Half support permitting staff to give advice based on their religious beliefs
There are a number of ways proponents say that religion can exist in public schools.
Overall, 52% feel it’s acceptable for staff to be permitted to give advice based on their religious beliefs. Additionally, the majority say they would find it acceptable to mandate the pledge of allegiance (71%), have school-led prayer (66%), and require schools to set aside time for staff and students to pray and read religious texts (63%).
Christians, Republicans most supportive of church and state blend
Based on our results, the group that supports having religion in public schools are predominantly Christian with 85% identifying as such, and religious, with 85% saying religion is ‘very important’ (50%) or ‘somewhat important’ (36%) in their life.
These proponents are more likely to identify as having a moderate (41%) or conservative (32%) political ideology opposed to liberal (17%), and 40% are affiliated with the Republican Party. Additionally 30% say they are affiliated with the Democratic Party and 6% with the Libertarian Party.
Two-thirds of this group say they are parents, half of whom currently have at least one child attending a public school. An additional 35% have had a child in public school in the past.
Americans in the South were the most likely to support having religion in schools (42%), followed by the Northeast (35%), Midwest (34%), and West (29%).
Those with a high school degree or less were slightly more likely to be agreeable to having religion in public schools than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (35% vs. 31%).
All data found within this report derives from a survey conducted on June 1, 2023 by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,800 American adults were surveyed.
An initial screening question was used to determine if respondents find it acceptable or unacceptable to have religious instruction in public schools. Overall, 600 respondents (those who answered they do find it acceptable) completed the full survey. This survey used a convenience sample.