Poll: Majority of Americans Favor Public Displays of Religion

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

A new poll released by Rasmussen Reports on Monday shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe displays of religion should not be banned from public property or schools.

The new poll found that 74 percent of Americans say religious symbols such as Nativity scenes, Hanukkah Menorahs and Muslim Crescents should be permitted on public land. Only 17 percent disagreed.

An even larger majority (80%) favor the celebration of religious holidays in public schools. Forty-three percent of these respondents said all religions should be celebrated while 37 percent believe only some should be allowed. Only 14 percent of respondents said they oppose all religious celebrations in schools.

The survey found older Americans and women to be slightly more inclined to favor religious displays on public property.

Overall, Americans from across all demographic groups strongly favor these displays and the celebration of religious holidays in public schools.
In spite of the war between secularists and Christians that occur every year at Christmas, Rasmussen has found that an overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas (92%), and among those who do, two-thirds (65%) regard it as a religious holiday. Only 28 percent say they consider Christmas to be a secular holiday.

One of the most surprising findings in the poll is that very few Americans say they are offended when someone wishes them a “Merry Christmas, but must (58%) say they are more likely to wish a stranger “Happy Holidays” rather than risk offending them. Americans also prefer to be greeted by “Merry Christmas” signs in stores than “Happy Holidays.”

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