College Students Oppose More Religion In Politics

College students say religion plays an important role in their lives, but they don’t want to see more religion in the political arena, according to a recent survey.

The poll, released in April by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, showed that 36 percent of students “strongly disagreed” with the statement that, “Religious values should play a more important role in government.” Twenty-four percent disagreed somewhat.

Respondents, however, divided along partisan lines. The poll showed that 38 percent of Republicans believe religion should play a greater role in government as opposed to only 16 percent of Democrats. Fifty-six percent of GOP students said they want to hear politicians talk openly about their religious beliefs, while only 21 percent of college Democrats agree.

Sixty-two percent of Republicans said religion is losing its influence on American life and an overwhelming majority of them said that was a bad thing. Conversely, 54 percent of Democrats believe that religion is increasing its influence on American life and by a two to one margin say that is a bad thing.

The students were also asked whether they believed religious groups should campaign for candidates for public office. Twenty-nine percent strongly disagreed and 26 percent disagreed somewhat. (Only 5 percent strongly agreed, and 11 percent agreed somewhat.)

Thirty-four percent of students said they give no consideration to a candidate’s religion in determining whom to vote for. Twenty-five percent of the respondents said they give “a little” consideration to the candidate’s religious leanings.