Most (56%) Americans do not believe that the right of religious liberty is being threatened in America today. However, nearly 4-in-10 (39%) believe that religious liberty is threatened today.
Majorities of Tea Party members (72%) Republicans (60%), and seniors (56%) believe that religious liberty is being threatened. White evangelical Protestants (61%) are the only major religious group that believes religious liberty is threatened in America today.
On the other hand, majorities of Democrats (69%), Independents (58%), and Millennials (73%) do not believe that religious liberty is being threatened today. Majorities of Catholics, minority Protestants, white mainline Protestants and the unaffiliated also do not believe the religious liberty is being threatened in America today.
When Americans who believe that religious liberty is being threatened today were asked to explain in their own words how religious liberty is being threatened, only 6% mention the recent debate around the contraception coverage mandate. The most frequently mentioned reasons are the removal or God and religion from the public square (23%), government interference in religion (20%), and hostility toward Christians or religion (10%)...
...Religious Liberty and the Contraception Mandate for Employers
With the single exception of churches or other places of worship, majorities of Americans believe that employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception at no cost. However, there is more agreement about this requirement for some types of employers than others.
Roughly 6-in-10 Americans say that publicly held corporations (62%) and religiously affiliated hospitals (57%) should be required to provide employees with health care plans that cover contraception. A slim majority of Americans believe that religiously affiliated colleges (54%), privately owned small businesses (53%), and religiously affiliated social service agencies (52%) should be required to provide employees with health care plans that cover contraception. Only 42% of Americans say churches and other places of worship should be required to provide this coverage to their employees...
...Religious Liberty and Same-Sex Marriage
A slim majority (52%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, and 44% oppose.
Among religious groups, majorities of Catholics (59%), white mainline Protestants (65%), and the unaffiliated (75%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. Minority Protestants are divided, with 45% in favor and 48% opposed. In contrast, among white evangelical Protestants, 71% oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, compared to only 26% who favor.
The survey also found religious liberty concerns were active among a subset of those who oppose same-sex marriage. When Americans who initially oppose same-sex marriage are asked whether they would support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry if the law guaranteed that no church or congregation would be required to perform marriages for gay and lesbian couples, support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry increases 6 points, from 52% to 58%.