Support for school prayer declining among Americans

Published 15 January 2013

Support for prayer in schools has declined steadily among Catholics and mainline Protestants, according to a new study.

Among Catholics, 61 per cent of those in their mid-40s support prayer in public schools, The Christian Post reports.

The percentage of mainline Protestants in the same age bracket supporting school prayer stands at 58 per cent.

The only exceptions to the decline were found in older Catholics and evangelicals, where support in both groups among those aged around 80 remains high - at around 71 per cent.

The lowest level of support was found among Jews, at 24 per cent.

The study was conducted by University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Philip Schwadel, who looked at levels of support since the 1970s.

He said: "Social and cultural changes have led to greater opposition to state-sanctioned prayer and reading religious materials in public schools among some segments of the population.

"Specifically, there's growing opposition among non-evangelicals but not evangelicals, and these changes manifest across generations."

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