Just 19 per cent of Americans believe that the US is a Christian nation but the majority believe it is still far more welcoming to Christians than Muslims, a new poll has found.
The survey by LifeWay Research found that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe firmly in religious freedom, with 90 per cent agreeing that citizens should be free to choose and practise their faith.
Over two thirds labelled America a "nation of many religions", while 19 per cent said it was a Christian nation and nine per cent believe it to be secular.
Despite this, the majority of those asked agreed that the US is more welcoming to Christians than those who follow Islam. While 92 per cent said Christians are welcomed, just 57 per cent said the same for Muslims.
Over a third (35 per cent) said specifically that America is not welcoming towards Muslims.
"Americans are deeply committed to religious liberty, but they can look at today's culture and see America does not always welcome everyone," explained Scott McConnell of LifeWay Research.
"Welcoming people of all religions means being open to both immigrants of other faiths and citizens who choose to change their beliefs."
Even among groups most likely to say that America is a Christian nation – Southerners, evangelicals and those between 55 and 64 years old – the view was held by just one in four.
According to Pew Research, however, 70 per cent of Americans identified with Christianity as their religion.
"Debate about whether America is a Christian nation will continue," McConnell said. "Although most Americans are Christians, they understand a nation founded on principles of religious freedom will be a nation of many faiths."
Another recent LifeWay poll found that more than half of Americans believe God has a special relationship with the US.