“Anti-Religion” Professors

Apparently about one-third of Americans think college professors are “unfriendly” toward religion. According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center:

About a third of the public (32%) perceives university professors as unfriendly to religion, while 37% describe professors as neutral to religion; far fewer (14%) say university professors are generally friendly toward religion. Compared with 2003 (when this question was last asked), there has been a noticeable rise in the number describing professors as unfriendly to religion and a slight downturn in the number saying professors are friendly to religion.

In 2003 only 26 percent of Americans said professors were “unfriendly” toward religion.

This is view, however, appears to be slightly less common among those who actually have experiences with professors. According to Pew:

College graduates are more apt than those with less education to describe professors as neutral toward religion, while more of those who have not graduated from college express no opinion on this question.

Opinions about this differ dramatically by political affiliation. Some 58 percent of Republicans indicated that professors were “unfriendly” toward religion; only 18 percent of Democrats described the situation that way.

While actual unfriendliness is practically impossible to measure, a 2007 survey published by the Social Science Research Council indicated that about 40 percent of college professors regularly attend church services. About 49 percent of Americans regularly attend church.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer