Study Finds Most Americans Crave Religious Freedom, More Integrity in Politics
As the midterm elections loom just six weeks away, a new study has found that a strong majority of all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, want political leaders strongly rooted in constitutional principles that emphasize “personal character, traditional values, and basic democracy.”
The findings, which were published on Tuesday by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, revealed that roughly three-quarters of Americans want leaders who are “honest,” “courageous,” have “identifiable integrity,” “model kindness and understanding, even with people they strongly disagree with,” and have “a strong commitment to the idea that our country is a nation of laws.” The study surveyed “a nationally representative sample” of 3,775 adults.
Arizona Christian University President Len Munsil noted that the findings run counter to the common refrain of a staunchly polarized citizenry.
“We believe it points to widespread unity on fundamental values such as the importance of family, the desire for integrity among our leaders, for civility and kindness in public discourse, a strong military, a commitment to religious freedom and limited government,” he said. “These shared, common-sense values can provide a path forward for our great nation.”
The study further found that between two-thirds and three-quarters of respondents stated that their “ideal government” would include the following traits:
- Protective of religious freedom for all Americans, regardless of which religion they embrace (75%)
- Strengthening the economy by lowering taxes, creating desirable jobs, and helping small businesses grow (77%)
- Maintaining a strong global presence by bolstering the military, clearly defining what America stands for, and protecting freedom wherever it is threatened (69%)
- Preventing Big Tech companies from ignoring the law by censoring free speech, distorting information, and canceling law-abiding citizens (67%)
- Having the courage and commitment to the law to deport violent criminals who are not U.S. citizens (66%)
- Investing government resources in facilitating the personal growth of Americans (65%)
Notably, most of these positions are explicitly represented in the current Republican Party Platform, but are mostly deemphasized or ignored by the Democratic Party Platform. Studies show that the parties follow their platforms more than 80% of the time.
- Regarding the protection of religious freedom, the Republican platform states, “We pledge to defend the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard religious institutions against government control.” In contrast, while the Democratic platform states it will “protect the rights of each American for the free exercise of his or her own religion,” it goes on to say that it will “reject the … use of broad religious exemptions to allow businesses, medical providers, social service agencies, and others to discriminate,” without defining what constitutes “discrimination.”
- Regarding lowering taxes, the Republican platform states, “Wherever tax rates penalize thrift or discourage investment, they must be lowered.” It goes on to state, “We propose to level the international playing field by lowering the corporate tax rate to be on a par with, or below, the rates of other industrial nations.” In contrast, the Democratic platform promises to “reverse” corporate tax cuts and makes no mention of a general philosophy of low taxes.
- Regarding preventing Big Tech censorship and canceling law-abiding citizens, the Republican platform states, “A Republican administration will champion an open and free internet based on principles of free expression and universal value,” and goes on to say, “We likewise call for an end to the so-called Fairness Doctrine, and support free-market approaches to free speech unregulated by government.” In contrast, the Democratic platform states, “[W]e will take steps to prevent the use of new technologies to facilitate repression, spread hate, or incite violence,” without defining the highly disputed terms “repression” and “hate.”
- Regarding the deportation of violent criminals who are not U.S. citizens, the Republican platform states, “Gang membership should be a deportable offense. Any previously deported illegal alien who continues to show a lack of respect for our borders and rule of law must be penalized.” In contrast, the Democratic platform makes no mention of deporting criminals who are not U.S. citizens.
George Barna, the director of Research at the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University (who also serves as senior research fellow for the Center for Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council) reflected on the results of the survey. “The people hunger for political officials and systems to serve the people rather than the leaders themselves,” he noted.
Barna continued, “The policy prescriptions the people seek are those that protect families and display decency and consistency. They want control over their own lives rather than ceding that authority to the government. They envision a nation of which they can be proud because it stands for the same things they personally care about and work to promote.”
Another recently released survey found that the policy proposals in the House GOP “Commitment to America” plan are finding widespread popularity “in battleground and conservative congressional districts.” The proposals include “bringing the supply chains back from China,’ “holding prosecutors accountable to ensure they prosecute criminals,” “securing the border,” “protecting girls’ sports,” and “a parent’s Bill of Rights,” among others.
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.