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Majority of U.S. disapproves of marrying atheists
Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service
January 21, 2010
2 MIN READ TIME

Majority of U.S. disapproves of marrying atheists

Majority of U.S. disapproves of marrying atheists
Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service
January 21, 2010

Most Americans accept interracial marriage, but many people

of faith say they would be troubled by a family member’s decision to marry an

atheist, the Pew Research Center reports.

Seven in 10 Americans associated with a religion said they

would either be bothered, but come to accept such a marriage (43 percent) or not

ever accept (27 percent) it, the poll found.

Meanwhile, slightly more than a quarter of religious

Americans (27 percent) said they “would be fine” with a relative marrying a

person who did not believe in God.

While black Americans are the most likely to accept

interracial marriage, among people of faith, they are more uncomfortable with marriage

to an atheist compared to whites and Hispanics, researchers reported in the

study released Jan. 12.

In general, people who attend religious services at least

once a week are less likely to approve of marriage to a nonbeliever: 16 percent

of weekly worshippers would be fine with a marriage to an atheist, compared to

36 percent of people who attend less frequently.

Among frequent worshippers, whites are less likely than

blacks, and far less likely than Hispanics, to approve of marriage to an

atheist. Eleven percent of white frequent attenders, compared to 16 percent of blacks

and 35 percent of Hispanics, said it would be fine if a relative married a

nonbeliever.