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