1/10/2020

Hidden identity: When Americans decide to keep their religious background to themselves



"For many Americans, religion is a fundamental part of who they are. It is a key facet of their identity; informing their interactions, relationships, and opinions. But for many other Americans, including a significant number of those who belong to minority religious groups, sharing religious beliefs with others is not as easy. The latest American Perspectives Survey finds that 27 percent of Americans report that they have not shared their religious beliefs or views about religion because they feared the disapproval of friends or family members. Americans who are most likely to shield their religious beliefs or views about religion from those around them are disproportionately members of religious minority groups. Atheists, agnostics, and people who belong to non-Christian religious traditions are more likely than Christians to keep their religious identities and beliefs to themselves. 42 percent of Americans who belong to a major non-Christian religious tradition say they have at one time chosen not to share their beliefs because they thought their friends or family members might disapprove. 43 percent of atheists and 40 percent of self-identified agnostics say they have done the same. In contrast, less than one-quarter of Catholics (24 percent), white mainline Protestants (22 percent), white evangelical Protestants (21 percent), and black Protestants (18 percent) have reported doing this."