WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Most Americans say they are OK with religious holiday displays on public property, with 72 percent of U.S. adults supporting Christian symbols on government property in at least some cases.
New Pew Research Centers’ survey data finds that a plurality (44 percent) of Americans say Christian symbols, such as nativity scenes, should be allowed on government property even if they are not accompanied by symbols from other faiths. Additionally, 28 percent of U.S. adults said that these symbols should only be permitted if they are accompanied by symbols from other religions – such as Hanukkah candles.
One-in-five Americans (20 percent) said there should not be religious displays on government property whatsoever.
Viewed the data another way, just shy of half of U.S. adults (48 percent) expressed concern about Christian symbols on public display. These Americans said that Christian symbols must be placed with symbols of other faiths or that no religious displays should be allowed at all.
The Pew data finds that a majority of Americans believe the details of the biblical Christmas story, with 65 percent of U.S. adults saying they believe all aspects of the story of Jesus Christ’s birth.
About three-quarters of Americans believe that Jesus Christ was born to a virgin, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth, and that wise men, guided by a star, brought Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Eight-in-ten U.S. adults believe the newborn baby Jesus was laid in a manger.
Among U.S. Christians, 81 percent believe in all four elements of the Christmas story.