38% of Americans Believe Churches Fuel Racial Tension

Student protests have swept U.S. universities in recent weeks, many of them the result of tense race relations on campus. In a poll of U.S. adults, Barna found that these tensions are not isolated to college campuses—more than eight out of 10 Americans agree with the statement, “There is a lot of anger and hostility between different ethnic and racial groups in America today” (84%). According to a significant minority, churches add fuel to the fire of racial animus; more than one-third say “Christian churches are part of the problem when it comes to racism” (38%). Millennials (ages 18 to 31) are most likely among the generations to agree (46%).

On the other hand, three-quarters of all Americans agree that “Christian churches play an important role in racial reconciliation” (73%). This view is as common among white adults (75%) as among black Americans (77%). Hispanics, however, tend to be a bit more skeptical; only about two-thirds agree that churches have an important role to play in reconciliation (67%). 

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