- - Monday, December 15, 2014

Most Americans say OK to religious symbols on government properties during the December holiday season, but 20 percent don’t want to see even a sign of a manger.

Forty-four percent of adults say Christian religious symbols “like nativity scenes” should be allowed on government property, even if they are the only religious imagery presented, said a poll released Monday by Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project.

Another 28 percent supported Christian displays, but only when accompanied by symbols of another faith, such as Hanukkah candles.

Eight percent of adults declined to weigh in on the issue, but 20 percent said government properties should not permit religious displays of any kind.

The Pew poll, taken Dec. 3-7 among 1,507 adults, found that evangelical Protestants were the most strongly supportive of Christian displays — only 10 percent opposed all religious symbols.

Some 43 percent of Catholics said nativity scenes by themselves were OK; 32 percent said all faiths should be represented and 19 percent said no displays.

The people most likely to want no displays on taxpayer properties were those who were “unaffiliated” with a religion (38 percent) or “seldom or never” attended religious services (31 percent).

Politically, people who are Republican or lean Republican were largely supportive of Christian-only displays, with 60 percent support. Another 25 percent of Republicans said Christian-plus-other-faiths was best, while 9 percent said skip all religious displays.

Adults who are Democrat or lean Democrat were more evenly divided on the issue: 32 percent supported Christian-only displays, 31 percent wanted multiple faiths displayed, and 30 percent wanted to see nothing.

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