Case Study

The Becket Fund

Government + Public Policy

The Religious Freedom Index: American Perspectives on the First Amendment


A religious freedom study in 2014 revealed a sizable concern that people of faith are more a part of the problem rather than the solution when it comes to issues facing our nation. Support for principles and tenets of religious freedom continued to erode over the following years.

In 2019, the Becket Fund launched the first wave of its Religious Freedom Index.  The Index was created by Dr. Dee Allsop and identifies the distinct and specific dimensions of religious freedom and our performance as a country on each.  This study tracks key metrics over time as well as custom topical questions to dive deeper into key issues of religious freedom currently in the news and pending litigation in the court system.


For this study, we tracked The Religious Freedom Index: American Perspectives on the First Amendment. The index consists of six key dimensions that have been rigorously defined conceptually and empirically: religious pluralism, religious sharing, religion and policy, religion in action, religion in society and Church and State.

The study was a 15-minute online survey among a scientific and projectable sample of Americans 18 years of age and older – matching the design of previous waves of the project.


The 2020 Religious Freedom Index: American Perspectives on the First Amendment has an overall score of 66 (on a 1-100 scale). The tracking study also revealed that Americans still strongly support Religious Pluralism (the right to believe and practice religion in daily life), but this has dropped 3 points since 2019. Other notable findings of the study are:

– Americans continue to believe they are individually more accepting and appreciative of People of Faith than society is. 

– A large majority of Americans (84%) think religious organizations and people should play a role in advocating for racial equality and justice.
– Americans believe that outdoor religious worship should be prioritized over outdoor protests.