Source: Pew Research Center
This is one of an occasional series of posts on black Americans and religion.
For African Americans, the Bible’s Exodus narrative is a cultural touchstone. Since before the Civil War, the story of the Israelites’ slavery and deliverance has spurred comparisons to black people’s experiences in the United States. Scripture’s importance to the black population in the U.S. is reflected in Pew Research Center survey data showing that black people are more likely than most other Americans to read scripture regularly and to view it as the word of God.
Indeed, more than half of black people in the U.S. (54%) – both Christian and non-Christian – say they read the Bible or other holy scripture at least once a week outside of religious services, compared with 32% of whites and 38% of Hispanics, according to data from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study. Indeed, relatively few black people (24%) say they seldom or never read the Bible, compared with 50% of whites and 40% of Hispanics.
Among Christian groups, 61% of those who are members of the historically black Protestant tradition (more than half of all black Americans) read scripture at least weekly, similar to the level seen among those in the evangelical Protestant tradition (63%). In addition, those in the historically black Protestant tradition are much more likely than Catholics (25%) and mainline Protestants (30%) to say they read scripture at least weekly, though less likely than Jehovah’s Witnesses (88%) and Mormons (77%).