By BJC Staff Reports

A 2014 survey on the state of the First Amendment revealed that almost 30 percent of Americans cannot name any First Amendment freedoms, and when they are told what the First Amendment says, 38 percent think the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment go too far.

For the 17th year, the First Amendment Center conducted a national survey to learn about American attitudes toward the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. When asked to name the specific rights it guarantees, 68 percent were able to name freedom of speech, while only 29 percent named freedom of religion. Other freedoms fared even lower (freedom of press: 14 percent; right of assembly: 7 percent; right to petition: 1 percent), and 29 percent of respondents could not name any of the five freedoms.

The survey found that 2/3 of Americans who answered the questions think corporations should have certain religious freedoms, while 54 percent also believe wedding-related businesses should be required to serve same-sex couples, even if the business owner objects to same-sex marriage for religious reasons.

A majority of Americans surveyed also said if a religiously affiliated group receives government funding, they think the government should be able to require that group to provide health care benefits to employees’ same-sex partners, even if the religious group opposes same-sex marriages or partnerships.

The survey of 1,006 adults has a margin of error of 3.2 percent. Information on all of the questions and responses is available on the organization’s website at

From the September 2014 Report From the Capital. Click here to read the next article.

FA Survey for web