Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks onstage at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church on January 16, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. by the Forward

You’re right, America. Bernie Sanders isn’t religious. Lots of Jews aren’t.

Around 60% of Americans think that Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t religious, according to a survey released by the Pew Research Center Thursday.

Nearly a quarter of respondents said that Sanders was “not at all religious,” while 36% said they thought he was “not too religious.” Only 34% thought he was somewhat or very religious.

Some 75% of Jewish respondents described Sanders as not religious — a much higher rate than the general population. The only subgroup with a majority that thought Sanders is religious was black Protestants.

Sanders’ Jewish identity - pride in being Jewish but not involved in organized religion - is actually quite common. According to Pew’s 2013 study of American Jews, 44% said religion was not very or not at all important to their life compared to 26% who said it was very important, and 41% said they seldom or never attend religious services, compared to 23% who said they attend at least once a month. In this way, Sanders is actually more representative of the American Jewish population than the last Jew to run for president, the Orthodox Jewish former Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Sanders, who would be the first Jewish president, and has repeatedly said he is “very proud to be Jewish.” He told The New York Times this year that he’s “not actively involved in organized religion,” but said he was not an atheist: “I believe in God. I believe in the universality of people. That what happens to you impacts me.”

The religiosity survey, which was conducted between February 4 and 15, also found that a majority of respondents thought that former Vice President Joe Biden was a religious person, while most felt that Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg — both of whom frequently cite the Bible on the campaign trail — are not religious.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink


Aiden Pink

Aiden Pink

Aiden Pink is the Deputy News Editor for the Forward. Contact him at or on Twitter, @aidenpink .

Most Americans think Bernie Sanders isn’t religious

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You’re right, America. Bernie Sanders isn’t religious. Lots of Jews aren’t.

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