Privatization or Deprivatization: British Attitudes About the Public Presence of Religion


Tony Glendinning, Department of Sociology, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Old Aberdeen, Scotland, AB24 3QY, UK. E-mail:


Achterberg and colleagues conclude there is in train a significant change toward deprivatization in Europe. In the late 1990s Christians were more pro public religion in countries where they were least numerous and in the Netherlands in particular there had been an increasing difference in attitudes between believers and nonbelievers over 25 years. Examining more recent survey data on British attitudes (1998 and 2008), we find a firm consensus among the nonreligious against religion having a high public profile, while Christians are more likely to object to antireligion sentiment and people belonging to non-Christian religions are more likely to support public religion. Nonreligious people appear to be no more hostile now than in the late 1990s, and where there has been a decrease in sympathy for public religion it is among religious groups.