My colleagues and I asked a representative sample of Americans: “Do you support or oppose allowing a group of Muslim students to organize an after-school club at your local public school?” It was the same question EdNext asked in 2008. We framed it that way because the Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in Good News Club v. Milford Central School found banning such clubs was a violation of students’ religious freedom.
Respondents were given the choice to say they support club formation by Muslim students or oppose it. They were also offered the option of remaining neutral by indicating they neither support nor oppose Muslim student clubs. And for comparison, the survey also asked another group of respondents about generically “religious” students.
Like the Supreme Court, a majority of the general public supports the right of religious students to form clubs. In 2008, 58% were in favor while only 10% were opposed. Today, a majority is still in favor, though opposition has increased by 13 percentage points and approval has slipped by 3. (The remainder said they neither supported nor opposed the clubs.)