It’s no surprise that Christianity is the dominant religion throughout the United States.
In South Carolina, too.
But the faith that’s number two in the Palmetto State might surprise you.
South Carolina is the only state where Baha’i is the second most prevalent faith, according to the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, which conducts a religious census every decade.
“Let’s acknowledge at the outset that it doesn’t take very much to be the second-largest religion in South Carolina. It is a solidly Christian, and particularly Protestant, state, and all the minority religions combined comprise only a tiny fraction of the population,” author Louis E. Venters, an assistant professor at Francis Marion University, told the Washington Post.
In the 1960s and ’70s, Baha’i communities began to grow in South Carolina along with the Civil Rights Movement. Historians report teaching conferences at Frogmore, at the Penn Center on St. Helena Island and in Beaufort during that time.
In 2010, the ASARB recorded 17,559 Baha’i adherents and 22 congregations in South Carolina.
Radio Baha’i — WLGI 90.9 FM — is based in Hemmingway, west of Myrtle Beach.
About the Baha’i faith
▪ There are Baha’i communities in more than 8,000 towns and cities across the United States, according to the Baha’is of the United States’ website.
▪ Baha’is believe in one God and revere the prophets of many religions — Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha, for example, according to Beliefnet.
▪ Baha’is study the writings of Baha’u’llah, founder of the faith, according to the Baha’is of the United States webpage.
▪ “Baha’i teachings promote the agreement of science and religion, the equality of the sexes and the elimination of all prejudice and racism,” says the Baha’i Teachings website.
Lisa Wilson: 843-706-8103
Religion in South Carolina
South Carolina is among the most religious states — 52 percent of residents classified themselves as “very religious” in a 2016 Gallup poll and 74 percent of residents reported being certain in their belief in God, Pew reported.
South Carolinians overwhelmingly — 78 percent, according to Pew’s religious landscape study — identify as Christian. Another 19 percent identify as atheist, agnostic or no religion in particular. Only 3 percent identify as a religion other than Christianity.