The US state of South Carolina is found on the southeastern part of the country. It has a population of just over 5 million. The state falls under a group of US states known as the Bible Belt. In the Bible Belt region, the Protestant faith is crucial in shaping the society and politics of the area. South Carolina is ranked as the fifth most religious state in the US. About 70% of the South Carolina’s adult population is classified as highly religious, which Christianity being the most popular religion. Protestants are the largest religious group in South Carolina. Other world religions practiced in South Carolina include the Baha’i faith, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
Before the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, the indigenous inhabitants of South Carolina had their own traditional religious beliefs and practices. When the Europeans came through the eastern coast, they introduced Christianity in the area. Over time, many Protestant groups formed from the Christian community living in the state. The Protestants consisted of Presbyterians, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, and the Quakers. In the 18th and 19th centuries, these protestant groups had a strong influence on politics and society. After Protestants, Catholics are the second largest Christian community taking up 10% of the state’s adult population. Smaller Christian groups include the Mormons, Orthodox Christians, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
South Carolina has the largest Baha’i concentration in the US. The Baha’i faith was introduced in South Carolina by a young lawyer known as Louis Gregory in the early 20th century. The teachings of Baha’i emphasize racial and religious unity. Its followers believe that all races were equal and that different religions have one goal. Currently, there are approximately 18,000 Baha’i adherents in South Carolina.
Islam is a minority religion in South Carolina. There are around 5,000 people in South Carolina who are Muslim.
Buddhists in South Carolina form a minority religious group. They make up less than 1% of the state’s adult population. Nonetheless, several Buddhist centers teach the religion including a famous Buddhist temple in Piedmont that also serves as a tourist attraction.
A small group of people in South Carolina have no religious affiliations. This group, which mainly consists of young adults between 18 to 30 years, does not follow any religious teachings. It is sub-divided into Atheists and Agnostics.