Religious profile of New Jersey
According to a survey conducted in 2014 by the Pew Research Center, 55%
of adults in New Jersey are “highly religious,” ranking it as the 19th "most religious" state in the nation. Alabama and Mississippi, with a 77% score, tied as the "most religious" states; the "least religious" states were Massachusetts and New Hampshire, each with a 33% score. The Pew survey went on to report on its other findings, upon which it calculated its overall rating, and state rankings for New Jersey: 50% (27th) say religion is very important in their lives; 35% (25th) say they attend worship services at least weekly; 53% (22nd) say they pray daily; and 60% (35th) say they believe in God with absolute certainty.
* Religious Landscape Study, Pew Research Center
* Jewish Population by State 2014, Jewish Virtual Library
* American Jewish Population Project. Brandeis University
Religious Beliefs in Colonial New Jersey
by Laura Leddy Turner, Demand Media Google
Puritans from the New Haven colony settled in East Jersey. Puritans from the New Haven colony settled in East Jersey.
Unlike some other colonies, such as Massachusetts, Maryland and South Carolina, New Jersey was not settled as a religious community, and indeed tolerance of diverse faiths was cited as an incentive to attract settlers by those who received the first grants of land in the colony, who were primarily interested in generating revenue from their lands through leases and taxes. When the English assumed control from the Dutch and Swedes after the 1664 grant of the colony by the Duke of York to Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, the new proprietors promptly executed the Concessions and Agreement, a document which among other things promised religious freedom and the right to elect an assembly of representatives without any qualification based on faith.
During the time of the Protestant Reformation, the commitment by the proprietors was significant given the widespread religious persecution which had led many Europeans to seek sanctuary in the New World. In the late 1600s, many Huguenots fleeing persecution in France came to New Jersey; at about the same time, Baptists and Presbyterians arrived from Ireland and Wales to escape discrimination under English rule and the established Anglican Church.
Gilbert Tennent (1703-1764) was the Presbyterian leader of the Great Awakening in the Middle Colonies. Upon George Whitefield's departure from the colonies in 1741, he deputized his friend Tennent to come from New Jersey to New England to "blow up the divine fire lately kindled there." Despite being ridiculed as "an awkward and ridiculous Ape of Whitefield," Tennent managed to keep the revival going until 1742.The first generation of New England Puritans required that church members undergo a conversion experience that they could describe publicly. Their successors were not as successful in reaping harvests of redeemed souls. During the first decades of the eighteenth century in the Connecticut River Valley a series of local "awakenings" began. By the 1730s they had spread into what was interpreted as a general outpouring of the Spirit that bathed the American colonies, England, Wales, and Scotland. In mass open-air revivals powerful preachers like George Whitefield brought thousands of souls to the new birth. The Great Awakening, which had spent its force in New England by the mid-1740s, split the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches into supporters--called "New Lights" and "New Side"--and opponents--the "Old Lights" and "Old Side." Many New England New Lights became Separate Baptists. Together with New Side Presbyterians (eventually reunited on their own terms with the Old Side) they carried the Great Awakening into the southern colonies, igniting a series of the revivals that lasted well into the nineteenth century.
Even in America, conflicts within Puritan governments in the New England colonies led many to resettle in New Jersey; the founding in 1666 of Newark (a name adapted from the "New Ark of the Covenant") was by Connecticut Puritans led from the New Haven Colony to avoid losing political power to others not of their own church after the union of the Connecticut and New Haven colonies.
For the most part, those of similar faiths founded their own villages and towns, worshiping together first in homes and later in newly-built churches; in 1675, a group of wealthy Quakers, the popular name for those in the Society of Friends, whose leaders included William Penn, purchased West Jersey from the heirs of Lord Berkeley, hoping that the extensive land would allow them to govern themselves as a cohesive Quaker community. They soon found, however, that the area already had too many residents of diverse faiths to support their goal, and refocused their initiative to the less populated frontier across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. Quaker influence in West Jersey would continue, however, contrasting their inclusive, forgiving beliefs with the more parochial, harsher tenets of East Jersey's Calvinists and Puritans.
Despite changes in governance, religious liberty persevered in the colony. Many faiths lived there in relative harmony, but the presence of Catholics was resented by the predominantly Protestant population. eligion in New Netherlands
Settlement west of the lower Hudson River began in the 1620s. The first settlers in this part of New Netherlands were Dutch and Swedish. The Dutch East India Co., claimants of the land, hoped settlers would follow the Dutch Reformed, or Calvinist, faith. The company soon realized the need for settlers outweighed their religious ideals and ultimately welcomed all faiths. Dutch Reformed followers established themselves primarily in the colony’s northeast corner. Swedish and German Lutherans moved to the southwest and later were joined by Finnish Lutherans. Dutch Reformed settlers in this area lived peacefully with the Lutherans. No churches existed during this period, and religious services were conducted in houses or barns. Baptism and Communion were performed by traveling ministers.
Religion in East Jersey
Religion in West Jersey
Minority Religions in Colonial New Jersey
The first Jewish settler in colonial New Jersey established his family in the colony’s northeast region in the late 1600s. A small Catholic settlement was founded in the colony’s southeast region in the early 1600s, and a few French Catholics reportedly arrived with Carteret. Catholics were not entirely welcome in the colony, and continually lived under threat of persecution. In 1701, Queen Anne of England told colonial governor Lord Cornbury that religious tolerance was to be shown to all settlers except Catholics. Anglican missionaries attempted to found parishes for the Church of England in the colony but were not very successful.