A whopping 85 percent of those living in France do not believe that it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and good, putting the country at the bottom of a worldwide poll on religion and morals.

A Pew Research Center poll of 40 nations found clear majorities saying that belief in God is needed to be and have good values.

In the United States, for example, those who say belief in God is necessary to be moral outnumber those who don't by 53 percent to 46 percent. But in neighboring Canada, 67 percent said it is not necessary to believe in God to have good morals.

Pew interviewed 40,080 people in 40 countries between 2011 and 2013. They found that richer nations place less emphasis on the need to believe in God to have good values than people in poorer countries do. The exception: The United States.

"In North America and Europe, more people agree that it is possible to be non-religious and still be an upright person," said Pew.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.