Freethought Today · March 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

32% say you need to be Christian to be American

About one-third of all Americans think that you have to be a Christian to truly be an American — despite the history of religious pluralism that dates back to the nation's very earliest days.

The Pew Research Center asked residents of numerous nations what it takes to truly belong in their countries. Americans were far more likely than residents of other countries included in the survey to say that religion was key to sharing in the national identity.

Thirty-two percent of Americans said one should be Christian to really be American, compared to just 13 percent of Australians, 15 percent of Canadians and 15 percent of Europeans who felt the same way about belonging to their homelands.

The same number of Americans — 32 percent — said that being born in the United States is key to being an American. More Americans — 45 percent — said that sharing "national customs and traditions" was important, and many more — 70 percent — said being an American meant speaking English.

Religion was the only question on which Americans were an outlier. On birth, language and customs, America was in line with other industrialized nations.

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