Religion

Poll: 32% Say Being Christian Is Truly American

| by Michael Allen

About one third of Americans believe that being a Christian is an important part of being a "true" American.

A new survey by the Pew Research Center found that 32 percent of those polled believe Christianity is part of an American's core identity.

When broken down by political affiliation, the poll found that 43 percent of Republicans think being Christian is an important factor, while 29 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents agreed.

The survey also revealed that 32 percent of Americans believe that being born in the U.S. is very important to be considered a true American, while 70 percent said that being able to speak the national language is crucial; there is no official language in the U.S.

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Psychology Today reports on an unusual poll conducted in December 2015 by Matthew MacWilliams, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts.

In one section of the poll, MacWilliams asked respondents whether they believed it more important to raise children to be "(1) respectful or independent; (2) obedient or self-reliant; (3) well-behaved or considerate, and (4) well-mannered or curious."

Previous research has demonstrated that respondents who answer "respectful," "obedient," "well-behaved," and "well-mannered" to these questions are more likely to support authoritarianism.

Psychology Today explained how authoritarians usually see the world:

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Authoritarians also tend toward simplistic ways of thinking; things are black or white, right or wrong. If something is right for one person, it should be right for everyone and everyone should see it as right.

They don’t tolerate ambiguity and have little taste for subtlety or dissenting opinions. To an authoritarian, the way to solve problems is to find a powerful, confident leader -- a sort of superhero who claims in unambiguous language that he can solve your problems -- and then follow that person.

MacWilliams' December 2015 survey also asked people who they were going to vote for.

The final results found that 47 percent of Republicans, who scored highest on authoritarianism, supported then-candidate Donald Trump. After Trump, 17 percent supported Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who finished second at the GOP convention.

MacWilliams, in conclusion to the findings of his study, wrote:

It is time for those who would appeal to our better angels to take his insurgency seriously and stop dismissing his supporters as a small band of the dispossessed. Trump support is firmly rooted in American authoritarianism and, once awakened, it is a force to be reckoned with.

Sources: Pew Research Center, Psychology Today / Photo Credit: Jimmy G/Flickr

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