Poll: Americans Say Religious Freedom Is More Important For Christians Than Jews, Muslims

| by Michael Allen
First Amendment.First Amendment.

A new poll finds that most Americans believe that religious freedom is more important for Christians than any other faith, including Jews and Muslims.

The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, released on Dec. 30, found that a whopping 82 percent of Americans believe that preserving religious freedom is important for Christians, while about 70 percent said the same for Jews and 61 percent support it for Muslims.

When broken down by political party, 88 percent of Republicans believe in religious freedom for Christians, but only 60 percent support the same rights for Muslims.

On the Democrat side, 83 percent support religious freedom for Christians, but that number dropped to 67 percent for Muslims.

"Religious freedom is now in the eye of the beholder," Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute, told AP. "People in different traditions, with different ideological commitments, define religious freedom differently."

Greg Scott of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian law firm, said that protecting the religious freedom of Christians "makes sense in that Christians today are facing mounting threats to their religious liberty by acts of state officials and bureaucrats."

Scott did not mention exactly what those "mounting threats" were.

Besides favoring one religion over another, which violates the First Amendment, the poll also found that most Americans don't have a problem with the U.S. government violating their Fourth Amendment rights.

Of those polled, 56 percent of Americans favor the government watching their private communications on the Internet without a warrant, while 28 percent oppose the invasion of privacy, reports AP.

The poll found 67 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats favor giving up their Internet privacy for the government to root out suspicious behavior that may be related to terrorism.

Additionally, 54 percent of Americans believe it is worth giving up some freedoms to fight terrorism, while 45 percent oppose that concept.

Sources: AP, AP via ABC News / Photo credit: Mike Peel via Wikimedia Commons