Rightwing bloggers are making a big fuss about a poll in which 47 per cent of US Muslims stated that they thought of themselves first as Muslim, and only 28 per cent as Americans first. By contrast, for self-described US Christians, the results were 48 per cent for American first, and only 42 per cent for Christian first, with 7 per cent saying “Both” and 3 per cent Don’t Know. The only possible reading of this data is that less than half of all Americans are in fact Christians in the religious, as opposed to the cultural/tribal, sense of the term. Galations 3:28 is pretty clear on the subject, but more importantly, it’s obvious that you can’t seriously believe in, and worship, an Almighty God if your allegiance to an earthly power comes first, or equal, or if you don’t even know.
As should be apparent from previous discussion, I don’t have a problem with this, belonging mainly to the secularist tradition. But it might be useful in discussion of US exceptionalism to note the preponderance of nominal believers revealed by this question.
* Possibly, some of those saying “both” are making the claim that they can conceive of no possible inconsistency between the two, but even on this charitable reading, and standard treatment of the Don’t Knows, that only gives a bare majority of self-described Christians, and therefore still a minority of the US population as a whole.
** Hat-tip to Glenn Greenwald, who points out some rather unchristian attitudes, maybe among the 48 per cent).