By Victor Ochieng
What does it take to be truly American? For most people, being an American means nothing more than having been born in the country, being a native, having an American parent(s) or through legal means such as naturalization. However, for a majority of white evangelical Protestants, to be an American is to be a Christian stated a Pew Research Center report. In fact, the survey revealed that up to one-third of all Americans hold the same belief.
Slightly more than half, 57%, of all white evangelicals believe there is a strong connection between being Christian and American. The report further states that the number goes down to 29% among white mainline Protestants and to 27% among members of the Catholic faith.
Among the unaffiliated, 9% believe it’s important for one to be Christian is to be truly American. Thirty-two percent of all Americans believe Christianity has a strong link to being truly American and 31% says religion isn’t of any importance when dealing with matters of nationality.
“The link between religion and nationality is of greatest consequence to those for whom religion plays a very important role in daily life,” the survey notes. Among those who believe that religion is important to their daily lives, 51% said being Christian is important to being truly American. Among participants who said religion is only somehow important, too important or not important at all, only 11% said to be a true American, Christianity is key.
Different age groups also have divergent views on the issue. Among those aged 44 years and above, 44% agree with the statement that being Christian is important to being an American. On the other hand, only 18% of those who’re 35-year-old and below believe Christianity is important to being American.
When it comes to gender, 36% of women believe being Christian is important to being truly American, compared to only 27% of men who believe the same.
Pew Research Center went further and surveyed individuals of other nationalities on how important religion is to their national identity. The research found out that in Greece, 54% believe that Christianity is key for one to be considered a true national. That’s quite different from Swedish respondents among whom only 7% agreed that being Christian is important for someone to be considered a true Swede. Among the surveyed Sweden nationals, a majority, 57%, said religion isn’t important for one to be considered a real national, a percentage that checked with that of surveyed Spanish nationals.
In Australia, only 13% consider it important to be Christian to pass for a truly national, compared to 15% among Canadians.