Reflections

A Magazine of Theological and Ethical Inquiry from Yale Divinity School

Survey: Christians First, Then Americans

Most American Christians think of themselves as Christians first, then Americans, according to a 2007 poll by CNN.

The survey said 59 percent identify themselves primarily by their faith, while 36 percent of believers described themselves as Americans first, Christians second.

The results invited comparisons with a similar poll of American Muslim attitudes conducted this year. A Pew Research Center poll showed 47 percent of Muslims in America said they are Muslim first, American second. (In England, polls show 81 percent said they are Muslims first. In Germany, 66 percent said they are Muslim first.)

With younger American Muslims, the sentiments were reversed: 60 percent said they were Muslim first.

Overall, the Pew poll said Muslim Americans have a generally positive view of the larger society. A large majority of Muslim Americans believe that hard work pays off in this society. Some 71% agree that most people who want to get ahead in the S.S. can make it if they are willing to work hard.

In the CNN survey, nearly eight in 10 Christians said people of other beliefs could get into heaven; 17 percent believe only Christians can.

Source: CNN and Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. 

Issue Title: 
Faith and Citizenship in Turbulent Times
Issue Year: 
2007