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Gallup Poll Examines 'Christian Nationalism'

August 10, 1996|From Religion News Service

A new poll sponsored by the American Jewish Committee indicates strong sentiments within the so-called religious right for "Christian nationalism," the notion that America's political problems can be solved by focusing government more on a Christian outlook.

The survey found that 76% of people who align themselves with the religious right think "Christians should get involved in politics to protect their values"; 48% think a constitutional amendment should be adopted "declaring that the United States is a Christian nation"; and 44% think that "on most political issues there is one correct Christian point of view."

The poll was conducted by the Gallup International Institute and analyzed by Tom W. Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Gallup surveyed 507 Americans aligned with the religious right and 503 other Americans. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

"The religious right is very supportive of Christian nationalism and of having the state become the partner of the church in carrying out God's plan," Smith concluded. "While the movement is not intolerant toward minority groups in general, nor in favor of a homogenous Euro-Christian society, it is wary of outsiders and nontraditionalists."

The poll showed that people aligned with the religious right have far more negative feelings than other Americans toward atheists, homosexuals, feminists and Muslims, but fairly similar attitudes toward Asians, blacks, Catholics, Hispanics and Jews.

For example, 79% of those who consider themselves part of the religious right think that gay rights groups have too much influence in American society, compared with 46% of other Americans.

Smith found that 79% of those aligned with the religious right said they might vote for a Jew for president and 96% are willing to live with Jews as neighbors.

On the other hand, it found that 58% of those on the religious right disagree with the statement "Jews do not need to be converted to Christianity," compared with only 22% of other Americans who disagreed with the statement.

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