What It Means To Be American?

Any survey undertaken by Robert P. Jones and Daniel Cox of the Public Religion Research Institute, and worked into a report with the assistance of E. J. Dionne and Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution, is going to make for some interesting reading. They are four of the brightest, and nicest, people in DC. And, the issues examined in this study are critical. At a time when the GOP presidential candidates are busy explaining what they think it means to be an American, the attitudes of actual Americans is worth considering.

The survey has good news - 88 percent of Americans believe that America is a place where all religions, even those that are not popular, should be respected and afforded full legal rights. Also, some bad news, to wit: "Approximately two-thirds of Republicans, Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement, and Americans who most trust Fox News agree that the values of Islam are at odds with American values. A majority of Democrats, Independents, and those who most trust CNN or public television disagree."

The best news? Younger people report that they are far more likely to have personal encounters with African-Americans and Hispanics than older Americans. Our lives are becoming more intertwined and that always makes it more difficult for the cencers of prejudice and bigotry to gain a foothold.

You can read more about the survey here.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here