Is America’s divide about Christianity?

The Pew Research Foundation published an in-depth analysis of what constitutes “national identity” around the world. The data is based on Spring 2016 survey data.

What struck me is how important being a Christian is to Americans, relative to other countries:

Relatively few say religion essential to national identity

As one might imagine, the importance of Christian affiliation is greater for Republicans than Democrats.

In fact, there are several meaningful differences in the definition of “national identity” between the parties:

In U.S., Republicans take tougher stand on what it takes to be a true American

We know that city dwellers skew Democrat and rural dwellers skew Republican.  This report reinforces the broader basis of our “city mouse versus country mouse” cultural and socioeconomic divide:

  • multiple ethnicities in cities versus homogeneously white in rural regions
  • multiple religions and secularists in cities versus Christians in rural regions
  • higher per-capita incomes in cities versus lower in rural settings
  • higher percentage of college educated graduates in cities than in rural settings

I fear this divide is intractable for now. Our cities are becoming more, not less, diverse by every measure thanks to the global nature of the technology and financial service industries.

But the divide is still probably temporal, given the long term demographic trends.

Perhaps we’re experiencing the last stand by those who think our country’s control should rest in the hands of one religious affiliation:

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-3-43-28-pm

For another blog is the irony of this all.  Our founding fathers carefully designed an areligious government system, where no religious bloc could wield power over others. Their motives were rooted in their prior experiences of religious persecution and monarchial control.

If we really want to get along, perhaps the founding fathers should be our true north (again).

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