A reader writes:
What hasn't been talked about much in the just released Pew poll is that, while 47 percent consider themselves Muslim first and American second, 42 percent consider themselves Christian first and American second.
And while 43 percent of American Muslims think mosques/churches should express views on political/social issues, 54 percent of American Christians think likewise.
I certainly hope America has enough genius to assimilate those Christians, too.
Clearly, there are troubling aspects to the poll, the suicide bombing response in particular. However, when it comes to issues of governance and influence there are parallels. A Pew poll from August 24, 2006 yielded the following: "(S)ix-in-ten white evangelical Protestants say that the Bible should be the guiding principle in making laws when it conflicts with the will of the people."
From the same 2006 poll, 67 percent of those polled believe "the U.S. is a Christian nation." I suppose that self identity isn't so much the problem as how one lives his or her civic life -- or more importantly, how that civic life impacts the civic life of others. The problem is when personal faith becomes public oppression, or worse. I suppose naysayers could claim there is no comparison between the two polls, in terms of worst-case outcomes. Yet, we shouldn't have to choose between the lesser of two fundamentalisms, should we?