The United States’ founding principles are constantly being touted as beacons of freedom and the cornerstones of democracy. Some Americans don’t believe that those freedoms should apply to everyone.
According to a new survey published Dec. 30 by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, Americans place a higher priority on the religious freedom of Christians over other religious groups, especially Muslims. It seems that many Americans would like to pick and choose who gets to benefit from the protections of the United States Constitution, even in light of the fact that this entire country was founded by people whose religion wasn’t respected across the pond.
The numbers break down as follows: 82 percent of respondents said the protection of religious freedom is important for Christians while only 61 percent said that Muslims should enjoy that same protection. It’s not a coincidence that these statistics follow a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment and political rhetoric which has led to an increase in the vandalism of mosques and outright discrimination against Muslim citizens, not to mention inaccurate discrimination against Sikhs simply because they “look Muslim.”
Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute Director Charles Haynes told the Associated Press:
“Religious freedom is now in the eye of the beholder. People in different traditions, with different ideological commitments, define religious freedom differently.”
Many American Christians feel as if there’s a war on their faith, citing gay marriage and the terrorist attacks in Paris as examples of a diminished respect for Christianity. It doesn’t help when candidates like Donald Trump spew hateful rhetoric in the name of American patriotism. That said, you can’t scream foul on your religious freedoms being trounced if you don’t think the someone of another faith doesn’t deserve those same freedoms. Be a patriot, not a hypocrite.