This question is the title of a recent article by Kelsey Dallas that addresses how many Americans feel about what the role of Christianity should be in shaping the American experience.
While most readers can and will quickly answer the question, it is important to also be aware of how other Americans have answered it in recent years.
- 4 out of 10 think a culture grounded in Christianity is an extremely or very important piece of America’s national identity (the number rises to nearly 6.7 out of 10 if those who say it’s moderately important are included)
- 3 of out 10 think it is very important to be Christian in order to be a true American (compared to a median of 15% in all nations included in the survey)
As we enter Holy Week, it is important to focus on our identity as followers of the Way of Jesus. That identity is primary, and should shape all other identities and provide guidelines for other allegiances.
Being American can take many forms. For some it is primarily about citizenship. For others it is about living within the borders of the nation. Alternatively, it can be about a way of life. It is now and always has been, something other than linked to being Christian or being an adherent to any religion.
- If you a follower of the Way of Jesus and an American, how do you understand the role each plays in your life? In informing the other role?
- If you are an American but not a Christian, what issues or concerns arise when you see the strong links 3-4 out 10 Americans make between religion and national identity?