Study Finds Most are Proud to be American, Republicans More Likely to Engage in Patriotic Activities

AMERICAN PRIDEWASHINGTON/CHRISTIAN NEWS SERVICE/-- As the nation celebrates Independence Day, a new survey shows religious Americans are more patriotic than the non-religious.

Two thirds of Evangelicals are "extremely" proud to be American, compared to 56 percent of white Mainline Protestants, 49 percent of minority Christians, 48 percent of Catholics, and 39 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans. The survey comes from the Public Religion Research Institute and Religion News Service (RNS).

 Church-going is not factored in the survey, but Evangelicals typically are among the most church-going, and likely data for church-going Catholics, Mainline Protestants and others would show their patriotic levels nearly as high.

Eighty-four percent of Evangelicals believe God has "granted the U.S. a special role in history," versus 40 of the religiously unaffiliated. About three-quarters of Evangelicals and Catholics (76 percent) believe that the world "would be better off if more countries adopted America's values and way of life."

"Tomorrow America celebrates its 237th year as a republic, and Christians with all others should celebrate vigorously," said IRD President Mark Tooley. "Christians should not so much be 'proud' as grateful for God's countless blessings and resolved to mend our nation's many failures to abide by His standards.

Americans give a wide range of reasons for their feelings of pride about America. Roughly 1-in-5 (17 percent) say their military service or American military achievements — including the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden — have made them most proud to be American. Fourteen percent cite the response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, and 12 percent cite freedom in American society as things about which they feel most proud. Smaller numbers mention humanitarian assistance and disaster response (8 percent), personal experience or success (7 percent), the values of equality and opportunity (6 percent), Obama’s election (6 percent), or the moon landing (5 percent) as things that make them most proud to be an American.

"The United States began as a small, disconnected collection of 13 states, overwhelmingly agrarian, only 3 million people mostly living on the edge of poverty, dependent on foreign powers for most finished goods, and scandalously allowing human slavery. Across three centuries it became the world's most powerful and prosperous nation, the economic engine and breadbasket of the world, guardian against totalitarianism, and exponent of ordered liberty," said Tooley.

The same study found Democrats and Republicans differ significantly in the reasons they provide for being proud to be an American. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to cite Obama’s election (15 percent vs. 1 percent) or the values of equality and opportunity (9 percent vs. 1 percent).

Tooley concludes stating "The United States is and always has been a nation of sinners who have never fully lived up to the founding aspirations of justice and equality for all under God. Today it grapples with attacks on marriage and family, lack of protection for the unborn and unprecedented assaults on religious liberty, a founding premise for our nation. Every generation must fight anew for liberty. But as we wage these battles, spiritually and politically, we must thank God for His many blessings across 237 years and ask His help in aligning our country with His truth and love."