White evangelical Protestants identified as group most proud to be American: survey

American Flag
Unsplash/Joshua Hoehne

No religious group expresses greater pride in their national identity than white evangelical Protestants, with the majority saying they are very or extremely proud to be an American, according to a new survey. 

A survey from the American Enterprise Institute found that more than three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants say they are very or extremely proud to be an American; half (50%) say they are extremely proud. 

More than four in 10 white Catholics (46%) and white mainline Protestants (43%) also report being extremely proud of their national identity. 

Older Americans express much more pride in their nationality than do younger Americans: Seniors are more than twice as likely to say they are extremely proud to be American than are young adults (55% vs. 23%).

Overall, most Americans feel proud about their national identity, with more than six in 10 saying they are extremely proud (34%) or very proud (28%) to be an American. 

Most Americans also believe that American culture and the American way of life are superior to others. The survey found that over half (53%) of Americans say that the world would be much better off if more countries adopted American values and the American way of life. 

A previous study found that evangelical Protestants are more likely than any other religious group to sympathize with and accept Christian nationalism, defined as a “cultural framework that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity with American civic life,” with Christianity being more cultural and tribal than spiritual.

Christian leaders have repeatedly warned against Christian nationalism, particularly after individuals stormed the U.S. Capitol while carrying “JESUS 2020” signs and “In God We Trust” banners, and one enormous cross.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Samuel Perry, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma and author ofTaking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States, defined Christian nationalist ideology as one in which adherents want to “institutionalize our religious beliefs and values” and “view religion more as something that is like a cultural marker of identity.” 

“Christian nationalist ideology is associated with a whole lot of really negative views and values,” he asserted.

“Christian nationalism tends to make Americans more racially prejudiced, more fearful of immigrants to an irrational degree, and hold views that are unequivocally xenophobic or racist."

In an op-ed for CP, conservative author and radio host Michael Brown clarified that those who simply “love and appreciate America” are not “Christian nationalists,” but warned that equating America with God’s Kingdom or merging the cross with the flag is a “terrible and dangerous mistake.”

“And that is the error of Christian nationalism,” he said. 

“The irony of all this is that if we would be Kingdom-minded people first and foremost, we would bring the most blessing to America. If we would look at America as our mission field rather than our spiritual refuge, we would help our nation fulfill whatever plans the Lord has for us. And if we would exalt Jesus infinitely more than any political leader, we would best serve our country (and our leaders).”

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