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Home » Salon Are evangelicals a national security threat?

2 December 2011 Salon 32 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

A new poll suggests that American Christians (unlike Muslims) are likely to put their faith before their country

By David Sirota

If you have the stomach to listen to enough right-wing talk radio, or troll enough right-wing websites, you inevitably come upon fear-mongering about the Unassimilated Muslim. Essentially, this caricature suggests that Muslims in America are more loyal to their religion than to the United States, that such allegedly traitorous loyalties prove that Muslims refuse to assimilate into our nation and that Muslims are therefore a national security threat.

Earlier this year, a Gallup poll illustrated just how apocryphal this story really is. It found that Muslim Americans are one of the most — if not the single most — loyal religious group to the United States. Now, comes the flip side from the Pew Research Center’s stunning findings about other religious groups in America (emphasis mine):

American Christians are more likely than their Western European counterparts to think of themselves first in terms of their religion rather than their nationality; 46 percent of Christians in the U.S. see themselves primarily as Christians and the same number consider themselves Americans first. In contrast, majorities of Christians in France (90 percent), Germany (70 percent), Britain (63 percent) and Spain (53 percent) identify primarily with their nationality rather than their religion. Among Christians in the U.S., white evangelicals are especially inclined to identify first with their faith; 70 percent in this group see themselves first as Christians rather than as Americans, while 22 percent say they are primarily American.

If, as Islamophobes argue, refusing to assimilate is defined as expressing loyalty to a religion before loyalty to country, then this data suggests it is evangelical Christians who are very resistant to assimilation. And yet, few would cite these findings to argue that Christians pose a serious threat to America’s national security. Why the double standard?

Because Christianity is seen as the dominant culture in America — indeed, Christianity and America are often portrayed as being nearly synonymous, meaning expressing loyalty to the former is seen as the equivalent to expressing loyalty to the latter. In this view, there is no such thing as separation between the Christian church and the American state — and every other culture and religion is expected to assimilate to Christianity. To do otherwise is to be accused of waging a “War on Christmas” — or worse, to be accused of being disloyal to America and therefore a national security threat.

Of course, a genuinely pluralistic America is one where — regardless of the religion in question — we see no conflict between loyalties to a religion and loyalties to country. In this ideal America, those who identify as Muslims first are no more or less “un-American” than Christians who do the same (personally, this is the way I see things).

But if our politics and culture are going to continue to make extrapolative judgments about citizens’ patriotic loyalties based on their religious affiliations, then such judgments should at least be universal — and not so obviously selective or brazenly xenophobic.


  1. The “double standard” exists because evangelical Christians are not flying planes into buildings, planting bombs in Times Square or shooting unarmed soldiers at a military base.

  2. Hera, evangelical Christians have blown up abortion clinics and assassinated doctors. Two Christians blew up the Federal building in OKC.

  3. The double standard exists – but your assumption, //Hera, is incorrect. If you read up on it, the percentage of terrorist attacks in the world over the past decade shows that less than 1% were done by Muslims.

  4. Hera – no, Christians aren’t doing those things. They’re conspiring to assassinate the President, shooting abortion doctors, blowing up abortion clinics, protesting the funerals of KIA American soldiers and calling for the demise of the American government as it stands in favor of a Christian theocracy.

  5. @Hera but “christians” go to camps and shoot at children. they shoot at unarmed muslim civilians. they drop bombs killing innocent people then say they were looking for terrorist. why people like to bring up 9/11 like no muslims died that day in those towers, I don’t know. christians are sooooo out to get muslims they say whatever they can to make islam look bad but they forget to look at their own people. This is a big world and anyone thinking all terrorist are muslims, is an ignorant person. I can’t even let my child watch t.v. without an evangelical christian popping up on a commercial saying, Americans shouldn’t tolerate Islam… Americans shouldn’t tolerate Muslims. I am a proud muslim american and christians who go around spreading hate and teaching their children intolerance, shouldn’t point their dirty finger at muslims who are teaching their children tolerance and peace. we are raising our children to be good people so they can make this country a better place for everyone, despite the hate we get.

  6. @Hera: The muslims don’t do that. It’s a terrorist group. The religion, as most religions, promote peace and love. It’s a small group of people that do this shit. So stop trying to demonize a group of people, based on the actions of a small percentage. I could say that all Christians only care about their kids if they’re straight and religious, even though only a few will disown children because of that. Same thing.

  7. I am sorry but the point of this story is meaningless. It is true that Christians do commit crimes including murder but the number of U.S. Christians killing in the name of God with the express purpose of changing policy or forcing compliance with religious beliefs through physical force is so small it is insignificant. Additionally, Christians in the United States do not send money overseas to fund so called Christian groups that are engaged in murderous activities within their own countries. This is not to say that the vast Majority of U.S. Muslims send money overseas to promote such activities but the numbers involved are not insignificant

    Christians are commanded to render unto Caesar what is Caesars and unto God what is Gods. Caesar can collect taxes, set forth laws, require Military service, mandate school attendance, and many other things. What Caesar cannot do is to force Christians to give up their right to worship and follow God’s teachings. I do admit if the state tries to force Christians to violate their moral standards there would be problems. It is a part of our culture that is understood and those types of conflicts are fairly rare are usually solved within the political process. For example some religious groups within the United States are exempt from serving in the Military even when a draft is in effect. The sincerity of their belief that any killing is wrong allows them an exemption which is supported by the vast majority of Americans, though resented by many since their freedom to refuse is won by the blood of others who fight and die in their stead. In the United States this type of thinking is how we look to resolve our God Vs State problems.

  8. The issue in this case isn’t to form a link between Christians in America and foreign Christian militias, or to say that Christians are dangerous or disloyal. It’s to show that the main argument against Muslim loyalty isn’t valid. They claim that Muslims seeing themselves as Muslim first and American second makes them disloyal and untrustworthy. The article counters by showing that Evangelical Christians ALSO identify with religion before country. It’s not an indication of disloyalty, is the point.

  9. I can’t remember the last time an abortion clinic was blown up. However most of the bombings occurred after the clinics were closed in order to minimize casualties.Feminists used to camp out in the clinics after hours because they believed the bombers would not strike if they knew people would be killed.In contrast, if you are flying a plane into a building or planting a car bomb in Times Square it is done with the express purpose of killing as many innocents as possible. Evangelical Christians are also not conspiring with a foreign terrorist groups that has already killed over 3000 Americans.

  10. Christians and other minorities are attacked with impunity in a number of muslim places. Here in the west if you pull somebody’s veil off, they put you in jail, fine you, etc.

    In Tunisia, salafis just invaded a university, demading all female students to use the nikab, classes to be se segrated, etc. Backing up their demands with threats.

  11. I mean, sex segregated. Also this article is from Salon? That is a PC place that is going to bash Christians and kowtow to muslim feelings.

  12. Hera, stop trying to defend yourself. We all know better. I’m far more worried about one of those crazy Bible thumpers coming to an Occupy protest and just shooting up the damn place.

    Oh, and yes, the Muslims killed 3000 of our people… compared to the millions we Americans have killed in our bloody history. This argument is invalid.

  13. Also, “I can’t remember the last time an abortion clinic was blown up.” You don’t remember? Or you don’t want to remember?

    Oh, and let’s not forget the sniper who blew a doctor’s head off, through his livingroom window, in front of his wife and children.

    And don’t get me started on what you do to us -after- we’re born. You care about people as long as they’re a fetus. After that, we’re on our damn own, aren’t we?

  14. @anon, I’m not going to attempt to argue to defend the stupid practices of other places in the world because I’m wasting my breath. There are barbaric lands where Christians pull the same crap as the Muslims do. The difference is the Muslims get more publicity for it because we happen to be at war with them. This is a matter of location, not faith.

    This website caters to Americans. You are mistaken.

  15. Spades,

    America has existed for a little more then 200 years vs over 1000 years for Muslims.I think there is more evidence of millions dying at the hands of Islam then due to America. As for the abortion doctor that was killed that occurred the same week a Muslim terrorist shot two unarmed soldiers right here in American killing one of the soldiers.

  16. @hera
    oh are you talking about the “270 million dying by jihad” thing yeah that turned out to be bullcrap

  17. Wow this turned into a lets all jump on Hera event. Try as some may making the case for Christian terrorist acts within U.S. boarders is going to be hard. The fact that someone who is a Christian commits a crime does not mean it’s a terrorist act based upon Christian beliefs. To be sure we do have some Christians who are willing to blow up clinics and kill abortion doctors. From what I can find there have been 41 bombings and 7 deaths since 1977 18 of which was in 1986 and 1987 for which 0 people were injured. It does not state how many of these actions were carried out by Christian terrorists.

    Everyone of these bombings were wrong but they do not compare to the atrocities being carried out all over the world by Islamic terrorists or by followers of Islam who critique western beliefs yet engage in Cultural activities that are not part of Islam but are cruel and pagan in origin such as the mutilation of Women’s sexual areas and Honor killings. If a person is going to pray 5 times a day and claim to be devout how can they continue to engage in such pagan practices, that according to Muslims on this site, are not part of Islam and the Koran teaches against. They also do not compare to the suppression activities of Muslims in various countries that kill or imprison Christians for sharing their beliefs or Muslims that convert to Christianity. 7000 clerics in Morocco call for the expulsion of all Christians in the country. One man has been in jail for 5 years now because he converted to Christianity and was telling others of his beliefs. These are people that must know that Islam is a tolerant religion who respects the other Abrahamic religions yet they ignore the Koran and still claim to be pious. The same goes for the killing of Coptic Christians and the burning of their churches. Islam forbids the killing of these people yet devout Muslims burn and kill in the name of a religion that looks down on such practices. These are not their governments but the Islamic peoples themselves. Frankly these peoples willingness to flout their total disregard for Islamic teachings and engage in such activities astounds me.

    Some in this forum have critiqued Christians for adopting the Christmas tree or using dates based upon Pagan holidays, acts which hurt or kill no one. I believe it is time for Muslims to clean up their religion and send out Missionaries that decry these pagan belief sets and reeducate clerical leaders such as the 7000 clerics in Morocco so that they understand that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance and can guide their followers onto a correct path.

    Note: in no way does this reply critique the religion of Islam it only points out some glaring problems within a number of Islamic populations and their lack of education in regards to their own religion.

  18. Muslim countries are content to be ruled by hysterical mobs, keeps the dhimmis in line. Useless to count who killed more of who when. Let’s stop the rampages of now.

    They are obviously trying to drive out all their religious minorities. If we begin doing the same, my what a hue and cry there would be.

    I read an article by the niece of the abortion doctor who was shot through the window. I don’t think he had wife, kids. He told the niece his customers were mostly the same set of women over and over again, they did not want to use birth control apparently. He was contemptuous of them.

    Abortion is a real totem of the left, they are really annoyed with the Christians for opposing it.

  19. Corey,

    I am not familiar with the link from Pam Geller though the estimate of 80 million Hindus killed by Muslim “occupiers” has been quoted many times.We also know that Iran and Egypt were not originally Muslim countries.Islam historically has been an aggressive violent religion.The violence against Christians continues in Egypt even though they are now only 10% of the population.Christians have also been repeatedly attacked in Iraq the latest being just a few days ago. When Thomas Jefferson and John Adams confronted the ambassador to England from Tripoli about why American ships were being attacked by Muslim pirates. This is what they were told:

    “But one cannot get around what Jefferson heard when he went with John Adams to wait upon Tripoli’s ambassador to London in March 1785. When they inquired by what right the Barbary states preyed upon American shipping, enslaving both crews and passengers, America’s two foremost envoys were informed that “it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

    So in 1785 the Koran was used to justify violence against non-Muslims, including non-Muslims from a new country that had done nothing to these Muslim states.

  20. I love how that artcle fails to mention that jefferson owned a koran himself or that a muslim country was first in recognizing americas indepencence. or that the founding fathers themselves had admiration for islam.

  21. The problem is probably muslimophobia not islamophobia. Christianity is very nice also. Christians are supposed to love eveybody. Do Christians love everybody?

  22. @ criley401:

    I guess you either forgot, or refuse to acknowledge the IRA and all that US CITIZENS (CATHOLICS) contributed to the mayhem and murder that has entailed…. as well as both material aid and wink and a nod comfort to the Nazis…… I guess that does not suit your bias!

  23. 2,974 people died on September 11 2011 in the United States due to Islamic terrorists.

    In the past 10 years 4,823 died in terror attacks in the United States and Europe including the 9-11 numbers. 4,703 died from Islamic terror attacks while the remaining 170 deaths were caused by the IRA and smaller terrorist groups. Thus of all the deadly terrorists attacks 97 percent of the deaths were caused by Islamic terrorists.

    There you go Sharra: I would have to look it up but I believe that the IRA has killed 63 people in the past ten years as part of terrorist events in the United States and Europe (mostly if not all in Europe)meaning that the other 103 deaths were caused by misc groups of terrorists. Now Sharra when it comes to total numbers of terrorist activities there are a little more than 4000 events over the past ten years of which Muslims only took part in a small percentage. Most of these, were property damage only and no deaths were incurred. the 97 percent figure is Muslim participation in events that were deadly.

    I do not think I have a Bias my point was simply that a very large portion of Muslims do not seem to really know much about their religion in terms of practice and tolerance as they are very oppressive of Non Muslims within countries in which they are the dominate religion.

    To be totally honest not only do I believe that evangelicals are not a threat I do not believe Muslims are a threat when it comes to what is called “Home Grown Terrorism” within the United States. There are simply not enough events or injuries within the United States to justify the extreme actions our government is taking in response to 9-11. Sure it was horrific but it was one well planned event. If you take those numbers out or even leave them in more people(appx 7000) have died in boating accidents over the past ten years and in one year alone New York will have more murders than all U.S. Terrorist attacks combined within the past ten years excluding the 9-11 event.

  24. are evangelicals a national security threat. of course.


    to refresh your memory.

    what’s funny is how there seems to be some sort of who is worse mentality on this site? when if fact religious fanatisism rises out of religion, by definition. the problem is your ancient texts at their very core. from genesis to the hadiths.

    sharra r,

    “Of the 1,800 people killed by the I.R.A. since the late 1960’s, about 650 were civilians rather than members of security forces or paramilitary organizations.”

    so it looks like in 30 years they still didn’t kill as many as one day in america. anyways regardless of the number, do you consider hamas and hezbollah as terrorist?

  25. You all need to get a clue on what a Christian is, because there are many who claim to be Christian who are not. Amazing how what is right can be taught to be wrong, and what is wrong can be taught to be right. Only for those who don’t have a love for the truth.

    A Christian is a follower of Christ, who also takes his words of ‘loving others as you would yourself’ serious. Christ never said to kill the infidels as it does in the Koran. The Koran expresses violence to unbelievers in over 100 places. It IS NOT a religion of peace. My Americans have short memories. Christians are NOT killing muslims you fools who love the lies. It’s the other way around.

  26. On another note, while the supposed ‘extremist’ muslims are beheading Christians and their toddler children just for the fear factor alone, they often give clear indication of what their motives are by chanting that all familiar but easily forgotten tribute to their god of the Koran.

    The supposed ‘Christians’ the degenerates link to aren’t chanting ‘YHWH is great’ after these acts are done now are they? I’m still waiting for the link where Christians are beheading in the name of YHWH. It’s one thing to set off a bomb, but to behead someone with a blade can only come from pure evil. Honor killings come from Islamic ideals, and it is pure evil.

  27. Muslims flew planes into buildings?

    If you believe this I got a bridge to sell you.

    JJ The Fed

  28. I see the disinfo war is in full swing. One only has to look at the front (public) lawn of the White House during “christmas” to understand who wishes distrust between Moslems and Christains. And that symbol of segregation is the Menorah. The so-called celebration of Hannaka is by definition anti-assimilation.
    So while the aliens who infest our country and control the government, media and banks throw red meat to one side or another. They sit back and laugh at the foolishness they themselves create.

  29. As an Evangelical Christian who definately sees myself as a Christian

    first and an American second,I can tell you the difference between

    Christians and Muslims. Fundamentalist Christians would never do anything

    that would hurt their country! Please don’t drag out Timotrhy McVeigh,he

    was not a Christian,just because you are not Jewish or muslim does not

    make you a Christian. He was an atheist according to his own statements.

    Christians are told to submit to the government,because there is no

    government that God has not allowed to come into power(Rom.13:1-

    7;1Pet.2:13-17).We are to give honor unto whom honor is due,so anyone who

    does not do that is not following God’s word and remember that was

    written when the Apostles were under the authority of the Roman

    Empire,one of the most brutal dictatorships in history.The apparant

    contradiction arises out of the fact that as American citizens Christians

    have the right to vote and be part of the process of our government, so

    we are aloud by law to voice our displeasure,but voicing your displeasure

    is not becoming an enemy of your country. The believer would not hurt the

    country,they would just refuse to do anything that directly violated

    God’s word according to what the Bible teaches(Acts4:19-20;5:29).The

    problem with the left is you are ignorant of both Christianity and Islam.

    Islam on the other hand says that to be faithful to Allah you must kill

    all infedels,Jews,Christians and Atheists alike. Just a slight difference

    in outlooks and commands.Christians who blow up abortion clinics and

    participate in other radical acts are called Dominionists or Kingdom now

    and are the Jerry falwell and Pat Robertson types who believe their

    mandate is to Christianize the United states, which is just as idiotic

    and unBiblical as their leftwing counterparts who believe in Liberation

    Theology. Obama’s church is one of these churches, which teaches God is

    bringing His kingdom of economic and social justice through Marxist

    revolution,which is juast as outrageous and unBiblical as the Rightwing


    Both teach that somehow God needs them to fix society for Him, using

    their personal political agenda to do it and leave out the Bible and what

    it teaches about God and what He wants from the believer. Both replace

    God with government and are obviously man centered and really built on a

    thirst for power,not godliness. Those people on both extremes are

    definately dangerous,but I notice you don’t address the leftwing version

    and then throw all Christians into the rightwing version. Most

    Fundamentalist Christians denounce Dominionism and love their country

    and ,like I said earlier, would never do anything to hurt it,at worst

    refuse to do anything that violates scripture,which is hardly dangerous

    or a threat to anyone. The medias ignorance of Christianity is

    inexcusable and their desire to make all moslems out to be peace loving

    people is even more dangerous. The majoritry of moslems believe in

    Jihad ,most, not a few,most,yet only a small number of Christians believe

    in Dominionism and you lump all believers into that mold. Either you have

    no interest in knowing the truth or you know the truth and purposely

    lie,only the individuals who do these stories know the answer,but I find

    it hard to believe that you cannot find someone to explain the

    differences between these groups. That is a true shame and a major

    problem and reason for the publics ignorance concerning what is really

    going on in our country today.


    Richie G.

  30. I find it interesting when people blame religion for all of the wars or most of the wars throughout history. We just came out of century where 150 million people were killed in the name of a Darwinistic and atheistic philosophy called Communism,what’s there excuse? The problem is not religion or the core of the ancient religious texts,it is man’s heart! Man will find any excuse to kill and gain more power,that is why our constitutiuon had separation of powers with checks and balances to keep one man or one group of taking over the country,unfortunately those protections are now being used against the system to keep one sie or the other,they both do it,from giving up any ground. It was never intended to be used as a means to create a stalemate,but I
    Christians are told to love their neighbors as themselves(Matt),they are told to submitt to authority and give honor to those in authority,unless that authority asks the believer to do something that directly contradicts God’s word(Acts.4:19-20;5:29). Unfoetunately because of the America’s unique form of government,the citizen is part of the government and has a right to participate in the process,unlike the Roman Empire,when the New Testament was written. That participation sometimes takes the form of something other than honor and submission,which is something the Christian must be aware of. Islam on the other hand considers America the “Great Satan” to Israel’s “little Satan” and we know Islam’s goal is to destroy Israel and America as well. You cannot compare the Ameircan Christian,who is faithful to the Bible with the Muslim who is faithful to the Koran,one is a religion of love and forgiveness and one is religion of death and revenge,you figure out which one is which.

    Richie G.

  31. How many Americans died at the hands of the IRA ? That’s right none!

    The IRA was not a religious organization getting their marching orders

    from the Bible. They were a political organization who wanted freedom

    from England,so to compare that with Evangelical Christians is not a

    valid comparison in any way. Either is the Roman Catholic Church or the

    Church of England who were arms of the state and used to gain more

    political power and wealth,that is not the goal of Evangelical

    Christianity,well maybe some of the misguided leaders,but not the rank and

    You seem to be missing the main difference and that is the Koran

    commands it’s followers to kill the enemy every single chance they get

    and the only sure way to get to heaven is to kill an infadel. The New

    Testament does not command the believer to kill anyone,but instead to

    love your enemies and to do good to those who hate you,not the same

    message.This is the first generation,so they say,that is truly Biblically

    illiterate and I believe this is the reason for the comparison between

    Muslims and Christians. I have heard many supposed intellectual say there

    is no difference between Fundamental Christians and Fundamental Muslims

    and nothing could be further from the truth. The fundamentalist Muslim

    believes the fundamentals of the Koran which includes killing the infadel

    and the domination of Muslim society over the entire world.

    The fundamentals of Christianity are the deity of Christ,salvation by

    faith, the physical ,bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and the

    return of Christ,they have nothing to do with war or physical

    dominance,while Islamic fundamentals center on those subjects. To think

    they are the same is to have no knowledge of either religious faith.

  32. All this seems to be over 9/11. But I would urge you all to go do some research, 1) no Arabs were on those planes, how do I know CNN published the flight manifest on their site. 2) Those building came down in 12 seconds and then you also have Bldg 7 that wasn’t even hit that came down as well. The janitor who was the last one out and dove under the fire truck said there were explosion all the way down. NORAD was told to stand down and didn’t launch it’s planes. And then there were the supposed cell phone calls, not, I don’t know how many of you have flown but no towers means no calls. You know God gave us brains and we are suppose to use them for other things than a hat rack. When was the last time you seen a plane crash with no bodies and no luggage or plane parts (flight 93). I’m a Christian but my Bible doesn’t say anywhere that I’m to submit to a Government. Those that say that better go buy a strong’s and sit down and study. Romans 13 doesn’t say that either. The disciples were locked up every where they went for not obeying the Government. Paul probably visited the jail as he was coming into town because he knew where he was going. As a matter of fact 1 Cor 6 says you are not to go before a Government court, that all legal matters are to be done by the church. 1Co 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? You know why you believe the stuff you hear? It is because it is coming from supposed Christians, even though you were told that wolves would come in an and act like sheep, and it is you who are suppose to study so you know when you are being lied to. I hate no one, and all this fighting is wrong you are suppose to love all people. And it would help if you would all go do some research and get some some facts before you back the murder of innocent people. Go read your history and stop believing those who go and worship owls at the Bohemian grove. Your Government has to get you behind their rule of the world and they seem to be doing a good job. God Bless and please wake up.

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