the shape of leadership

Americans Fear Each Other

Many eye conservative Christians suspiciously

Influence Magazine on September 11, 2017

A new survey from Baylor University reveals that Americans are deeply fearful of each other — and conservative Christians are among the groups arousing suspicion.

More than 36 percent of U.S. adults polled said conservative Christians want to limit their freedom. By comparison, 35 percent said Muslims are out to restrict their liberties, and 27 percent expressed such concerns about atheists.

Nearly 21 percent regarded conservative Christian values as inferior.

Nearly 26 percent said Muslims pose a danger to their physical safety. Some 16 percent labeled conservative Christians an imminent threat, and an equal number regarded atheists as dangerous.

Almost 30 percent of respondents said atheists hold values that are inferior to their own; 26 percent said the same of Muslims, and nearly 21 percent regarded conservative Christian values as inferior.

Not surprisingly, the object of a respondent’s suspicion varied according to demographics. Conservative Christians, mainline Protestants, and Catholics were most fearful of Muslims, while black Protestants were more fearful of atheists.

Religious “Nones,” Jews and those of other religions were most fearful of conservative Christians. Across the board, Americans were the least fearful of Jews.

Regular church attenders overall are most likely to say atheists have inferior values, while those who attend rarely or never are most likely to point to conservative Christians as having inferior values.

Baylor is a private Christian university in Waco, Texas.
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