Mark A. Smith is professor of Political Science and an adjunct professor of Comparative Religion and Communication at the University of Washington. His research focuses on economic and religious groups, ideas, and influences in American politics. In his new book, Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics, Dr. Smith argues that religion is not nearly the unchanging conservative influence in American politics that we have come to think it is and is best understood as responding to changing political and cultural values rather than shaping them.
In his latest column for Huffington Post Politics, PRRI Research Director Daniel Cox explores American pride, examining how different groups of citizens express and celebrate their national identity.
As Americans prepare to celebrate the nation’s 237th birthday this July 4th, the overwhelming majority of Americans report being proud of their national identity and heritage. More than 8 in 10 say they feel very (31 percent) or extremely (51 percent) proud to be American, and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) say God has granted America a special role in human history. American pride cuts across political, racial, religious and generational boundaries that typically divide us. On the question of patriotism, there is a general consensus: We are all proud to be Americans.
And yet, there are notable differences in how strongly Americans feel this pride and evident divides in the likelihood with which Americans plan to engage in patriotic activities. For instance, more than 6 in 10 (63 percent) conservatives say they are extremely proud to be American compared to less than half of liberals (45 percent). Conservatives are also more likely than liberals to display an American flag at their home or on their car (68 percent versus 47 percent).
These differences in patriotic intensity are also found among other Americans as well. Older Americans are much more likely than younger Americans to say they are extremely proud to be American (64 percent versus 39 percent). Similarly, white evangelical Protestants are more emphatic in their feelings of national pride than non-white Christians or the religiously unaffiliated Americans. Nearly 7 in 10 (68 percent) white evangelical Protestants say they are extremely proud to be American, compared to 39 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans. White Americans (66 percent) are much more likely than black (50 percent) and Hispanic Americans (40 percent) to display the American flag.
Check out the full column at Huffington Post Politics.