Poll: Significant minority supports religious freedom for some, not all

I’ve previously argued that the current “religious freedom” bandwagon is little more than a smokescreen for Christian theocracy, especially since it seems to have been an explicit reaction to the marriage equality victories around the country. A new AP poll suggests I’m right, but not to the extent I thought.

Eighty-two percent said religious liberty protections were important for Christians, compared with 61 percent who said the same for Muslims. About seven in 10 said preserving Jews’ religious freedom was important, while 67 percent said so of Mormons.

I expected the Muslim number to be far lower, but that leaves 21% of adults who think, like Rick Santorum in a recent GOP debate, that religious liberty applies to Christianity but not Islam.

And surprisingly, the numbers aren’t that different for Republicans and Democrats.

In the survey, 88 percent of Republicans said it was important to protect the religious liberty of Christians, while only 60 percent said so for Muslims. Democrats also ranked religious freedom for Muslims as a lower priority. Eighty-three percent of Democrats said the protections were important for Christians, while only 67 percent said so for Muslims.

Just 5% fewer Democrats than Republicans think Christians should be protected, but only 7% fewer Republicans than Democrats think Muslims deserve religious freedom.

I’m guessing Salon, ThinkProgress, or Slate will have a headline up later today tut-tutting that Republican figure, while completely ignoring the Democratic one. The reflexive Free Beacon or Daily Caller headline that 33% of Democrats think Muslims don’t deserve religious freedom will go unnoticed.

Needless to say, religious liberty is important, and applies to everyone, regardless of their religion (or lack thereof). I’m glad to see large majorities of both parties agree.


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