US No Longer a Christian Nation?

James Dobson says presidential candidate Fred Thompson isn’t a Christian:

“Everyone knows he’s conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for,” Dobson said of Thompson. “[But] I don’t think he’s a Christian; at least that’s my impression,” Dobson added

In a follow-up phone conversation, Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger stood by Dobson’s claim. He said that, while Dobson didn’t believe Thompson to be a member of a non-Christian faith, Dobson nevertheless “has never known Thompson to be a committed Christian—someone who talks openly about his faith.”

“We use that word—Christian—to refer to people who are evangelical Christians,” Schneeberger added.

(emphasis added)

I note that according to the American Religious Identification Survey, in 2001 about 1 million people identified themselves as “Evangelical” — they were outnumbered by Muslims. That’s less than 0.5% of the US population.

So can we expect Dobson et al. to drop the “America is a Christian nation” argument?

(HT PZ.)

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3 Responses to US No Longer a Christian Nation?

  1. Fez says:

    arensb writes:

    That’s less than 0.5% of the US population.

    But they make up for it by being about 50% of the noise. However on page two of the linked article,

    Bush got nearly 6 million new white evangelical votes in 2004 that he didn’t get in 2000, accounting for about twice his margin of victory.

    Unfortunately no provided source for the 6M figure. Either evangelicals were wildly underrepresented in the 2001 study or they grew like mold in the intervening years.

    The ARIS also included “Salvation Army” as a distinct religion. Aren’t they an evangelical branch?


  2. arensb says:

    You’ve got a point. IIRC the nice thing about ARIS was that they didn’t make people pick a religion from a list, but rather asked people what they consider themselves. Presumably a lot of Baptists consider themselves “born again”, but only 58,000 people identified themselves as “born again” as their primary identification.

    So yeah, I’m sure it undercounts the evangelicals, but if I hadn’t played silly buggers with the numbers, the post wouldn’t have been as amusing.


  3. Fez says:

    Schneeberger. Sounds like a character from Dr. Seuss.


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