Beliefnet News

By Omar Sacribey
Religion News Service

Muslim Americans and white evangelicals find themselves on opposite sides of many issues, but have more in common than other religious groups when it comes to religious fervor, scriptural literalism and social morality, according to a new report.
The report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that U.S. Muslims and evangelical Christians consistently scored closer than other groups, including black Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics.
On the question of religious vs. national identity, 47 percent of Muslims saw themselves as Muslims first and Americans second, while 62 percent of evangelicals said they were Christians first and Americans second. Similar scores were 55 percent for black Protestants, 31 percent for Catholics and 22 percent for mainline Protestants.
While black Protestants rated the highest (87 percent) when saying religion is “very important” in their lives, evangelicals came in at 80 percent and Muslims at 72 percent. Findings were significantly lower for Catholics (49 percent) and mainline Protestants (36 percent).
There was similar agreement on whether the Quran (for Muslims) and the Bible (for Christians) were the literal word of God: Half of Muslims and two-thirds of evangelicals and black Protestants agreed, compared to one-quarter or less of both Catholics and mainline Protestants.
Muslims and evangelicals scored the closest — and highest — when asked whether homosexuality should be discouraged as a way of life.
About six in 10 Muslims and evangelicals agreed, while less than half of other Christian groups did, with white Catholics the lowest, at 27 percent.
Politics was the one glaring difference between Muslims and evangelicals: about 60 percent of Muslims said they are Democrats or lean Democratic, while a similar number (57 percent) of evangelicals said they were Republicans.
“American Muslims, like many people of faith, seek improvements in family values and would like to see society encourage morality, not impose it,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2007 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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