Survey Shows Many Americans Find Atheists and Muslims Threatening

April 27, 2004

Source: The Minnesota Daily

On April 27, 2004 The Minnesota Daily reported "White Americans think racial discrimination is increasing although black Americans think it’s decreasing. The findings are the first phase of a three-year study called the American Mosaic Project, which examines race and religion in the United States. Three University professors and others designed the survey, which the University of Wisconsin Survey Center conducted last summer. It includes 120 questions about the respondents’ views on race, religion intolerance and prejudice. Doug Hartmann, one of the three University professors spearheading the project, said it is probable that white Americans see affirmative action as reverse discrimination. Hartmann said the group also found competition drives anti-Semitism — not religious intolerance. For example, he said, some survey participants were threatened by a Jewish person’s success and not his or her religious beliefs. When questioned about what religious or nonreligious group doesn’t share their vision of American society, survey participants indicated that atheists — with 54 percent — provided the greatest threat, Hartmann said. Survey participants said Muslims create the second-highest threat. 'This result shows that religion is deeply intertwined with conceptions of American society,' he said. 'The absence of faith, the belief in a higher being seems to be a major barrier between people in our society.'"