Jerusalem: A new study has revealed that the most popular faith in the US is Judaism.
Sociologists Robert D Putnam and David E Campbell write in their new book ‘American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us’ about the study they conducted amongst 3,000 ordinary Americans to rank religions.
“Most surprisingly, the most popular religion in America are Jews among non-Jews, followed closely by Catholics. Fifty years ago, or 100 years ago, that almost certainly would not have been true,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Putnam as saying.
Americans were a deeply religious people – more so on average than in Iran, he said.
But why Judaism?
“There was a lot of anti-Semitism in America during the 1930s and 1940s. It was not as high as Europe but a high level of anti-Semitism in America. If you look at the trend data year by year by the same measure that the Gallop poll has been doing, for 70 years now there was a very, very sharp drop in expressed anti-Semitism in 1946,” he said.
“That was the revelation of the Holocaust, and the revelation of the Holocaust had the effect of completely delegitimising anti-Semitism in America. It became much, much harder to say anti-Semitic things in public,” Putnam said.
“So the next generation were less anti-Semitic and the process continued. So all the anti-Semitic stereotypes in America, the Shylocks and Christ-killers, all that kind of stuff disappeared from public culture and then private culture,” he said.
Asked if he felt proud of his findings, being a member of the tribe, Putnam responded, “Not pride so much as satisfaction because I think that despite our problems, they are different than those our predecessors had 50 or 60 years ago, and I worry a little bit that if we continue to think that our worst problem is how non-Jews feel about us, that detracts from serious problems we as a community have.”