Americans don’t cite ‘God, family, country’ quite like the cliche goes

Mar 20, 2015

Photo courtesy of Barna Group | design by Chaz Russo

By Cathy Lynn Grossman

“God, family and country” might make for a good country music tune, but that’s not really how most Americans see the strongest influences on their personal identity.

The real order is family first (62 percent), followed by “being an American” (52 percent). “Religious faith” lolls way down in third place (38 percent) — if it’s mentioned at all, according to a survey released Thursday (March 19) by The Barna Group.

The California-based Christian research company found another 18 percent of those surveyed said faith had a little to do with idea of who they are, and nearly 20 percent scored it at zero influence.

Christians were the largest self-identified group in the survey and Barna looked at them two ways. “Practicing” Christians — defined in the survey as self-identified Catholics, Protestants and Mormons who say they have attended church at least once in the last month and/or say religion is important to them — scored faith first, at a rate more than double the national average.


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7 comments on “Americans don’t cite ‘God, family, country’ quite like the cliche goes

  • What a shame, that in 1956 the original elegant motto on the Great Seal of America, E Pluribus Unum, was replaced by the naff In God We Trust.

    I’m quite surprised, because at the time, the White House incumbent was Eisenhower, a cultured individual, who had on his desk a plaque which read, Suaviter in Modo, Fortiter in Re; but then, he wasn’t really interested in politics.



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  • 4
    Johannes says:

    MESHUGGAH! \m/

    Also, the only one of those that affect my character is probably my family… but then again, I’m not american hahaha



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  • Perhaps a slightly different approach:

    Very strong + Some affiliation

    Family 86%
    Country 82%
    Faith 61%
    Ethnicity 56%

    Weak + No affiliation

    Ethnicity 44%
    Faith 39%
    Country 18%
    Family 13%

    We may say then that the strongest affiliation is with Family and Country. On the other hand, the weakest affiliations are with Ethnicity and Faith. What surprises me is that for those who answered the survey, Faith has stronger affiliation than Ethnicity, suggesting opinion/believes are more important to their identity than their physical characteristics. I’m glad, however, that people put their families and their country as the strongest aspects of their identity and that the ones who have the least affiliation to the them are in a very small number in comparison to the rest.



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  • But then, using only 4 of those aspects creates a distortion. With this approach, Faith would go further down in importance in relation to State62% very strong + some affiliation.



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