By Kimberly Winston
(RNS) — Nearly 1 in 5 Americans incorrectly believe that Muslim citizens don’t have the same First Amendment rights as other American citizens.
Also incorrectly, 1 in 7 believe that atheists aren’t protected by those rights.
These are among the findings of a new study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, which also found that a fraction of Americans surveyed — 15 percent — named freedom of religion when asked to name the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.
Those rights are: freedom of religion, speech and the press, and the right of assembly and to petition the government.
“These results emphasize the need for high-quality civics education in the schools and for press reporting that underscores the existence of constitutional protections,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
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