A Drake University religion professor says it’s harder to practice your faith in Iowa if you’re not Christian. Drake professor Jennifer Harvey says it’s easier to join the “faith of our fathers” when most of the people around you share that faith.
Harvey says people “on the margins” of whatever, in this case religion, find it more difficult to navigate their communities because Christianity has “permeated” the culture. The most recent data available indicates that in 2002, 78 percent of Americans were Christians.
Harvey says it’s harder to practice the “minority” religions in the U.S.
Harvey says you have to make an “active choice” if you’re Hindu or Muslim, whereas she contends it’s easier to be active in Christianity, to “just kind of live into (Christianity) without thinking” because “there’s no cost” in our culture to associating with Christians or being a Christian.
Harvey says she sees her Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist students do “a lot of extra work” because they’re part of a minority religion. Harvey says “it’s a lot easier to not have to choose if you are part of the norm or the dominant culture” of Christianity in our country and state. Surveys indicate that 60 percent of Americans consider religion an important part of their lives and 94 percent of Americans believe there is a God or some sort of “universal spirit.”