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Thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution, Americans of all religious faiths enjoy equal rights and protections under the law — at least, in theory. However, an alarming number of U.S. citizens don’t seem to believe that this is the case: A new poll finds that nearly one-fifth of Americans don’t think U.S. Muslims have the same rights as non-Muslim Americans. In addition, 15 percent of Americans don’t think that atheists have the same Constitutional protections as do religious Americans.
As a quick refresher, here’s the text of the First Amendment:
It’s pretty clear-cut. Congress isn’t allowed to pass laws that either grant preferential treatment to or discriminate against people of specific religious faiths.
A disturbing number of Americans, however, think otherwise. A poll by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 18 percent of Americans think it’s “very or somewhat inaccurate” to say that Muslim Americans have the same rights as other U.S. citizens, while an additional four percent said they don’t know whether equal rights for Muslims are protected under U.S. law.