About 75 Americans identify themselves as Christian, according to the U.S. Census. But hundreds of thousands of Americans practice other religions; the most popular of those are Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. About 15 percent more don't practice religion at all. How do religious minorities fit in to the fabric of our country? And what can be done to ease tensions among the faiths?
Why does religious intolerance exist?
“There are people that are intolerant of other religions because I think they think theirs is more right then others. ... A lot of the time it's because of the way they were raised.” — Ali Williams, Yukon High School sophomore
“No matter how many times different views are explained, there are always going to be closed-minded people.” — Jackie Kirk, Harding Charter Prep senior
“Some people believe that their religion — or lack thereof — is better than others. Also, some people don't like things that are different than what they are used to.” — Alex Greenwood, Duncan High School junior
“People are too stubborn and don't want to listen to others because they feel that what they think is right and everyone else is wrong.” — Reavis Hammond, Duncan High School junior
“Religious intolerance exists because of those who believe the rights of others aren't as important as their own, when the fact of the matter is it shouldn't matter what someone else's religion is.” — Jonathon Lofton, Duncan High School senior
“I think some people are so stubborn, they think their way is right and nothing else is.” — Brooklyn Scott, Duncan High School junior
“I believe that people have the need to fit in. They also have fear of the unknown. Since most people don't know about other religions, they tend to fear those people. Therefore, they show their intolerance for other religions so that they can mask their fear.” — Sara Ishaq, Mercy School Institute freshman
“Religious intolerance exists because of a lack of education.” — Luke Teague, Classen School of Advanced Studies freshman
“Religious intolerance exists because people tend to believe that they know the only way to find God. People forget that if a person finds God, they will find the truth, no matter what religion they are a part of.” — Lucy Fitzmorris, Mount Saint Mary Catholic High School senior
Are high school students tolerant when it comes to other religions?
“Religious tolerance in high schools is definitely improving. ... High school students are now more aware and more informed about different faiths, which allows religious tolerance to flourish more and more everyday.” — Nadia Enchassi, ASTEC Charter School senior