Yet another poll has demonstrated the religious tolerance of most Americans, and I guarantee that yet again almost no one will report it that way.
In a recent survey by Time/CNN, only 47% believe Obama is a Christian...and he has a 46% approval rate! Since it is certainly the case that there are some who know Obama is Christian but don't approve of him anyway, that means he is getting significant approval from people who don't know he's Christian.
Think about that for a moment.
Another result from the same survey: 55% of those surveyed would favor a Muslim community center and place of worship two blocks from their home--that's only 18% lower than the support a similar Jewish institution would get.
The result that 61% oppose "the building of the Muslim community center and mosque near where the World Trade Center stood" is, therefore, a complicated number to evaluate. Some of the opposition is from people who hold prejudices against Muslims. Some is from people who, in that region, want to defer to the sensitivities of people who lost loved ones on September 11. Some is probably from people who don't think centers connected to any religion should be built in the area (those people presumably don't understand how many churches, temples, and mosques are already there). And there may be other reasons as well--perhaps some people afraid of continued political backlash, for instance.
"Bias" and "tolerance" are sometimes tricky concepts to get at--46% of those surveyed did say that "the Islamic religion is more likely than other religions to encourage violence against nonbelievers" (reflecting confusion between the religion itself and current geopolitics) and there may be some people who answer differently to a pollster than they would at their kitchen table. Nevertheless, as in other surveys, it appears that most Americans understand and believe in our principles of religious tolerance.