Special to The Hill

The White House claims that an executive order temporarily closing U.S. borders to refugees and others from seven predominantly Muslim countries is about national security, not religion. Critics claim the order amounts to a ban on Muslims. Debate over the ban raises a broader question: whether religion should matter when it comes to seeking asylum or citizenship in the United States, and what it means to be a “true” American.

A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2016 found that about a third (32 percent) of Americans believe it is very important for a person to be Christian in order to be considered truly American. Nearly the same proportion (31 percent) contends that one’s religion is not at all important.

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