A Harvard sociology professor has found that the most popular U.S. religion is Judaism; at least according to the 3,000 individuals he surveyed for his book entitled American Grace. An interesting finding but is it sufficient evidence to assume that anti-Semitism is declining in the U.S.?

A view of the backside of a man wearing a yarmulke while standing in front of a curtain decorated with the Star of David

He theorizes that the decline in anti-Semitism began in 1946 when the reality of the holocaust came to light. Up to that point, the professor says, that there was rampant anti-Semitism in the United States. After Hitler’s atrocities came to be known by the world, it was no longer “fashionable” to bash Jews.

This theory seems plausible, but it’s hard to buy when you consider the fact that you can find examples of anti-Israeli sentiment and sympathies for Israel’s enemies pretty easy. Not to mention the high profile instances of anti-Semitic rhetoric that seem to crawl out from the bowels of Hollywood and the media on a fairly frequent basis. See Mel Gibson and Helen Thomas for examples.

The survey conducted by the Harvard professors could be an anomaly. My thinking is that Catholicism would be the most popular religion in the U.S. Judaism would be popular, but not the most popular. The results were from non-Jews. This leads me to speculate that those polled were asked to vote for a religion other than their own. Could it be that those polled were Catholics, or some other denomination of Christians who would most assuredly pick Judaism most popular.

Still, other respected sources seem to agree with the findings that anti-Semitism is in decline or that Judaism is the most popular religion in the country. It could just be that those who were surveyed didn’t want to be perceived as anti-Semitic so they cast a vote for Judaism.