Reviews | Poll Shows White Christians Ignore Their Real Number Problem

white evangelical Christians dominate the MAGA movement. Fear of civilizational decline, dire warnings of an existential crisis, and howls that religion is “under attack” form the basis of much of MAGA ideology. And the apocalyptic language deployed by the right carries a striking resemblance to end-time Christian imagery.

But while conservative Christians like to blame the left, a new Pew Research Center poll shows that their problem is not the secular elites.

Prominent right-wingers, including former Attorney General William P. Barr and current Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., cite growing secularism as a threat to our entire way of life . Barr (while still in office!) rages during a speech at the University of Notre Dame: “This is not decadence. It is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have brought together all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia in an unrelenting assault on religion and traditional values.

at Alito recent rant in Rome was not his first fiery tirade against an imaginary assault on religion. back in 2020he tonne“It pains me to say this, but in some quarters religious freedom is rapidly becoming a disadvantaged right.” This summer, he got back to it again, denounce “hostility to religion”.

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These voices posit that white Christians are victims. But in fact, the church has simply failed to attract and retain believers. As Ron Brownstein explained last year in the Atlantic: “The assertion that any Democratic victory will irrevocably reconfigure the nation appeals to a deep-seated fear among key elements of the Republican coalition: that they will be eclipsed by demographic and cultural shifts. which have made white people – especially white Christians – a steadily shrinking share of the population.

Brownstein observed that this “vision of America will only stray further from reality in a country where children of color will soon make up the majority of the population under the age of 18, where growing numbers of young people are not s ‘identify with no religious tradition, and where white Christians likely slip below 40% of society.

This process is well under way. The bench survey follows the rapid decline of self-identified Christians: “Projections show that Christians of all ages will drop from 64% to just over half (54%) and just over a third (35%) of all Americans by 2070. Not that same period, ‘none’ [those affiliated with no religion] would go from the current 30% to somewhere between 34% and 52% of the American population.

Christianity is losing adherents – in droves. “A declining share of young adults who were raised (in childhood) Christians have retained their religious identity into adulthood over the past 30 years,” Pew said. found. “At the same time, having no religious affiliation became ‘stickier’: a decreasing percentage of people raised without a religion converted or adopted a religion later in life.”

In other words: “With each generation, fewer and fewer adults retain the Christian identity with which they were raised, which means that fewer and fewer parents are raising their children in Christian homes”.

The decline is particularly acute for white evangelical Christians. “The overall decline in the proportion of Americans who identify as Christian over the past few decades has been primarily due to the decline in non-Hispanic white Christians,” Robert P. Jones, president of the Public Religion Research Institute, told me. . “A first wave of decline in non-evangelical/mainstream white Protestants began in the 1970s, followed by the decline of white Catholics, and more recently – just since the mid-2000s – the decline of white evangelical Protestants.” He adds, “Over the past 15 years, the decline of white evangelical Protestants has actually been significantly more pronounced than the decline of non-evangelical white Protestants.

Not among the reasons why so many people are leaving Christianity? “Liberals don’t say Merry Christmas,” Where “Christianity is under attack.The data shows, however, that “an association of Christianity with conservative politics has led many liberals far from the faith, according at Pew.

In general, however, people are leave christian churches because, among other things, they do not believe in the teachings of the churches, they are hostile to organized religion in the broad sense and/or they find no spiritual comfort in it. Jones says, “One of the reasons young people are disassociating is the hardening of partisanship within churches and conservative political positions are markedly out of step with young Americans on a range of issues: same-sex marriage, abortion, contraception. , climate change, immigration, etc. .” He continues, “The culture war battle, especially with the Trumpian/MAGA edge, just doesn’t resonate with most of a generation that grew up with it. deer as the established law of the land and a much more diverse group of friends who weren’t just straight, white, and Christian.

In short, the irrational panic evident in MAGA circles and the creeping openness to authoritarian theocracy appears to be a reaction to a new reality: Christians (especially white evangelical Christians) do not dominate the United States demographically, economically, socially or politically as they once did. did. This is which panicked members of the right – from the January 6 insurgents to Alito.

Promulgating religious precepts from the pew, storming the Capitol, bringing prayer back to schools, or promising to pass laws that reflect certain Christian values ​​will not reverse the trend. In fact, all this tumult could accelerate the rise of the “nones”.

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