Skip to comments.White Christian America ended in the 2010s
Posted on 12/30/2019 6:24:12 AM PST by TigerClaws
Like the tumultuous adolescent years of human development, the changes during the teen years of the 21st century disrupted American identity as weve known it. These transformations have come upon us quickly, upending long-standing assumptions particularly among white Christians about the American social fabric. And as with teenagers, they have created a lot of anxiety and fear about the future.
Of all the changes to identity and belonging, the centurys second decade has been particularly marked by a religious sea change. After more than two centuries of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance, the United States has moved from being a majority-white Christian nation to one with no single racial and religious majority.
The United States has moved from being a majority-white Christian nation to one with no single racial and religious majority.
When I first identified this shift mid-decade in my 2016 book The End of White Christian America, I noted that the percentage of white Christians in the general population had dropped from 53 percent to 47 percent between 2010 and 2014 alone. Now, at the end of the decade, only 42 percent of Americans identify as white and Christian, representing a drop of 11 percentage points.
In the world of demographic measurement, where changes typically occur at a glacial pace, this drop in self-identified white Christians, averaging 1.1 percentage points a year, is remarkable. Changes of this magnitude are large enough to see and feel at the local level, as church rolls shrink and white Christian institutions hold less sway in public space. Related Opinion What Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays reveals about your identity
In addition to white American Christianity crossing the majority-minority threshold, the last decade also saw a particularly significant decline within one subgroup: white evangelicals. While the ranks of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics have been shrinking for decades, white evangelical Protestants had seemed immune to the forces eroding membership among other white Christian groups.
But since 2010, the number of white evangelical Protestants has dropped from 21 percent of the population to 15 percent. While white evangelical Protestants have enjoyed an outsized public presence over the last four years because of their predominance in President Donald Trumps unshakeable base, it is notable that today they are actually roughly the same size as their white mainline Protestant cousins (15 percent vs. 16 percent, respectively).
The underlying tectonic forces producing these trends are the result of both demographics and departures. According to an analysis of U.S Census population projections by William Frey at the Brookings Institution, racial changes are partly fueling this trend.
In 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that, for the first time, there was an absolute decline in the countrys white, non-Hispanic population. In other words, whites not only lost ground as a proportion of the population, but in actual numbers; there were more deaths than births. The U.S. Census Bureau now predicts that the U.S. will no longer be majority-white by 2045, and among children at every age below 10, whites are already a minority. Related Opinion We want to hear what you THINK. Please submit a letter to the editor.
But this is only part of the story. The simultaneous development in the religious landscape the one that is turbocharging these trends is the exodus of young people from white Christian churches and into the ranks of the nones, the growing number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation.
As recently as the 1990s, the percentage of religiously unaffiliated Americans was in single digits. That number increased to 19 percent by 2010 and rose another 7 percentage points over the last decade to 26 percent today.
The explosive growth of religiously unaffiliated Americans is primarily driven by white Christians; African American Protestants and the relatively small block of non-Christian religious groups (e.g., Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus) are largely holding steady as a proportion of the population, while Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander and other nonwhite Christian groups are generally growing.
The reasons for these departures from white Christian churches are complex, but many are rooted in the way that culture war politics played out over the last few decades of the 20th century. As white Christian millennials were coming of age, the rise of the Christian Right meant that the public faces of Christianity, and even religion overall, were a cadre of white male religious leaders who were almost exclusively supporting conservative Republican political candidates and who had opposing LGBTQ rights at the top of their agenda. Related Opinion Why Jewish parents need to concede defeat on Christmas
These commitments were an exceptionally challenging fit for a cosmopolitan cohort that leans progressive and for whom affirming LGBTQ rights is a near-consensus issue. For example, among Americans under the age of 30, only 18 percent identify as conservative while 75 percent support same-sex marriage.
Because throngs of their young people are heading for the church exits, white Christians are also graying as they are shrinking. Today, the median age of white Christians (55 years old) is 7 years older than the general population (48 years old) and 17 years older than religiously unaffiliated Americans (38 years old). Related Opinion America might be divided now, but we've overcome much worse (and can again)
The white Christian populations anxieties about the future as they lose traction in the present have created a nostalgia for the past that has fueled support for Trumps Make America Great Again agenda, and not just among white evangelicals. Solid majorities of each white Christian subgroup voted for Trump in 2016 and, in the Public Religion Research Institutes most recent American Values Survey, nearly 9 in 10 (88 percent) white evangelicals and approximately two-thirds of both white mainline Protestants (68 percent) and white Catholics (65 percent) oppose impeaching and removing him from office. Recommended Congress Rep. John Lewis to undergo treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer Opinion Health care in America is dysfunctional but its lack of transparency is downright dangerous
White Christian Americas attraction to Trump has little to do with his personality or character a slim majority (52 percent) of white evangelicals, for example, say they wish his speech and behavior were more like previous presidents and everything to do with something more important: their belief that making America great again necessarily entails restoring white Christian demographic and political dominance.
One PRRI survey question right before the 2016 election made the power of this nostalgia especially clear: Since the 1950s, do you think American culture and way of life has changed for the better, or has it mostly changed for the worse? Americans are divided nearly equally on this question, with 48 percent saying things have changed for the better and 51 percent for the worse. But solid majorities of white Christian groups 57 percent of white Catholics, 59 percent of white mainline Protestants and fully 74 percent of white evangelical Protestants believe things have changed for the worse. Among religiously unaffiliated Americans, nearly two thirds (66 percent) say things have changed for the better.
From the perspective of a healthy democratic society, one of the most alarming developments is that these trends have been compounding the political polarization in the country. Despite the demographic changes of the last decade, Republicans remain 72 percent white and Christian, three times the percentage of Democrats. And only 9 percent of Republicans are religiously unaffiliated, compared to 29 percent of Democrats.
This demographic and cultural sorting means that our partisan conflicts are increasingly driven not just by political disagreement but by entire worldviews.
This demographic and cultural sorting means that our partisan conflicts are increasingly driven not just by political disagreement but by entire worldviews that are rooted in religious, racial and generational values and identities. This arrangement leaves us ill-equipped to deal with a past that cannot be resurrected and to build a new, pluralistic future together.
Psychologists sometimes talk about the teen years as a period of temporary insanity. Adolescents, hurtling forward toward an unknown destination at unaccustomed speed, often assume high risks for short-term rewards and double-down on ill-conceived decisions. The teen years of the 21st century, with their massive demographic and religious changes, have produced much in our culture and politics that fit that description. Heres hoping that the upcoming decade may find us able to accept and even embrace a future that while different from our past is already and inevitably well on its way.
NBC “News” is Evil.
Comcast cable (NBC) - God is dead
God - cord cuttin
Always looking to divide and sow division....
The real cancer in and of this country comes straight from libtard progressives and their libtard progressive fake news and propaganda outlets.
When I first identified this shift mid-decade in my 2016 book The End of White Christian America,
So, this guy is a self-admitted racist?
NBC has been right up front in the crusade to destroy everything, good, moral and virtuous in America, why aren’t they taking credit??
If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first”.
How long did it take him to write that book?
Did he identify this trend in 2014 and seek to prove it by 2016 and declare it correct in 2020?
Sounds like he had something to prove rather than something to observe.
Robert P. Jones is the CEO and Founder of PRRI and a leading scholar and commentator on religion, culture, and politics. He is the author of the forthcoming book, White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity, and The End of White Christian America, which won the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Jones writes a column for The Atlantic online on politics and culture and is frequently featured in major national media such as MSNBC, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others. Jones serves on the national program committee for the American Academy of Religion and is a past member of the editorial boards for the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and Politics and Religion, a journal of the American Political Science Association. He holds a Ph.D. in religion from Emory University, a M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a B.S. in computing science and mathematics from Mississippi College. Jones was selected by Emory Universitys Graduate Division of Religion as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 2013, and by Mississippi Colleges Mathematics Department as Alumnus of the Year in 2016.
Before founding PRRI, Jones worked as a consultant and senior research fellow at several think tanks in Washington, D.C., and was an assistant professor of religious studies at Missouri State University.
White TOO long.
Ask him how long was sufficient for “white”?
And P.S....Islam is NOT a religion.
The USA is no longer a country. It is an empire. And just like Yugoslavia, the empire will collapse. The balkanization of America will be the death of the left.
If White Christian America has ended, so has America, the dream of NBC.
The lesson kids is to ignore the medias analysis of society and politics. Pay attention only to hard news and form your own opinions.
The brutal oppression of Christianity is the core goal of Democrats.
“After more than two centuries of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance, the United States has moved from being a majority-white Christian nation to one with no single racial and religious majority”
Dominance? So, a self defined nation is “dominant” but no longer...as if the United States were a place, not a people.
So when the land mass labeled “US” on maps becomes populated primarily by hispano-asian ethnics with a black african minority, what will it be like? Will still-white Russia worry about a polyglot tower of babel, unable to field a significant force? More importantly, will Chinese Commu-fascists fear anything about them?
We all know the answer: the “fundamental transformation” that Obama and the Rat party wanted will have done what they wanted...made the country into Brazil with nukes.
And who will own and control those arms? Why the sons of Mexico and China of course, not anyone whose ancestors fought in some tiny war in 1776.
And that, folks, is what this is all about. They wanted our power, and they realized we were vulnerable to invasion by immigration. So they did...
With a Masters in Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mr. Jones was himself an “American white Christian” until he embraced the dark side. Formerly religious agnostics are the antithesis of St.Paul. Their life mission is to disparage and destroy what they once embraced.
Read the details of the article. If white non-Hispanics have declined in actual numbers (not just proportionally) in the U.S., then theres no dark conspiracy at work here. Weve earned this decline on merit.
“From the perspective of a healthy democratic society, one of the most alarming developments is that these trends have been compounding the political polarization in the country”
And one more thing...he says its alarming that the Americans don’t like the astonishing and un-democratic changes that have taken over their society.
Translation: we need the government to compel acquiescence right now. Either “embrace” Pancho Villa’s cousin as “American as me” or else suffer the consequence.
Question for Jones: when did we vote to become a minority in our land?