Survey: White Christians Now Minority in United States

White Christians are a declining minority of the increasingly diverse United States, claims a new survey funded, drafted and promoted by progressive groups.

White Christians comprise 73 percent of the Republican Party, but only 29 percent of the Democratic Party, says the survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), which is headed by Robert P. Jones, author of The End of White Christian America.

A press release from PRRI says the survey was made possible “by generous grants from The Ford Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, The Gill Foundation, and The Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock.”

The Gill Foundation, for example, was founded by LGBT activist Tim Gill and its goal is to “advance equality for LGBT Americans, further faster.”

The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund supports amnesty for illegal immigrants.

The Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program supports social justice activism, amnesty, climate “justice,” abortion rights, and abortion industry giant Planned Parenthood.

Jones himself is calling for more criticism of Christian groups because of their claimed history of white supremacy.

A recent guest on a CNN podcast titled “Explaining Charlottesville: Did the Media Paint the Whole Picture?” Jones said he saw the recent events at Charlottesville as another example of “white backlash” against attempts at racial desegregation, similar to the Jim Crow era and the immediate years after the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling that led to desegregation in public schools. He said these periods saw the erection of Confederate statues that whites used to “mark territory.”

Jones continued:

What I see is kind of three moments … that are about kind of progress on racial integration, white backlash, and they involve these kind of marking a territory – literal marking a territory – and we’re in kind of a third moment here when we’re at a place where the demographics shifted in the country so that, even though there’s a considerable amount of power still there, the demographics are such that white Protestants, and even all white Christians together, can no longer claim to be the majority of Americans.

Jones said another example of “marking territory” occurred in the 1950s when the words “under God” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance, an addition, he says, that was in response to the rise and fear of communism.

“We have a tendency in this country to mark territory, to erect symbols, to shift our language when we feel threatened, I think, and I think that’s part of our nation’s history,” he said. “But then what happens is this kind of magical thinking that rewrites that all the way back to the Founding Fathers or all the way back to the beginning of the country when, in fact, these are fairly recent and kind of understandable phenomena to big moments of social upheaval.”

Asked what he thought might be missing from the reporting on the events in Charlottesville and their aftermath, Jones said that many churches have been complicit in racism. He stated even churches that are attempting today to be “on the right side of history” still “haven’t fully grappled with their own complicity in their own church’s history, in their own denominational history … I’d love to see a little more digging in to that angle because it really was wrapped up in protection of the white Protestant America.”

The PRRI survey claims to reveal “seismic shifts” in the American religious landscape over the past several decades, and focuses primarily on the “declining dominance of white Christian groups.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, however, tells Breitbart News, “Christianity is not about color but about the cross which transforms all who bow before it.”

“As people truly follow the teachings of Christ and their lives are shaped and guided by the truths of Scripture, ethnic and cultural preferences are eclipsed,” he adds. “The color of the country’s Christianity is far less important in shaping the future than the Church’s fidelity to the Scripture.”

Results of the survey were based on 101,438 bilingual telephone interviews (including 60,355 cell phone interviews) conducted between January 6, 2016 and January 10, 2017.

Among the findings is that the percentage of white Christian groups in the nation accounts for fewer than half the public, and that the number of religiously unaffiliated individuals (24 percent) has risen dramatically.

According to the survey, only 43 percent of Americans identify as white Christians today, and only 30 percent as white Protestants. This contrasts with the eight in ten, or 81 percent, of Americans who identified as white Christians in 1976, and the 55 percent who said they were white Protestants.

The survey states that only 17 percent of Americans identify today as white evangelical Protestants, in contrast to the 23 percent who said the same in 2006. Over the same period, Americans identifying as white Catholics dropped five percentage points from 16 to 11 percent, while white mainline Protestants decreased from 18 to 13 percent.

The results find those who claim to be Catholic in America are increasingly Hispanic. In 1991, 87 percent of Catholics were white, non-Hispanic while 55 percent identify the same today. Only 36 percent of Catholics under 30 years old are white non-Hispanic, compared to 52 percent who identify as Hispanic.

The survey also finds the Northeast is no longer the center of the American Catholic Church, though Rhode Island is still the most Catholic state in the country at 41 percent of the public.

According to PRRI:

Immigration from predominantly Catholic countries in Latin America means new Catholic populations are settling in the Southwest. In 1972, roughly seven in ten Catholics lived in either the Northeast (41%) or the Midwest (28%). Only about one-third of Catholics lived in the South (13%) or West (18%). Today, a majority of Catholics now reside in the South (29%) or West (25%). Currently, only about one-quarter (26%) of the U.S. Catholic population lives in the Northeast, and 20% live in the Midwest.

The PRRI survey results find that those who identify as religiously unaffiliated, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist are younger than those who say they are white Christian:

At least one-third of Muslims (42%), Hindus (36%), and Buddhists (35%) are under the age of 30. Roughly one-third (34%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans are also under 30. In contrast, slightly more than one in ten white Catholics (11%), white evangelical Protestants (11%), and white mainline Protestants (14%) are under 30. Slightly more than one in ten white Catholics (11%), white evangelical Protestants (11%), and white mainline Protestants (14%) are under 30. Approximately six in ten white evangelical Protestants (62%), white Catholics (62%), and white mainline Protestants (59%) are at least 50 years old.

Most of those Americans who identify as religiously unaffiliated are secular and not atheist or agnostic, says the survey. In addition, the religiously unaffiliated tend to be concentrated in the western states and in a couple of New England states.

“Atheists and agnostics account for only about one-quarter (27%) of all religiously unaffiliated Americans,” states PRRI. “Nearly six in ten (58%) religiously unaffiliated Americans identify as secular, someone who is not religious; 16% of religiously unaffiliated Americans nonetheless report that they identify as a ‘religious person.’”

The survey finds that some 46 percent of Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are religiously unaffiliated – about twice the number of Americans overall (24 percent) who are religiously unaffiliated.

Among Democrats, white Christians have become a minority (29 percent), compared to 50 percent in 2006. Some 40 percent of young Democrats – age 18 to 29 – identify as religiously unaffiliated, according to the survey.

For Republicans, white evangelical Protestants comprise 35 percent of those who identify with the GOP, says PRRI. Some 73 percent of Republicans are white individuals who say they are members of a Christian religious group.

“This report provides solid evidence of a new, second wave of white Christian decline that is occurring among white evangelical Protestants just over the last decade in the U.S.,” says Jones.

“Prior to 2008, white evangelical Protestants seemed to be exempt from the waves of demographic change and disaffiliation that were eroding the membership bases of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics,” he adds. “We now see that these waves simply crested later for white evangelical Protestants.”


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