We would certainly not suggest that all white Christians support Trump.   However, the facts reveal very serious problems.   Indeed, it could be said that white Christianity is in the middle of its greatest crisis since the Civil War.  On the larger scale of history we see a return to violent  intolerance to other religions and sexual practices and hostility to science that have been all too common in Christian history since Christians seized power in the Roman Empire.

The difference in America today is that white Christianity is for the first time losing its grip on power.   Thus, today's crisis opens up unprecedented opportunities for revolutionary religious changes in America.

Today, about 80% of white Evangelicals (Pew Research) voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. About 80% of white Evangelicals strongly approve of Trump's job performance. (Pew Research). The results of Pew Research's surveys also show that Trump had the majority of white Protestant and Catholic support.

Yet the Trump Administration is dangerous to life itself. This is a party that pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. This is a party that has made tireless attempts to destroy the Affordable Care Act (which would take away healthcare from 20 million people), roll back protections for women and LGBT minorities, embolden the KKK, and is pushing for reprivatization of prisons and harsher drug sentences.

Why is there so much white Christian support for Trump? It could be because they are a declining demographic, and are fearful of the reality this brings.

In his book, The End of White Christian America, Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, spells out the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality — that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation.

From Barack Obama's elections in 2008 and 2012, to today, America has transformed from being a majority white Christian nation (54 percent) to a minority white Christian nation in 2016 (43 percent).

For most of America's history as a nation, white Christians were the majority, specifically, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Historically, white Christians set the tone for national policy and American ideals. But since the 1990s, white Christians steadily lost influence, following declines in both its mainline and evangelical branches.

In his book, Jones says 100 years ago, if you were a leader in industry or government, chances were you were a white Protestant male. Today, no such assumptions can be drawn.

Jones' book draws on more than four decades of polling data and analyzes the waning vitality of white Christians. Jones argues that today's political climate can be understood against the backdrop of white Christian anxieties as America's racial and religious topography shifts around them.

In Chapter 2, Jones gets into the numbers. "This generational snapshot uncovers a striking finding: today, young adults (ages 18-29) are less than half as likely to be white Christians as seniors (age 65 and older)...Nearly seven in ten (67 percent) American seniors are white Christians, compared to fewer than three in ten (29 percent) young adults."

Jones goes on to discuss how one of the great failures of the Romney campaign in 2012 was that they thought the electorate would look more white than it actually was.

Even though Jones book was written before the election of President Donald Trump, it does spell out the white Christian anxiety that helps to explain Donald Trump's success among this demographic. On Election Day, this anxious minority swarmed the polls to elect as president the candidate who promised to “make America great again” and warned that he was its “last chance” to turn back the tide of cultural and economic change.

Why is this demographic in decline? Part of this is the growth of other racial and religious groups in America. However, this cannot explain all of it. A large number of Americas (as much as 24%) are religiously unaffiliated. And a large number of whites, especially the young, are going into this unaffiliated group in increasing numbers. Among Americans between 18-29, 38% are unaffiliated. And about 25% of all white non-hispanic Americans are religiously unaffiliated.

As mentioned above, this decline started becoming noticeable in the 90s. In the 1980s, the number of religiously unaffiliated was below 10%, whereas now it has grown to quarter of all Americans.

Image Source PRRI: America's Changing Religious Identity

The 1980's was when the grand realignment of the Republican Party happened under President Reagan, and there was the development of the "Religious Right." What may surprise many Americans is that the views of Protestants and Evangelicals before then were different on many major issues (such as birth control).

When Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973, a majority of Evangelical leaders said nothing about it. Indeed at that time, most Evangelicals were in favor of some form of limited abortion rights. W. Barry Garrett of the Baptist Press wrote, "Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision."

What actually brought the Religious Right together was the defense of segregation in white academies in the South (Racist Roots of Religious Right). Paul M. Weyrich, a longtime conservative activist, head of what is now called the Free Congress Foundation, was one of the architects of the Religious Right in the late 1970s. Before then, he had failed to galvanize the evangelical base on several issues. Weyrich has said, "I was trying to get those people interested in those issues and I utterly failed," he recalled in an interview in the early 1990s. "Yet the issue that finally galvanized these people was Jimmy Carter's intervention against Christian schools, and trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the basis of so-called de facto segregation."

Since then, the Religious Right has formed a political partnership with the Republican Party, and has created a political bloc in America that is vocal against abortion, women's rights, gay rights, environmental regulation, and government aid to the poor.

This has produced a good deal of sexual hypocrisy. For example, there is the "Nashville Statement," where a nationwide coalition of 153 evangelical Christian leaders released a statement affirming their beliefs on restricting human sexuality, controlling women's bodies, open bigotry against homosexuals and the condemnation of all sex outside of marriage. Yet while leaders of the Religious Right speak out against homosexual and anal sex, the Bible Belt leads the nation in the consumption of homosexual porn (Patheos). With porn in general, conservatives are the largest consumers (ABC NEWS).

Since the Reagan Era, America has seen a boom in the prison industry as well as the unsuccessful "War on Drugs," which has not decreased the amount of drug usage, but has increased the number of people in prison.

In short, the Religious Right as a political force has presided over one disaster after the other. They have supported ideas that are harmful to life itself, and dangerous to the poor. Many Americans are becoming disillusioned with negative aspects of Right-Wing Christianity, in light of their homophobic, misogynistic and racist rhetoric, and are abandoning religion altogether.

As time goes on, and as the number of white Christians drops, it is very possible they will cease to set the terms of the nation's values, morals and politics in the future to come.


percentage drop white christian

Image Source PRRI: America's Changing Religious Identity





Image Source PRRI: America's Changing Religious Identity



Image Source PRRI: America's Changing Religious Identity


Written by Robert P. Jones

Book | The End of White Christian America (Amazon)

America’s Changing Religious Identity Report (PRRI)

The Rage of White, Christian America (New York Times)


Book Reviews

Book review: 'The End of White Christian America' part I (National Catholic Reporter, 9-21-16)

The End of White Christian America (Simon and Schuster)


News Articles

We're at the end of white Christian America. What will that mean? (The Guardian, 9-20-17)

White Evangelicals Are Steadily Losing Both Followers and Political Clout (Mother Jones, 9-7-17)

All the ways Republicans want you dead (SFGate, 5-4-17)

White Christian America is dying (The Washington Post, 8-15-16)

The White Christian experiment is almost over (Meta Filter, 3-17-15)

White Christian America in Decline: Why Young People Are Sick of Conservative Religion (Alternet, 3-11-15)

White Christians Are No Longer The Majority In 19 States (Think Progress, 3-6-15)

Bible Belt leads the nation in consumption of gay porn (Patheos, 3-13-14)

Porn in the USA: Conservatives Are Biggest Consumers (ABC NEWS, 2-28-09)

The Original Coming Evangelical Collapse Posts (Internet Monk)



The End of White Christian America: Panel Discussion with Robert P. Jones (Brookings Institution)


Related World Future Fund Reports

Critical Commentary on Christianity

Troubling Quotes from the Bible

Religious Problems in Modern America

White Evangelism in Crisis

Racist Aspects of US Christianity

Racist Roots of Religious Right