Are White Evangelicals Sacrificing The Future In Search Of The Past?

In 2016, white evangelical Protestants strongly supported Donald Trump, a septuagenarian candidate who promised to make America great again, to bring back “Merry Christmas” and to protect, cherish and defend America’s Christian heritage. White evangelicals have consistently told pollsters that life in the U.S. has gotten worse since the 1950s. Nostalgia seems to be animating much of white evangelical politics.

But in longing for an American past, white evangelical Protestants1 may be neglecting their future. As a group, they’re drifting further away — politically and culturally — from the American mainstream. There are growing signs that white evangelical Protestantism is no longer immune to the broader social and cultural forces that are reshaping the American religious landscape.

In the aftermath of the 1960s, scholars began to note that while more liberal mainline Christian churches appeared to be shedding members, conservative and more traditionally minded churches were unaffected. In 1972, sociologist Dean Kelley published the study “Why Conservative Churches are Growing,” arguing that evangelical churches were prospering because they placed greater demands on their members. Subsequent research published decades later appeared to support this claim. Conservative churches that offered a rigorous theology were thriving, arguably because of it.

It’s a narrative that has gained widespread acceptance and has tremendous staying power. Shortly after the Broadway hit “The Book of Mormon” was released, David Brooks, for example, argued that strict observance to a consistent theology is essential for the vitality of religious communities. “The religions that grow, succor and motivate people to perform heroic acts of service are usually theologically rigorous, arduous in practice and definite in their convictions about what is True and False.”

Over the past couple of decades, though, Americans have become far more accepting on nearly every issue that fits under the rubric of sexual morality. Today, most Americans say same-sex relationships, premarital sex and having children out of wedlock are morally acceptable. And roughly three-quarters of the public has no moral qualms about divorce.

Comments

Privacy Policy

Are White Evangelicals Sacrificing The Future In Search Of The Past? is dedicated to protecting consumer privacy on the Internet. Our practices are consistent with privacy guidelines established by eTrust.com.

Are White Evangelicals Sacrificing The Future In Search Of The Past? does not require any personal information to obtain access to our website.

Are White Evangelicals Sacrificing The Future In Search Of The Past? does require limited personal information including name and mailing address from individuals wishing to join as members. Additional information such as e-mail address and phone number may also be requested in order that we may contact members in a timely manner on issues related to our mission.

You will only receive e-mail from us if you request to be added to our e-mail list. You may revise or remove your e-mail address from our files at any time.

Are White Evangelicals Sacrificing The Future In Search Of The Past? uses "cookie" technology to obtain non-personal information from our online visitors, such as browser/computer type, number of visitors, and site usage. We do not use cookies to extract personal information.

Our website contains links to other sites, but Are White Evangelicals Sacrificing The Future In Search Of The Past? does not necessarily advocate, support or condone the privacy practices or content of these websites.

Are White Evangelicals Sacrificing The Future In Search Of The Past? makes all information received from our online visitors as secure as possible against unauthorized access and use. All information is protected by state-of-the-art security technology.

Are White Evangelicals Sacrificing The Future In Search Of The Past? respects the individual privacy rights and concerns of visitors to our website. We support meaningful self-regulation of the Internet to ensure that responsible organizations maintain the right to use all communications media to interact with the public.