Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Life among the white Protestants


Last week, Jennifer Rubin, a conservative Washington Post columnist but a confirmed "no-Trumper," used the findings of the Public Religion Research Institute to explain what some of us--me included--might well call Trump's super glue, whatever it is that bonds him and his loyalists. "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," he said right here at Dordt College. Amid falsehoods all around (Obama's wire-taps, size of inauguration crowds, three million illegal New Hampshires, etc., etc., etc.), that line was honest-to-goodness truth. 
White Christians, once the dominant religious group in the U.S., now account for fewer than half of all adults living in the country. Today, fewer than half of all states are majority white Christian. As recently as 2007, 39 states had majority white Christian populations. …
Today, only 43% of Americans identify as white and Christian, and only 30% as white and Protestant. In 1976, roughly eight in ten (81%) Americans identified as white and identified with a Christian denomination, and a majority (55%) were white Protestants.
Those are depressing stats for someone like me, white and Protestant. That me and my ilk are a rapidly becoming a minority is not news; discovering that the feeling isn't some personalized species of religious paranoia, however, makes me even more weary.

When I was a child, no institution was more formidable than the church. What it held--the keys to identifying sin and redemption--was vastly more important than politics. That it had so much authority wasn't necessarily a blessing. After all, a lot of horror and injustice was created by an institution with that much unchecked power. Regardless, that era is long gone--and with the church's power itself. My people and my institutions seem running out of steam.
No religious group is more closely tied to the Republican Party than white evangelical Protestants. Nearly half (49%) of white evangelical Protestants identify as Republican, about one-third (31%) are independent, and just 14% are Democratic. Mormons also lean heavily Republican, with more than four in ten (44%) identifying with the GOP, compared to 12% who are Democrats. White mainline Protestants (34% Republican, 26% Democrat) and white Catholics (34% Republican, 26% Democrat) also lean more toward the Republican Party.
Every other year, Sioux County gives Rep. Steve King ("calves like cantaloupes") another term. When people talk about statesmen in the House of Representatives, don't look for his name in the among 'em--except here. His positions on immigration place him well to the right of mean, even though here, a robust economy would fall flat on its face without a labor force heavily populated with immigrants. 

I've always assumed Sioux County religious folk vote for King and voted for Trump for a few reasons: 1) they want an end to abortion--that's a religious reason; 2) they are Republican--that's a political and familial reason. But could there be a third?  3) they are losing power to outsiders--and is that a racial reason? 

The new findings of the Public Religion Research Institute suggest, Rubin says, that the fawning adulation of President Trump (and Representative Steve King) by white Protestants may well be rooted just as deeply in race as it is in religion. 
White working-class voters who say they often feel like a stranger in their own land and who believe the U.S. needs protecting against foreign influence were 3.5 times more likely to favor Trump than those who did not share these concerns.
White working-class voters who favored deporting immigrants living in the country illegally were 3.3 times more likely to express a preference for Trump than those who did not.
As white Protestants watch their power diminish all around, even in Wal-Mart, is it a stretch to believe their voting patterns, here and elsewhere, have racial roots too? 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I've always assumed Sioux County religious folk vote for King and voted for Trump for a few reasons: 1) they want an end to abortion--that's a religious reason; 2) they are Republican--that's a political and familial reason. But could there be a third? 3) they are losing power to outsiders--and is that a racial reason?"

James, I think you are over-looking a BIG reason why folks voted for King and for Trump, MONEY. Religious folks do not like handing out their hard earned dollars to Iranians in a nuke-deal, free-loaders on welfare, Medicaid, free-hot lunch, free- health care, & free Obama phones etc. Watching looters in Florida drive up to shoe stores and sporting goods stores in BMW's lifting as many boxes of shoes as their arms can carry rubs conservative voters the wrong way. Buying votes by distributing bail-out money intended for shovel-ready jobs gives conservatives heart-burn...

I think you missed the boat on this one.

Jerry27 said...

Somewhere I read that a conservative wants to save money and a nationalist wants to save his race. The only ethno state permitted to exist the one calling itself "Israel." Since 30 percent of the population there calls themselves atheist I would assume their identity must be racial.

The Swiss writer Adrian Kreig thinks the reason Zionist are so committed to white genocide is because they are still bitter about what the Romans did to Jerusalem in 70AD.

https://centurean2.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/biography-adrian-h-krieg/

Trump may well represent token resistance as foreign corporations orchestrate a planet of race blind, gender blind, debtors.

thanks,
Jerry