Most White Christian nationalists — many of whom are Evangelicals — probably haven’t seen or heard of the PRRI 2022 Census of American Religion, conducted by the group formally known as the Public Religion Research Group. The survey reveals that White Christians have dropped from 54% in 2008, to 47% in 2014, and 42% last year.
PRRI conducted a survey of 40,000 Americans to see how they’d describe their own religious leanings. Its president, Robert Jones, predicted the upcoming demise of Evangelicalism in his 2016 book The End of White Christian America, saying:
Although examiners have not been able to pinpoint the exact time of death, the best evidence suggests that WCA [White Christian America] finally succumbed in the latter part of the first decade of the twenty-first century. The cause of death was determined to be a combination of environmental and internal factors — complications stemming from major demographic changes in the country, along with religious disaffiliation as many of its younger members began to doubt WCA’s continued relevance in a shifting cultural environment.
Since the news of the decline wasn’t announced at either place where White Christian nationalists worship — the pulpit at their church or on Fox News — it’s unlikely they know that exact number. But White Christian nationalists know they’re shrinking.
Why else would they be ranting about trans kids, Twitter, godless universities, the long-settled issue of gay marriage, birth control, Hollywood, kindness, Dr. Seuss, the endangerment to their gas stoves, and Mr. Potato Head? You’d think their shrinking numbers would cause them to look inward, to examine what they’re doing to turn off their own children from religion. (Nearly 40% percent of those aged 18 to 29 regard themselves as “religiously unaffiliated.”) But the hubris is too great. As Jones put it: “White Christian subgroups have each lost approximately half their market share just across the generations who are alive today.” But no, no, no, they’re not about to blame themselves.
You see, it’s everyone else’s fault: The media. Big government. Libraries. Muslims. Book publishers. People who practice other religions. Atheists. Newspapers. BLM. Black people in general. Brown people. Asian people, based on a Wuhan conspiracy theory. Single moms. The tech sector. Blue cities. Blue states. Blue cities in Red states. Big Pharma. Gun control. The NFL. “Woke” corporations. Sneaker manufacturers. Rap music. Green energy. Pollution controls. English literature majors. History majors. Scientists. Poor people. Homeless people. Immigrants, whether undocumented or not. Hollywood, always Hollywood. Godless, integrated public schools with their kindness to trans and gay kids, the schools’ imaginary CRT, and true dedication to equity. (How did any Christian decide fairness was bad? Maybe they should check out the Book that says there are neither Jews nor Gentiles, men or women, slave or free — all should be treated equally.)
Even Dr. Fauci, vaccines, and mask mandates somehow are decimating their numbers, although you’d think they’d figured out by now that mask mandates are done with and that maybe not wearing a mask might have something to do with their losses.
So much of it makes no sense, so much is contradictory. How do you support parents’ rights to ban anything they don’t like at school for everyone’s children and to make death threats against elected officials, but not to make health-care decisions for their own children? But the adrenaline pumping into these desperate brains does not inspire brilliant thinking.
Yes, it surprised me in 2016 when this group — lacking self-awareness or love, but brimming with excuses — gravitated to Donald Trump, the master of the particular game of shifting blame to everyone but himself.
But it shouldn’t have. It was the logical outcome of where they had been headed for decades: from pursuing love to pursuing power, and blaming everyone else for it.