Christian Post on new Values Survey
PRRI, a major survey research group, just came out with its 9thValues Survey. This is an omnibus survey that covers a wide variety of topics. The Christian Post (CP), an evangelical newspaper, covered it as follows: “Most White Evangelicals Say Immigration, Increasing Racial Diversity Harms America.” This piece is about CP’s article. I hope to say more about PRRI’s survey in the future.
CP was only concerned with results that highlighted the uniqueness/deviance of evangelicals: “The research shows that white evangelical Protestants are at odds with all other identified religious groups on many questions relating to immigration, race, the #MeToo movement and President Donald Trump.”
CP starts off by highlighting the fact that only evangelicals like Trump – and they do so overwhelmingly . Nearly 70% of evangelicals hold favorable views of Trump (and this PRRI estimate is lower than many I’ve seen). On the other hand, “80 percent of black Protestants, 75 percent of religiously unaffiliated, 74 percent of Hispanic Catholics, 73 percent of non-Christian religious Americans, 52 percent of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics hold a negative opinion of Trump.” Note how they highlight minority groups, who evangelicals tend to despise – later in the survey, ecangelicals say that minorities are hurting America. CP doesn’t even differentiate white mainline Protestants from Catholics – to hell with all of them!
CP omits many results on race. They highlight a forecast that by 2045, the U.S. will become minority white. PRRI asked Americans whether they felt this was “positive” or “negative” – good or bad. “The majority of all major religious demographics surveyed said they see the realignment as positive thing except for white evangelicals.” 54% of evangelicals thought this was bad for America. “51 percent of white Catholics and white mainline Protestants see the trend as mostly positive.” (Notice that CP doesn’t include Jews with white folks.) Needless to say all those colored folk who are dragging the country down think it’s a good thing: “81 percent of Hispanic Catholics, 80 percent of black Protestants … see the trend as mostly positive.”
“When asked about the growing number of ‘newcomers’ to the United States, white evangelicals (57 percent) were the only major religious group to have a majority say that immigrants ‘threaten traditional American customs and values.’” While CP is silent on the subject, this demonstrates that white evangelicals have very little idea of ‘traditional American customs and values.’ They simply apply this label to things they like. In fact, traditionally America was viewed as the great melting-pot. America managed to isolate the best parts of various races and ethnicities, and combine them into a new breed of “Americans.” This traditional myth has been forgotten. So has the tradition – a true one, not a myth – that America is the land of opportunity.
I want to note a bit of history that is almost never mentioned, especially in connection with Trump, Fox News, and others calling immigrants rapists, murderers, and general undesirables. These “conservatives” usually want to roll back the clock to make America the way the founding fathers designed it. But the founding fathers had open borders. Anyone could come to America and become a citizen. Only in the 1920s, did white Protestants – especially the KKK, which was very powerful at the time – introduce immigration laws in order to keep out Catholics and Jews. (Since they couldn’t get away with discriminating on the basis of religion, they used geographic proxies. Keep Southern Europeans out, since they were Catholics. Same with Irish. Keep Eastern Europeans out, since they were either Jewish or Catholic. But let in Brits and Northern Europeans, since they were WASPs.)
CP also notes that “white evangelicals were the group least likely to oppose a policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.” Just the Christian thing to do!
Note that CP never comments on these results, though they normally editorialize news articles. But they did include a quote from Professor Janelle Wong: “The real key to understanding white evangelicals is through their anti-immigrant attitudes and fear of demographic change… It is really this potent mix of nativism and racial anxiety and white Christian nationalism that underlines many of the other policy attitudes that you see presented in this report.” CP’s reporter, Samuel Smith, has preserved his basic decency. That’s more than you can say for most evangelicals.