Monday, 20 November, 2017

PRRI Releases Largest Survey of American Religious and Denominational Identity Ever Conducted

People gathered for Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Victoria Texas Olivia Vanni The Victoria Advocate via Associated Press People gathered for Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Victoria Texas
Christy Curtis | 08 September, 2017, 01:45

The PRRI's director of research, Daniel Cox said: 'The young are much less likely to believe this is a "Christian nation" or to give preference to Christian identity.

Another sharp decline highlighted by the report is that only 17 percent of Americans identify as white evangelical Protestants.

A new poll has, for the first time, shown Americans who identify themselves as Christians and who are white, to be a minority.

"Prior to 2008, white evangelical Protestants seemed to be exempt from the waves of demographic change and disaffiliation that were eroding the membership bases of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics", he said.

"What we've really seen over the last decade or more is that the Republican Party is becoming the white Christian party". In 20 US states, the "nones" have formed the majority.

Less than half of the US population identifies as white Christians, and political parties draw hard lines for and against religion, according to a poll released Wednesday. Approximately 10 percent of mainline protestants, Catholics and evangelicals are below 30 years of age.

More evidence that America's future is less white and less Christian: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and the religiously unaffiliated are all far younger than white Christian groups. Nearly a quarter of all Americans, meanwhile, don't identify with any religion.

In the Republicans meanwhile, white evangelicals remain predominant, with more than one-third (35 per cent) of GOP supporters being white evangelicals. These states tend to be more concentrated in the Western U.S., although they include a couple of New England states, as well.

The Public Religion Research Institute has released findings from its largest ever survey of Americans religious and denominational affiliations, reporting that white evangelicals continue to decline as a share of the total population. Fewer than four in ten (36%) Catholics under the age of 30 are white, non-Hispanic; 52% are Hispanic. "In direct contrast, one out of three "strong Democrats" say that conservative Christians hold inferior values".

One item in the study indicates that those who profess a Christian faith tend toward political conservatism.

Rabbi Denise Eger, founding rabbi of the Kol Ami synagogue in West Hollywood and an LGBT activist, said the high numbers of unaffiliated LGBT persons should surprise no one.

The survey also shows that white Christians are a minority in the Democratic Party: fewer than one in three Democrats are white Christians, down from nearly half 10 years ago. Hispanic Catholics are more evenly distributed, with five percent of the L.G.B.T. community identifying as Hispanic Catholic, compared to 7 percent overall.

The report also takes a closer look at states, in which it says there are 20 states where no religious group owns a greater share than the religiously unaffiliated.

MS is the most homogeneous state in terms of religion (60 percent are Baptist) while NY is the most religiously diverse.

"The result of the survey.in America and Europe is not particularly surprising", said Paige Patterson, a participant during the 1990s in a five-year theological dialogue between eight Southern Baptist leaders and eight representatives of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

'We need to begin asking people, "How do you make meaning in your life? How do you cultivate a sense of wonder?'" she said.

'It is fully possible to answer these questions from a secular perspective, and if we asked them, we might be able to see abundantly fruitful connections among people who are religiously affiliated, religiously unaffiliated, secular, agnostic and atheist'.

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