Study Finds White Evangelicals Oppose Religious Diversity

A 2021 survey published on November 1, by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) revealed the extreme opposition that the majority of Evangelicals have towards religious diversity. The 2021 American Values Survey conducted by the PRRI from September 16 to 29, 2021, included 2,508 American respondents. The survey's result showed a growing number of Americans, both religious and non-religious, support religious diversity.

Only 24% of all survey respondents prefer the US to be a nation primarily made up of people who follow the Christian faith. At the same time, both those who prefer religious diversity and those who are uncertain are tied at 38%. 

An analysis of religious subgroups shows a stunning 57% of White Evangelical Protestants disapprove of religious diversity. Only 13% support religious diversity, while the remaining 30% in the middle are uncertain.

The closest religious subgroup that hold a similar view are Black Protestants with 33% not supporting religious diversity, while 31% support religious diversity.

But the evangelical protestants seem to be an outlier. Robert Jones, PRRI's CEO, said that "there is really more going on than politics." "One relatively small but powerful group is willing to live in a mostly Christian country. Everybody else is somewhere quite different," he added. 

The survey also revealed that the White Evangelical religious subgroups are outliers in religious diversity and other social dimensions covered in the study. In immigration, different religious subgroups, including non-Christians, has upwards of 50% of support allowing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the US.

Only 47% of the White Evangelicals support a path to citizenship, with 42% wanting to see undocumented immigrants deported to their country of origin.

Other social dimensions where White Evangelicals are outliers include believing that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and believing in the QAnon conspiracy theory. They are also the religious subgroups that believe violence is a valid resort for American patriots to save their country. Jones said that the other Christian groups share the same political partisan views as White Evangelicals. "But they accept the results of the election, and they don't believe we should resort to violence," he added.

Gerardo Marti, author and a professor of sociology in North Carolina's Davidson College, said White Evangelicals are incredibly consistent in their views. Marti added that they have a way of talking to each other that "reinforces a cultural identity that becomes unquestioned."

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