The United States is not a Christian country anymore.


That’s according to 59 percent of white evangelical Protestants recently surveyed by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Brookings Institution. And that number has jumped 11 points in just four years, from 48 percent in 2012.

Evangelicals’ growing conviction that the U.S. is losing its Christian identity, and that the country now is headed in the wrong direction, comes as politicians debate immigration and cultural change during the 2016 election season.


While a strong majority of white evangelical Protestants agree that the U.S. has lost its Christian identity, Americans overall are split on the question — 41 percent say it was Christian and remains so, and 42 percent say it was in the past but is no longer. Relatively few (15 percent) say America never has been a Christian nation.

The white evangelical Protestant community feels its cultural dominance in America has been lost, said Henry Olsen, senior fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center, who attended the press conference.

It certainly doesn’t feel that way to me.

“Over the last four years a growing number are seeing that it’s lost irretrievably,” he said. “That has massive implications for our politics going down the road.”

Americans also are split on whether American culture and the country’s way of life have mostly changed for the better (49 percent) or worse (50 percent) since the 1950s.

And, the PRRI/Brookings report said, “no group of Americans is more nostalgic about the 1950s than white evangelical Protestants,” with 70 percent saying the country has changed for the worse. Americans also split politically on the question: 68 percent of Republicans agree things have gotten worse, while nearly the same share of Democrats (66 percent) say times are better.

Oh, that 1950s nostalgia, for an America that never was. Nothing screams racist white privilege quite like 1950s love.

But Americans agree the country is moving in the wrong direction — a belief that crosses the political divide and has inched up from 65 percent in 2011 to 72 percent. And most (57 percent) believe they should fight for their values, even if they are at odds with the law and changing culture.

That’s fairly obvious, with all the current hysteria over anti-bigotry legislation.

There’s more at RNS. The PRRI survey.


  1. grumpyoldfart says

    Christians have always thought they were living in the end times. Back in the “good old days” of the 1950s, they were utterly convinced that rock’n’roll music was destroying the country by turning teenagers into juvenile delinquents. Here, for example is the Reverend Jimmy Snow preaching against the evils of rock’n’roll in about 1956:

    In fact it got so bad that Frankie Lymon tried to overcome the bad publicity by recording a song in which he declared, “I’m Not a Juvenile Delinquent”.

  2. Johnny Vector says

    The white evangelical Protestant community feels its cultural dominance in America has been lost…

    Probably on account of how all the Christians have been moved onto reservations, I expect. Plus the appropriation of their identities and sacred traditions as team mascots. “Washington Televangelists,” really. So offensive. Hell, it’s practically a modern genocide!

    “Well, hello there, colorful replica of America’s past! When is the exciting in its primitive splendor snake-handling going to take place?” (I’m sure is what Firesign Theatre would say nowadays.)

  3. Siobhan says

    Evangelicals’ growing conviction that the U.S. is losing its Christian identity

    Translation: “People who are smarter than me tell me it’s bad to bully the Queers.”

  4. says

    It never has been a Christian country. According to a treaty proposed by George Washington, ratified by a Senate comprised largely of constitutional framers and Revolutionary War veterans, and signed by John Adams,

    Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…. — Treaty of Tripoli

    The United States is no longer a Christian majority, but it has never been a “Christian country” no matter what revisions so desperately want to believe.

  5. Johnny Vector says


    I’d watch that.

    In case you or anyone reading is not familiar with Firesign, they are definitely worth a listen. Which you can do for free, and apparently legally, right here, friends!.

    That link goes to “Temporarily Humboldt County”, from their first album, whence cometh the quote I adjusted above. (The original phrase was “Snake Dance”. The linked bit is particularly heavy on political satire.)

  6. Johnny Vector says

    Of course you have! My first reading of your response was that you didn’t know them, but that seemed unlikely. But I figure someone here hasn’t yet. And THC is one of the bits I can almost do entirely from memory. So I posted the link anyway.

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve been listening to Firesign for decades.

    They were big during my college days.

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