Are Christian nationalists killing Christianity in the US?

A recent Gallup poll shows that the number of people who belong to a church, mosque or synagogue is dropping rapidly and that this may be due to a reaction to aggressive Christian nationalist politics. (Thanks to reader Jeff for then link.)

Just 47% of the US population are members of a church, mosque or synagogue, according to a survey by Gallup, down from 70% two decades ago – in part a result of millennials turning away from religion but also, experts say, a reaction to the swirling mix of rightwing politics and Christianity pursued by the Republican party.

The evidence comes as Republicans in some states have pursued extreme “Christian nationalist” policies, attempting to force their version of Christianity on an increasingly uninterested public.

Some of the decline is attributable to changing generations, with about 66% of people born before 1946 are still members of a church, compared with just 36% of millennials.

Among other groups Gallup reported, the decline in church membership stands out among self-identified Democrats and independents. The number of Democratic church members dropped by 25% over the 20-year period, with independents decreasing by 18%. Republican church members declined too, but only by 12%.

“Surveys of those who identify with Christian nationalist beliefs consistently show that this group feels that they are subject to more discrimination and marginalization than any other group in society, including Islamic people, Black people, atheists, [and] Jewish people,” Gill said.

“They are experiencing their loss of prominence in American culture as an unacceptable attack on their beliefs – and this is driving much of the efforts we are seeing to cling on to power, undermine democracy, and fight for ‘religious freedom’ protections that apply only to them.”

One of the biggest threats to a society is when a dominant majority starts to believe that they are a persecuted minority, because they still wield power and are emboldened to use it against those whom they feel are threatening their dominance. They thus get to feel a sense of righteous indignation even as they engage in actions that are by no means righteous.

Meanwhile, God-Man is puzzled about what these repeated calls for ‘thoughts and prayers’ are really asking for.

(Ruben Bolling)


  1. says

    Are Christian nationalists killing Christianity in the US?

    As the saying goes, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.”

  2. Sam N says

    They’re no longer a dominant majority. They’re a dominant minority, which is expect further encourages their lashing out in extreme ways.

  3. consciousness razor says

    Damn, I didn’t expect all the hate for oboes….

    Just remember: Oboes don’t kill people. Oboists kill people.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    cr @5: It’s a well known fact (proven by scientists in a dream I once had) that the best musical sounds come from the oboe and the cello.

  5. consciousness razor says

    Rob, here’s one for you and your dream scientists: a nice little excerpt from Scheherazade (can’t end the clip with a link, but I’ve started it at 9:52).

    Anyway, I’ve realized some may get the wrong impression from my comment #5. I haven’t even touched an oboe since I had to, back in my college days. (It really wasn’t so bad, although the bassoon was definitely the more fun double reed.) However, if I were an oboist, my previous comment could reasonably be construed as a death threat…. Seriously, take it from me: those people don’t fuck around. So please interpret it instead as a friendly warning, from someone who is very concerned for your safety.

  6. consciousness razor says

    Oh, there’s also the bit with both oboe and cello, around 11:29-12:10.

  7. consciousness razor says

    Okay, sure. I suppose that means the soprano sax must be near the top of the rankings as well. (But perhaps only when people like Shorter or Coltrane are playing them.)

  8. Rob Grigjanis says

    Not sure what the soprano sax has to do with it, but OK. You could say the same about the instruments played by Davis, Zawinul, Corea, McLaughlin, etc as well as Shorter.

    Nice, but I prefer Bitches Brew, especially this.

  9. consciousness razor says

    Not sure what the soprano sax has to do with it, but OK.

    I just mean the sounds are fairly similar.

    And look, there’s just not a whole lot of jazz fusion oboe to talk about, at least not as far as I’m aware. So you make do with what you’ve got.

    You could say the same about the instruments played by Davis, Zawinul, Corea, McLaughlin, etc as well as Shorter.

    It sort of hurts to see Herbie relegated to an “etc,” but I get it. They were quite a group.

    Nice, but I prefer Bitches Brew, especially this.

    Very hard to top that one.

  10. Dago Red says

    I think Prokofiev was right — make the “the duck” the oboe in Peter and the Wolf so the cat (clarinet) got to eat the damned thing and eject that torturous instrument from the orchestra! //snark from a has-been clarinetist

  11. publicola says

    When my kid was in high school, he really wanted to play the oboe, but he could never master its finicky reed. He had much better success with the trumpet and the baritone

  12. John Morales says

    To the actual topic at hand, it’s known that in any ideologic collective, when the moderates are sufficiently stressed to begin to leave the extremists become more normative, leading to a positive feedback loop.

  13. Matt G says

    They hitched their wagon to trump, and now their decline is being hastened by him. Good. He didn’t take them anywhere they didn’t want to go.

  14. bmiller says

    French Horns for the win! Check out the gothic weirdness of Sopor Aeturnus and the Ensemble of Shadows and their “Tales From the Inverted Womb album!

  15. jrkrideau says

    The USA is just across the lake. It takes time to realise how really different it is.

    I remember talking to someone from Baltimore who was visiting his in-laws. He mentioned that his father-is-law who had been in Canada for 6--8 months found it fascinating that no one asked what church he attended. (F-in-L reportedly was pleased.)

    The bizarre thing to a Canadian is that it is just not a question one would ask.

  16. rrutis1 says

    In all seriousness, how long does it take for that feedback loop to start being positive? Is there any info on how long a cycle like that is…I am guessing that it won’t be in our lifetimes.

  17. Numenaster, whose eyes are up here says

    @rrutis1, in this case “positive” just means “increases feedback through time”, i.e. you get more of it the longer it runs. It’s not a quality judgment on what is being fed back.

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