American Evangelicals are the “Least Likely” to Think the U.S. Should Accept Refugees


Philip Bump reports at The Washington Post:

In February 2017, as debate raged nationally over President Trump’s decision to curtail immigration to the United States, the conservative Christian Broadcasting Network dipped into the Bible to share what that sacred text said about refugees.

“Treat refugees the way you want to be treated,” it said, quoting Leviticus. “Invite the stranger in” (Matthew) and “Open your door to the traveler” (Job).

The first comment in reply to the article captures the tone of the rest of the feedback the site received: “Shame on CBN for this very poorly written article full of political rhetoric. This is not a Biblical issue.”

At the time, polling from Pew Research Center showed that about 56 percent of Americans believed that the United States had a responsibility to welcome refugees into the country. In the year since, that figure has dropped and is now at a bare majority, 51 percent.

But Pew’s new research includes a fascinating detail: No group agrees less with the idea that the United States has a responsibility to accept refugees than white evangelical Protestants.

Only 25 percent of evangelicals told Pew that they believed the United States has such a responsibility, half the percentage of Catholics who said the same thing and substantially lower than the religiously unaffiliated. In statistical terms, the percentage of evangelicals holding that view was about equal to the percentage of Republicans, 26 percent, given margins of error.

Read the entire article here, including graphs and charts.

Nothing about evangelicals surprises me any more.  Nothing.

5 thoughts on “American Evangelicals are the “Least Likely” to Think the U.S. Should Accept Refugees

  1. Your points are valid, and I should have not made it sound like this is an entirely new phenomenon. I agree with you on the point that Trump hasn’t transformed people, he has rather revealed who they already were by making them feel comfortable about openly denigrating entire classes and groups of people.

    I am old enough to acknowledge that you are, of course, right that these attitudes have been around a long time. What is different is that now someone is in power who forcefully gives voice to those attitudes, and now people feel they have been given legitimacy, and so it is “open season.” So let me rephrase my last point to say, “Evangelicals are increasingly revealing themselves to be the ‘bad guys’ portrayed in the Bible stories and parables.”

    On your last point, I would take the position more that politics and church are mutually ruinous to each other, and that it is not a one-way street in either direction.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dave, I sympathize, but one of the problems here is the idea that Trump transformed everyone. What he has done is to put out on the open what was at or below the surface for many decades.

    Evangelicals were largely on board with Nixon’s Southern Strategy, Reagan’s welfare queens and campaign kickoff in a notorious anti-civil rights town, Jesse Helms “hands” ad. They have supported policies that penalize the poor, militarize foreign policy, intervene on the side of dictators in many spots around the globe.

    I’ve been attending churches that tell me those guys are the party on God’s side for nearly half a century. It’s not a Trump thing. At some point, realize the problem is not that politics is ruining the church, its the other way around.


  3. Evangelicals (which, like you, are my “tribe,” although that identification is severely wavering) have bought hook, line and sinker into the President’s narrative that people who show up at our borders are mostly threats, criminals, and terrorists, and those who aren’t are here simply to sponge off the American taxpayers.

    Despite pridefully claiming to have a high view of Scripture, and despite pridefully claiming to live by Scriptural precepts, evangelicals have instead become the priests and Levites crossing the road to avoid the robbed and beaten-up man, leaving the Samaritan to care for him instead. Evangelicals have become the innkeeper turning away Mary and Joseph because there is no room in the inn. Evangelicals have become the rich young man who was bent on demonstrating to Jesus his worthiness of eternal life, only to be told by Jesus to sell his worldly goods and give them to the poor.

    Evangelicals are increasingly transforming into the “bad guys” portrayed in the Bible stories and parables. I am still trying to figure out to what extent this is because of being deluded, and to what extent this is because people know but just don’t care.


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