Trends Regarding Race and Evangelicalism

latin evangelicals

Here are three trends from Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University:

  1. “Evangelicals are not keeping pace with America’s racial diversity”
  2. “African Americans and Hispanics are on the forefront of the rise of ‘nothing in particular’ category of religious affiliation”
  3. “Non-white evangelicals often have higher rates of religious attendance.”

See how Burge unpacks these points at Christianity Today.

6 thoughts on “Trends Regarding Race and Evangelicalism

  1. While not universally the case, I do believe that the prevalent equating of “evangelical” with “religiously and staunchly conservative political partisan” in America functions as a kind of barrier to entry to the evangelical church for many people, including some minorities who see themselves being cast as demagogues by vocal politicians and partisans. This dynamic can function as sort of a modern-day equivalent of the “Gentiles must first be circumcised in order to be Christians” obstacle to inclusion in the church which the apostles had to deal with at the Council of Jerusalem. When we make inclusion/acceptance in the church in part about something other than faith in Christ, we’re helping to create needless barriers to inclusion.

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  2. Regarding Point 1, I don’t think anybody’s really keeping pace.
    There’s always some lag time in keeping pace with any change.
    And Evangelicals have a reputation as Late Adopters in general.

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    • Totally agree. I think many large religious institutions are Late Adopters. (I call them slow learners.) Just look at the Catholic Church – it took them several hundred years to admit Galileo was right and they were wrong. I think Galileo is still smiling.

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      • It took several hundred years for the Catholic Church to issue a formal apology for the censure of Galileo. However, the Catholic Church had been operating as if it were wrong on the matter of Galileo for a long time prior. On the one hand, the apology should have come a long time ago though. On the other hand, the apology for Galileo was not without controversy within the Catholic Church- NOT because there was support for the Inquisition against Galileo- give me a chance to explain.

        What really drove his troubles in the Roman Inquisition (than thankfully NOT the Spanish Inquisition!) was that the Dominican Order had feared his theories would undermine the philosophy of Aristotle, which would in turn undermine the theology of their great theologian St. Thomas Aquinas. The Dominican Order had been involved in a great power struggle with the Jesuit Order and several order orders, but yet the Dominican Order won the papal conclave which in turn used their Papacy as a weapon against Galileo.

        The Roman Inquisition proceedings against Galileo were such a sectarian witch-hunt conducted by a single order that did not reflect most of what the Church actually did think. After whichever Pope who persecuted Galileo died, most Catholics resumed treating Galileo’s scientific work for the most accurate description of reality available that it was, and his work even has bishops’ impraturs (guaranteeing freedom of dogmatic error).

        Additionally, the Catholic Church refused to comment on the accuracy of Charles Darwin’s and Alfred Wallace’s work on evolution- in large part because of the Dominican-inflicted black-eye from Galileo. Many Catholics at that time might have held critical views of evolutionary theory, but evolutionary theory had poor evidence but at the same time was used to defend eugenics and white supremacy. As the evidence in favor for evolutionary theory started to cascade, the case for eugenics and white supremacy collapsed, and Catholics started to accept evolution even with the blessing of Pope Pius XII.

        Forgive the digression on evolution, the point is that there are Catholics (myself NOT included) who felt no need for the Pope to apologize when one could make a case that the Dominican Order had essentially hijacked the Papacy, and attempted to impose Dominican thought on the Universal Church. The Catholics who think this think that the Head of the Dominican Order should apologize to MANY people in addition to Galileo!

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  3. He didn’t mention interracial marriage as a significant factor in the decrease in proportion of “Whites”. I have to believe that’s a significant oversight. His data even has a category called “Mixed”.

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