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Winner of the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in Religion Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, spells out the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality—that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation. “Quite possibly the most illuminating text for this election year” (The New York Times Book Review). For most of our nation’s Winner of the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in Religion Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, spells out the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality—that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation. “Quite possibly the most illuminating text for this election year” (The New York Times Book Review). For most of our nation’s history, White Christian America (WCA) set the tone for our national policy and shaped American ideals. But especially since the 1990s, WCA has steadily lost influence, following declines within both its mainline and evangelical branches. Today, America is no longer demographically or culturally a majority white, Christian nation. Drawing on more than four decades of polling data, The End of White Christian America explains and analyzes the waning vitality of WCA. Robert P. Jones argues that the visceral nature of today’s most heated issues—the vociferous arguments around same-sex marriage and religious and sexual liberty, the rise of the Tea Party following the election of our first black president, and stark disagreements between black and white Americans over the fairness of the criminal justice system—can only be understood against the backdrop of white Christians’ anxieties as America’s racial and religious topography shifts around them. Beyond 2016, the descendants of WCA will lack the political power they once had to set the terms of the nation’s debate over values and morals and to determine election outcomes. Looking ahead, Jones forecasts the ways that they might adjust to find their place in the new America—and the consequences for us all if they don’t. “Jones’s analysis is an insightful combination of history, sociology, religious studies, and political science….This book will be of interest to a wide range of readers across the political spectrum” (Library Journal).


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Winner of the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in Religion Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, spells out the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality—that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation. “Quite possibly the most illuminating text for this election year” (The New York Times Book Review). For most of our nation’s Winner of the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in Religion Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, spells out the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality—that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation. “Quite possibly the most illuminating text for this election year” (The New York Times Book Review). For most of our nation’s history, White Christian America (WCA) set the tone for our national policy and shaped American ideals. But especially since the 1990s, WCA has steadily lost influence, following declines within both its mainline and evangelical branches. Today, America is no longer demographically or culturally a majority white, Christian nation. Drawing on more than four decades of polling data, The End of White Christian America explains and analyzes the waning vitality of WCA. Robert P. Jones argues that the visceral nature of today’s most heated issues—the vociferous arguments around same-sex marriage and religious and sexual liberty, the rise of the Tea Party following the election of our first black president, and stark disagreements between black and white Americans over the fairness of the criminal justice system—can only be understood against the backdrop of white Christians’ anxieties as America’s racial and religious topography shifts around them. Beyond 2016, the descendants of WCA will lack the political power they once had to set the terms of the nation’s debate over values and morals and to determine election outcomes. Looking ahead, Jones forecasts the ways that they might adjust to find their place in the new America—and the consequences for us all if they don’t. “Jones’s analysis is an insightful combination of history, sociology, religious studies, and political science….This book will be of interest to a wide range of readers across the political spectrum” (Library Journal).

30 review for The End of White Christian America

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Pierce

    I was raised in a Caucasian Christian family in the Bible Belt. I have been a Baptist pastor for some 20+ years. I conclude White Christian America actually existed (past tense). And if it is not dead, it certainly is terminal and near death. You might be surprised to read that from me, as much as I hate to admit it. I purchased the book to give it a real critical treatment. The author succeeded in convincing me of much of his argument. Note, I don't doubt my faith nor the Bible I preach from da I was raised in a Caucasian Christian family in the Bible Belt. I have been a Baptist pastor for some 20+ years. I conclude White Christian America actually existed (past tense). And if it is not dead, it certainly is terminal and near death. You might be surprised to read that from me, as much as I hate to admit it. I purchased the book to give it a real critical treatment. The author succeeded in convincing me of much of his argument. Note, I don't doubt my faith nor the Bible I preach from daily. But the cultural Christianity of this country and particularly of the South that insisted on their right to dominate politics and social norms needs to be eulogized. It is misguided and hypocritical to insist that White Christian America has any ownership rights or right to control. The shifts in the culture, have not been the general population becoming more progressive. It has been almost solely a Protestant shift in values. I would suggest reading this book not to find agreement with the author, I read values I don't agree with whole heartedly. But read it to unpack some of the prejudicial and misinformed analysis of the religious right. We either haven't been honest or we have been self-deceived.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    When this book was first published I planned to read it. But I procrastinated and the 2016 election happened in which Republicans won the Presidency and the majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives. At that point I lost interest in the book since it appeared that its forecast of the end of "White Christian America" was a bit premature. But then I learned that an "Afterword" had been added to the recent editions of this book that discusses the results of the 2016 election. I've not When this book was first published I planned to read it. But I procrastinated and the 2016 election happened in which Republicans won the Presidency and the majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives. At that point I lost interest in the book since it appeared that its forecast of the end of "White Christian America" was a bit premature. But then I learned that an "Afterword" had been added to the recent editions of this book that discusses the results of the 2016 election. I've not read the book, but I did read the Afterword. I've included a copy of the Afterword below by use of OCR and Amazon preview feature. Excerpt from "Afterword" of Latest Edition“You have one day to make every dream you've ever dreamed for your country and your family come true. You have one magnificent chance to beat this corrupt system and to deliver justice for every forgotten man, every forgotten woman, and every forgotten child in this nation. It will never happen again-it will never happen again, folks. In four years, not going happen. Not going to happen. lt's never going to happen again. Do not let this opportunity slip away.” -Donald I. Trump, speaking at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, November 7, 20I6 (CNN )Trump and the "Last Chance" Election of 2016 Down the home stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, one of Donald Trump's most consistent talking points was a claim that America's changing demographics and culture had brought the country to a precipice. He repeatedly cast himself as the last chance for Republicans and conservative white Christians to step back from the cliff to preserve their power and way of life. In an interview on Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in early September, Trump put the choice starkly for the channel's conservative Christian viewers: “If we don’t win this election, you'll never see another Republican, and you'll have a whole different church structure." Asked to elaborate. Trump continued. ‘l think this will he the last election that the Republicans have a chance of winning because you’re going to have people flowing across the border, you’re going to have illegal immigrants coming in, and they’re going to be legalized, and they’re going to be able to vote, and once that all happens you can forget it." Michelle Bachmann, a member of Trumps evangelical executive advisory board, echoed these same sentiments in a speech at the Values Voters Summit, an annual meeting attended largely by conservative white Christians That same week. she declared in an interview with CBN: “If you look at the numbers of people who vote and who lives [sic] in the country and who Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to bring in to the country; this is the last election when we even have a chance to vote for somebody who will stand up for godly moral principles. This is it. Post-election polling from PRRI and The Atlantic showed that this appeal found its mark among conservative voters. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of Trump voters, compared to only 22 percent of Clinton voters. agreed that “the 2016 election represented the last chance to stop Americas decline." Not Dead Yet? Trump’s Victory in Context What should we make of Trump’s unexpected victory? Does it represent a resurrection of White Christian America? The consequences of the 2016 elections are indeed sweeping. Republicans entered 2017 with control of both houses of Congress and the White House. And because the Republican controlled Senate refused to consider an Obama appointee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in early 2016, Trump was able to nominate a conservative Supreme Court justice right out of the gate. Trump's cabinet and advisors consist largely of defenders of either Wall Street or White Christian America. The evidence, however. suggests that Trumps unlikely victory is better understood as the death rattle of White Christian America rather than its resuscitation. Despite the elections immediate and dramatic consequences, it's important not to over-interpret Trump's win which was extraordinarily close as a mandate. Out of more than 136 million votes Cast, Trump's victory in the Electoral College came down to a razor-thin edge of only 77,744 votes across three states Pennsylvania (44,292 votes), Wisconsin (22,748 votes), and Michigan (10,704 votes). These votes represent a Trump margin of 0.7 percentage points in Pennsylvania, 0.7 percentage points in Wisconsin, and 0.2 percentage points in Michigan. If Clinton had won these states. she would now be president. And of course Clinton actually won the popular vote by 2.9 million votes, receiving 48.2 percent of all votes compared to Trump’s 46.1 percent. The real story of 2016 is that there was just enough movement in just the right places, just enough increased turnout from just the right groups, to get Trump the electoral votes he needed to win. Trump's intense appeal that 2016 was the “last chance” election seems to have spurred conservative white Christian voters to turn out at particularly high rates. Two election cycles ago in 2008, white evangelicals represented 21 percent of the general population but, thanks to their higher turnout relative to other voters, comprised 26 percent of actual voters. Two presidential election cycles later, in 2016, white evangelicals continued to represent 26 percent of voters-even as their proportion of the population fell to 17 percent. In other words, white evangelicals went from being overrepresented by 5 percentage points at the ballot box in 2008 to being overrepresented by 9 percentage points in 2016. This is an impressive feat to be sure, but one less and less likely to be replicated as their decline in the general population continues. Updating two trends with 2015-2016 data also confirms that the overall patterns of demographic and cultural change are continuing. The chart below plots two trend lines that capture key measures of change: the percentage of white, non-Hispanic Christians in the country and the percentage of Americans who support same-sex marriage. In Chapter Two, I noted that the percentage of white Christians in the country had fallen from 54 percent in 2008 to 47 percent in 2014. That percentage has fallen again in each subsequent year, to 45 percent in 2015 and to 43 percent in 2016. Similarly, in Chapter Four, I noted that the percentage of Americans who supported same-sex marriage had risen from 40 percent in 2008 to 54 percent in 2014. That number stayed relatively stable (53 percent) in 2015-the year the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states-but jumped to 58 percent in 2016. LINK TO CHART REFERENCED ABOVE In summary. despite the outcome of the 2016 elections, the key long-term trends indicate White Christian America's decline is continuing unabated. Over the last eight years. the percentage of Americans who identify as white and Christian fell 11 percentage points, and support for same-sex marriage jumped 18 percentage points. In a New York Times op-ed shortly after the election, I summarized the results of the election this way: “The waning numbers of white Christians in the country today may not have time on their side. but as the sun is slowly setting on the cultural world of white Christian America, they‘ve managed, at least in this election, to rage against the dying of the light? The Transformation of white Evangelicals from Values Voters to Nostalgia Voters One of the most perplexing features of the 20l6 election was the high level of support Donald Trump received from white evangelical Protestants. Since Reagan's presidency, white evangelicals have overwhelmingly supported Republican presidential candidates. But Trump, of course, was no typical Republican candidate. So how did a group that once proudly identified itself as “values voters" come to support a candidate who had been married three times, cursed from the campaign stump. owned casinos, appeared on the cover of Playboy Magazine, and most remarkably, was caught on tape bragging in the most graphic terms about habitually grabbing women's genitals without their permission? White evangelical voters' attraction to Trump was even more mysterious because the early GOP presidential field offered candidates with strong evangelical credentials, such as Ted Cruz, a longtime Southern Baptist whose father was a Baptist minister, and Marco Rubio, a conservative Catholic who could tall: with ease and familiarity about his own personal relationship with Jesus. The shotgun wedding between Trump and white evangelicals was not without conflict and objections. It set off some high drama between Trump suitors. such as Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University and Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas. and #NeverTrump evangelical leaders such as Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention. lust days ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Falwell invited Trump to speak at Liberty University. In his introduction, Falwell told the gathered students. "In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the great commandment" And a week later. he oficially endorsed Trump for president. Robert Jeffress, the senior pastor of the influential First Baptist Church in Dallas and a frequent commentator on Fox News, also threw his support behind Trump early in the campaign but took a decidedly different approach. Jeffress explicitly argued that a president`s faith is “not the only consideration, and sometimes it's not the most important consideration.” Citing grave threats to America. particularly from "radical Islamic terrorism," Jeffress's support of Trump for president was straightforward realpolitik: “I want the meanest, toughest, son-of-a-you-know-what I can find in that role, and I think that's where many evangelicals are.” Moore, by contrast, remained a steadfast Trump opponent throughout the campaign. He was aghast at the high-level embrace of Trump by white evangelical leaders and strongly expressed his incredulity that they “have tossed aside everything that they previously said they believed in order to embrace and to support the Trump candidacy.” In the end, however, Falwell and Jeffress had a better feel for the people in the pews. Trump received unwavering support from white evangelicals from the beginning of the primaries through Election Day. As I noted in an article for The Atlantic at the beginning of the primary season, the first evidence that Trump was rewriting the Republican playbook was his victory in the South Carolina GOP primary, the first southern primary and one in which more than two-thirds of the voters were white evangelicals. The Cruz campaign had considered Super Tuesdays South-heavy lineup to be their firewall against early Trump momentum. But when the returns came in, Cruz had won only his home state of Texas and neighboring Oklahoma, while Trump had swept the southem states, taking Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, and Arkansas. Trump ultimately secured the GOP nomination, not over white evangelical voters’ objections, but because of their support. And on Election Day, white evangelicals set a new high-water mark in their support for a Republican presidential candidate. Trump at a slightly higher level than even President George W Bush in 2004 (81 percent vs. 78 percent). Trump's campaign-with its sweeping promise to “make America great again”-triumphed by convening self-described “values voters" into what I've called "nostalgia voters." In the final chapter of The End of White Christian America, I predicted that “siren song of nostalgia” would be the strongest for the white evangelical branch of the WCA family tree because they had only recently been confronted with the evidence of their own decline. Trump's promise to restore a mythical past golden age—where factory jobs paid the bills and white Protestant churches were the dominant cultural hubs—powerfully tapped evangelical anxieties about an uncertain future. The 2016 election, in fact, was peculiar because of just how little concrete policy issues mattered. The election, more than any in recent memory, came down to two vividly contrasting views of America. Donald Trump's campaign painted a bleak portrait of Americas present, set against a bright, if monochromatic, vision of 1950s America restored. Hillary Clinton's campaign, by contrast, sought to succeed the first African-American president with the first female president and embraced the multicultural future of 2050, the year the Census Bureau originally projected the United States would become a majority nonwhite nation. ‘* “Make America Great Again” and “Stronger Together? the two campaigns’ competing slogans, became proxies for an epic battle over the changing face of America. The gravitational pull of nostalgia among white evangelicals was evident across a wide range of public opinion polling questions. Just a few weeks before the 2016 election, two-thirds (66 percent) of white evangelical Protestants said the growing number of newcomers from other countries threatens traditional American customs and values. Nearly as many favored building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico (64 percent) and temporarily banning Muslims from other countries from entering the United States (62 percent). And 63 percent believed that today discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. White evangelicals also stood out on broad questions about cultural change. While Americans overall were nearly evenly divided on whether American culture and way of life have changed for worse (51 percent) or better (48 percent) since the 1950s, white evangelical Protestants were likelier than any other demographic group to say things have changed for the worse since the 1950s (74 percent). It is perhaps an open question whether Trump's candidacy represents a true change in evangelicals' DNA or whether it simply revealed previously hidden traits, but the shift from values to nostalgia voter has undoubtedly transformed their political ethics. The clearest example of evangelical ethics bending to fit the Trump presidency is white evangelicals’ abandonment of their conviction that personal character matters for elected oflicials. ln 2011 and again just ahead of the 2OI6 election, PRRI asked Americans whether a political leader who committed an immoral act in his or her private life could nonetheless behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public life. ln 2011, consistent with the "values voter” brand and the traditional evangelical emphasis on the importance of personal characten only 30 percent of white evangelical Protestants agreed with this statement But with Trump at the top of the Republican ticket in 2016, 72 percent of white evangelicals said they believed a candidate could build a kind of moral dike between his private and public life. In a head spinning reversal, white evangelicals went from being the least likely to the most likely group to agree that a candidates personal immorality has no bearing on his performance in public oflice. Fears about the present and a desire for a lost past, bound together with partisan attachments, ultimately overwhelmed values voters’ convictions. Rather than standing on principle and letting the chips fall where they may, white evangelicals fully embraced a consequentialist ethics that works backward from predetermined political ends, bending or even discarding core principles as needed to achieve a predetermined outcome. When it came to the 2016 election, the ends were deemed so necessary they justilied the means. As he saw the polls trending for Trump in the last days before the election, in no small part because of the support of white evangelicals, Russell Moore was blunt, lamenting that Trump-supporting evangelicals had simply adopted "a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it." The Road Ahead lt’s clear that white evangelicals have entered a grand bargain with the self-described master dealmaker, with high hopes that this alliance will stem the tide and turn back the clock. And Donald Trump’s installation as the 45th president of the United States may in fact temporarily prop up, by pure exertions of political and legal power, what white Christian Americans perceive they have lost. But these short-term victories will come at an exorbitant price. Like the biblical story of Esau, who exchanged his inheritance for a pot of stew, white evangelicals have traded their distinctive values for fleeting political power. Twenty years from now, there is little chance that 20l6 will be celebrated as the revival of White Christian America, no matter how many Christian right leaders are installed in positions of power over the next four years. Rather, this election will mostly likely be remembered as the one in which white evangelicals traded away their integrity and influence in a gambit to resurrect their past. Meanwhile. the major trends transforming the country continue. lf anything, the evangelicals’ deal with Trump may accelerate the very changes it is designed to arrest. as a growing number of nonwhite and non-Christian Americans are repulsed by the increasingly nativist, tribal tenor of both conservative white Christianity and conservative white politics At the end of the day, white evangelicals’ grand bargain with Trump will be unable to hold back the sheer weight of cultural change, and WCA's descendants will be left with the only real move possible: acceptance. End of afterword --- The following is a link to PEW polling report on public views on abortion. I'm putting it here for my own future reference: http://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/pu... American Religious Landscape: https://www.prri.org/research/america...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jess Dollar

    An excellent and intelligent look into the loss of majority status for what, until recently, was the dominant cultural norm in America. I learned so much in this book. In the last chapter I found this: "...a chastened position is good for the church because Christianity can provide an alternative to the broader culture only when it becomes truly abnormal." It made me think about how the prosperity gospel nonsense that has dominated evangelical Christianity for so long has ultimately led to it's d An excellent and intelligent look into the loss of majority status for what, until recently, was the dominant cultural norm in America. I learned so much in this book. In the last chapter I found this: "...a chastened position is good for the church because Christianity can provide an alternative to the broader culture only when it becomes truly abnormal." It made me think about how the prosperity gospel nonsense that has dominated evangelical Christianity for so long has ultimately led to it's decreasing popularity among young people. We don't need Christianity to reinforce the most dominate (and destructive) influences in our culture like consumerism and materialistic individuality. Unfortunately, I live in a part of the country where church life still largely seems to be a substitute for country clubs. Where you go to church is a social symbol, nothing more. It isn't a place where you break your "self" down to live in true service to the "least of these" but a place where your "self" is built up along with your self esteem and sense of righteousness. I would love to see a growing Christian community that rejects materialistic, consumerist, celebrity worship, potato-chip news watching, nationalistic, nostalgic culture. THAT would be truly abnormal and it's just the alternative that I think many people would flock to.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steven Peterson

    This is a provocative book. Some will accept the thesis unhesitatingly; others will reject it a priori. But the volume should make any reader think about the subject--whatever their evaluation of the work. Simply, Robert Jones argues that the formerly dominant (perhaps hegemonic, using Antonio Gramsci's term) white Christian values--which once structured American policy-making and politics--has declined. It is a world view that has lost its power. The end result? Anger from those who feel that th This is a provocative book. Some will accept the thesis unhesitatingly; others will reject it a priori. But the volume should make any reader think about the subject--whatever their evaluation of the work. Simply, Robert Jones argues that the formerly dominant (perhaps hegemonic, using Antonio Gramsci's term) white Christian values--which once structured American policy-making and politics--has declined. It is a world view that has lost its power. The end result? Anger from those who feel that their values are being devalued and disrespected. Elements in the alleged change? New forces in the United States, whether immigration, growing percentage of minorities in the population, changing values among younger whites. . . Case studies stud the book--such as churches built many decades ago which no longer attract the support that once they did. Jones suggests that there has been a staged decline--mainstream Protestant faiths began to lose steam decades ago. Now? The fundamentalist/evangelical movement is sputtering. The future will no longer be dominated by the "white Christian American" narrative. The statistics used are pretty straightforward. I would like to see more advanced multivariate analysis (readers' eyes are glazing over. . . ) to assess the various factors that might affect the picture. Is this the case? That is at the heart of the book. This is a question that will produce sharp debate. And such a debate is probably a positive outcome. Only time will tell if the thesis is correct. But we should be discussing it now, because much is at stake.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Andersen-Andrade

    Hallelujah! As a white, gay, socialist atheist I rejoice in the dying days of White Christian America. It has been a force for so many of America's ills. Thankfully my family was a generation or two ahead of the curve, and this child of the 1950's never suffered a single day of Sunday school, or squirmed through a boring sermon on a hard pew. My parents abandoned their childhood religions in their late teens and I was spared any religious indoctrination and that, combined with an upbringing in N Hallelujah! As a white, gay, socialist atheist I rejoice in the dying days of White Christian America. It has been a force for so many of America's ills. Thankfully my family was a generation or two ahead of the curve, and this child of the 1950's never suffered a single day of Sunday school, or squirmed through a boring sermon on a hard pew. My parents abandoned their childhood religions in their late teens and I was spared any religious indoctrination and that, combined with an upbringing in New York City and California meant I was surrounded by cultural secularism from the start. Red State Christian America is as alien to me as Outer Mongolia, and I delight in doing everything I possibly can to bring it to its knees. Trump's America is a last gasp attempt by White Christian America to regain its footing, but demographics and seismic cultural shifts will soon mark this dark time in America's history as the end of White Christian's death grip on America.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    Jones leaves out the gender element, voter suppression and goes way too easy on the vicious attempts to de-legitimize Obama as an America (and a Christian), but otherwise has things dead to rights. In retrospect, people foaming at the mouth about a Cheerios commercial should have been a bigger clue, but here we are.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    I first noticed this book when the publicity for its release was going around in summer. It caught my interest, since I am from a part of the US that is decidedly still VERY White and (Protestant) Christian. (Indiana, AKA VP-elect Pence's home state). I really felt compelled to read this after the election, for obvious reasons. Jones hypothesizes that WCA is over, but the results from November 8th say otherwise. The results cast a huge shadow over the book and as a result really keep it from bei I first noticed this book when the publicity for its release was going around in summer. It caught my interest, since I am from a part of the US that is decidedly still VERY White and (Protestant) Christian. (Indiana, AKA VP-elect Pence's home state). I really felt compelled to read this after the election, for obvious reasons. Jones hypothesizes that WCA is over, but the results from November 8th say otherwise. The results cast a huge shadow over the book and as a result really keep it from being as effective as Jones wishes. Jones has the book split up into six sections, chronicling in the first section how the 20th century went from being the self-proclaimed "Christian Century" of mainline Protestantism, to the rise of the Evangelicals, to the overall decline of Protestantism's influence in America by the turn of the 21st century. While he does go back further from time to time to contextualize some subjects like American Christianity's response to slavery leading up to the Civil War, keeping the focus on the last 100 years hampers the point Jones is trying to make. Contextualizing just HOW much Christianity (especially Protestantism) was a part of the American culture historically would have made the drastic, recent change even more profound and driven his point home. While I do know that many of the early colonies in America were made of Christian sects, detailing that even in a few paragraphs would have given this book more depth and substantiated Jones's claims better. In fact, my overall criticism of this book is that it is cursory. Beyond the lack of historical contextualization, Jones also uses surveys that are not very strong (one had less than 100 participants) and does not fully address all the issues that WCA are losing ground on, particularly concerning gender. Jones does address sexuality and the drastic change in public opinion concerning same-sex marriage. (I found that to be one of, if not the strongest, section in the book). However, he does not address women's rights or adequately cover the topic of abortion. It could be because recent laws on the state level have shown how much power WCA has concerning that issue, refuting Jones's claim. Despite that, it was a glaring hole to not have a section (or even a subsection) examining this issue in greater detail beyond referencing a few surveys. I also think this book would benefit from a new edition taking the election into account, or at least an afterword. The election results are not something Jones and his publisher could predict and take into account when releasing this, but this book certainly reads of hubris, that it is already a given that WCA and their concerns will lose the election. Despite all of these criticisms, I did feel like there was some things of merit in this. As I mentioned, the section on same-sex marriage was effective in showing how the public's stance has changed dramatically in just a decade's time. Jones also does a good job of documenting how the election of 2012 was the first inkling that WCA was on the decline. (Revising this chapter in light of the election would really drive the point home of how intertwined WCA and modern day Republicanism is). But overall I found it to be lacking the depth needed to truly cover this important topic.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Drick

    Published in early 2016 while the political primaries were in full swing, this book predicts the end of white Christian America after the election of Barack Obama. One wonders if Jones spoke too soon. Drawing on statistics of a decline in raw numbers of whites, of evangelicals, and mainline Christians and the passage of the marriage equality act and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, Jones shares many of the same assumptions about the shifting demographics and the increase in secu Published in early 2016 while the political primaries were in full swing, this book predicts the end of white Christian America after the election of Barack Obama. One wonders if Jones spoke too soon. Drawing on statistics of a decline in raw numbers of whites, of evangelicals, and mainline Christians and the passage of the marriage equality act and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, Jones shares many of the same assumptions about the shifting demographics and the increase in secularization shared by many liberal pundits. And indeed Donald Trump's election may be White Christian America's last gasp. However I think that Jones may have confused the cultural and institutional power of whiteness as a force with the raw data showing the decrease in the number of White Christians in the U.S. Whiteness is not only impacting white people but others who may feel that change will not come and so have dropped out and do not participate in political action at any level. He did not account for the power of whiteness and civil religion ensconced in the judiciary, in the corporate sector and in the culture at large. While I think there are many valid points in Jones' analysis, I suspect that his prediction of the end of Whiteness and American civil religion is far over-rated and premature. Whites may be declining but Whiteness as a force has endured in the U.S. for over 350 years and will not go easily or quietly.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    A very topical and useful book, full of data about the decline of White Christianity in the USA, both mainline and evangelical. If you are familiar with the Public Religion Research Institute, you will have encountered these data and interpretations already, but the book is full of exceptionally useful data and is a great source for anyone doing research on religion and politics in the USA in the modern era. One significant note after the election of Donald Trump: some of the analyses here would A very topical and useful book, full of data about the decline of White Christianity in the USA, both mainline and evangelical. If you are familiar with the Public Religion Research Institute, you will have encountered these data and interpretations already, but the book is full of exceptionally useful data and is a great source for anyone doing research on religion and politics in the USA in the modern era. One significant note after the election of Donald Trump: some of the analyses here would seem to be called into question by Trump's victory, backed as it was by the same people who Jones claims are rapidly losing power. But a closer look at the data reveals that the real test of the conclusions will be the 2020 and 2024 elections. Was Trump's election the final reaction of a declining but not yet quite out of power demographic? Time will tell. But the analysis aside, the real reason to read the book is the data, which is fascinating and portends more difficulties ahead as this major transition continues to unfold.

  10. 5 out of 5

    MyLan

    I have a lot of really smart things to say about this book and the arguments he makes but it's summer vacation so I'm not actually going to say any of them. However, I will say I really enjoyed his historical analysis, but disagreed with his conclusions and projections about the future. So does history as the 2016 election pretty much disproved a lot of his predictions. I would be interested to read his afterword on the election, but that wasn't in my copy from the library. I guess we'll never k I have a lot of really smart things to say about this book and the arguments he makes but it's summer vacation so I'm not actually going to say any of them. However, I will say I really enjoyed his historical analysis, but disagreed with his conclusions and projections about the future. So does history as the 2016 election pretty much disproved a lot of his predictions. I would be interested to read his afterword on the election, but that wasn't in my copy from the library. I guess we'll never know.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    I might never have come across this book on my own, and most likely wouldn't have picked it up if I had -- the title suggests to me that it could be a diatribe from one of those people who think saying Happy Holidays constitutes a war on Christmas. But one of my ESL students who's a religion major chose to read it for a book review project this semester which meant I needed to give it at least a good scan to be able to understand his work. I'm so glad I did. I found it fascinating and it clarifi I might never have come across this book on my own, and most likely wouldn't have picked it up if I had -- the title suggests to me that it could be a diatribe from one of those people who think saying Happy Holidays constitutes a war on Christmas. But one of my ESL students who's a religion major chose to read it for a book review project this semester which meant I needed to give it at least a good scan to be able to understand his work. I'm so glad I did. I found it fascinating and it clarified a lot of the confusion I'd had about the differences between evangelical and mainstream Christians, and how some groups claimed to speak for all Christians while preaching some pretty hateful stuff. I certainly knew there were differences, but I now feel like I better understand where they're coming from. In particular, the chapter on race was an excellent follow up read to an article I'd read in the fall -- Race Tests: Racial Boundary Maintenance in White Evangelical Churches. See https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/a... -- that considered the lack of diversity in congregations but didn't go as deeply as Jones into its roots and into how some churches have achieved diversity. The first portion of the book tends to have a lot of statistics and tables that make it a bit dry, but it's worth pushing through to the chapters on race and thoughts on the future of Christianity in America. White Christian America still has a lot of life left in it, especially in the South, but I think Jones is right that if it doesn't give up insisting on being the only game in town and learn to play well with others instead of damning them all to hell if they don't toe exactly the same line, its demise is inevitable. I read the 2016 edition which left me wondering what Jones would have to say about Trump's election, but the 2017 edition has an afterword in which he does. One of the other reviewers for this book includes it in his review. It's a useful addendum.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Adam Shields

    Short Review: This is a mix of demographics, polling and recent religious and cultural history. It is well written and engaging even when I don't completely agree with the line of argument or the retelling of a historical argument. I think that this is a book that particularly White evangelicals need to read, especially political conservative and rural or suburban residents. The shift in culture and demographics has already occurred. It isn't going to change back. But how we react to it matters a Short Review: This is a mix of demographics, polling and recent religious and cultural history. It is well written and engaging even when I don't completely agree with the line of argument or the retelling of a historical argument. I think that this is a book that particularly White evangelicals need to read, especially political conservative and rural or suburban residents. The shift in culture and demographics has already occurred. It isn't going to change back. But how we react to it matters a lot. My full review is on my blog at http://bookwi.se/end-of-white-christi...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Like a Buzzfeed news article, this book has an intentionally inflammatory title that's designed to draw you in, but for most part it's not the partisan bitchfest you might be expecting. It's a sober historical analysis by the head of the Public Religion Research Institute, and as you might expect from that name, a lot of research went into it and is cited in it. What does the term “White Christian America” (WCA) mean? It's a specifically defined term that essentially means white Protestantism, of Like a Buzzfeed news article, this book has an intentionally inflammatory title that's designed to draw you in, but for most part it's not the partisan bitchfest you might be expecting. It's a sober historical analysis by the head of the Public Religion Research Institute, and as you might expect from that name, a lot of research went into it and is cited in it. What does the term “White Christian America” (WCA) mean? It's a specifically defined term that essentially means white Protestantism, of both the mainline and the evangelical flavors. Why doesn't it include Catholics? Primarily because Catholicism in America has almost never been viewed as a “white” denomination, but as the strange alien religion of a bunch of unwanted immigrants – first Irish and Italians, and more recently Hispanics and Asians. The interval between the rise of Catholicism as a significant American power (arguably the election of the first Catholic president in 1960 marked the beginning of that era) and the browning of Catholicism through immigration from lower latitudes was quite short. With this understanding of WCA, most of the book reads like a sober and relatively balanced historical account of the rise and fall of WCA's influence on American culture, and you could read it from any political slant and not feel you're being insulted. But if you're reading it from a white Christian perspective, there's no question the message is dire in some respects: In 21st-century America, any church that continues refusing to welcome non-whites and people of a variety of sexual identities and orientations is probably doomed because of simple demographics. There just aren't enough straight white Americans who would rather build walls than bridges left to fill their pews. Jones paints Mitt Romney's defeat by Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election as the watershed moment when it became clear that WCA was all but finished in demographic terms: Even though they had brought Mormons, viewed for a century as a wacky cult, into the fold by backing Romney, and even though Romney's campaign did everything right to secure the conservative white Christians who were the core Republican voting bloc, there simply weren't enough of them left in America in 2012 to propel Romney to the White House when the other groups united behind Obama. But there's one area in which it can only be read as an overt and searing indictment of White Christian America, and that's race relations. The author has this to say on the matter: “No segment of White Christian America has been more complicit in the nation's fraught racial history than white Evangelical Protestants. And no group of white Evangelical Protestants bears more responsibility than Southern Baptists.” When you realize the Southern Baptist Convention began its life in the 1840s as a schism from mainline Baptists over the issue of slavery, it comes as no surprise that Southern Baptists are perhaps the single most racist religious denomination in America and have repeatedly led the charge in support of slavery, in support of segregation, in support of Jim Crow laws, and against the civil rights movement. The heart of the book contains some good analysis (relying on other sources) of where we are now on race relations, why we're there and not somewhere else, the role that White Christian America played, and why WCA's efforts to put a Band-Aid on it with fatuous concepts like #AllLivesMatter are not helping to either move our nation toward reconciliation (first passing through the essential stages of repentance and reparation) or restore WCA's tattered reputation in the public arena. But it also makes clear that while White Christian America will never again be the dominant monolithic cultural force that it has been for most of the nation's history, it's not too late for individual churches to do better and become more vibrant and connected to their communities than ever, with specific success stories. But all of those success stories are based on inclusivity... i.e. dumping the “White” from “White Christian America.” The final section is an analysis of the classic “stages of grief” that explains a lot about certain things we're seeing in the USA today. In particular, it explains “Project Blitz,” an effort of the evangelicals to buy more time by creating a legacy of pro-Christian laws that will enforce their peculiar way of life in years to come even as they themselves become a tiny dissenting minority. As someone who has always been part of a religious minority and who knows no other life, I personally think the death imagery used throughout the book is misleading and overblown. Yes, “White Christian America” as a hegemonic power is dead. But white Christian Americans are still very much alive, and while they are diminished in numbers and temporal power, this is no tragedy, and likening it to “death” is pure melodrama. And I find the whole “grieving” and “mourning” metaphor absurd and even offensive. The problem with hegemony is that no one ever gives up power willingly, and to those who are accustomed to having all the power, being asked to diminish themselves to the status of merely one among a group of diverse peers feels like persecution. So “death” and “doom” type language no doubt accurately encapsulates how white Protestant leaders, particularly evangelicals, feel about it. But in fact, no one is trying to eliminate white Christians or prevent them from having a seat at the table. They are merely being told they now have to make room for others at the table. They should be like Galadriel, who nobly released the One Ring and agreed to diminish herself. The book was published mere months before the surprising election of Donald Trump in November 2016, and you may be wondering how Jones fits that event into his analysis. If you get the right edition of the book, you'll also get Jones' Afterword that discusses this very topic. According to Jones, Trump's election is not proof he is wrong about any of his analysis, but the proof he is right. It's not the resurrection of WCA, but its death rattle. It took a historically high turnout of a shrinking and embattled right-wing white Christian voting bloc, and a historically divisive opposing candidate on the left, and the vagaries of the American electoral system, and interference by foreign powers to accomplish a win that was razor-thin. As part of the “stages of grief” analysis, it's clearly another effort at “bargaining.” WCA sold its soul to buy four more years of worldly power. And Jones believes it will ultimately prove to be no more than a desperate rearguard action, and may do them more harm than good in the long term, as white evangelicals' strong support of the not-so-Christian Trump further damaged WCA's public reputation and strengthened accusations of hypocrisy. It's clear from the numbers that the faction who once referred to itself as the "Moral Majority" is no longer a majority, and in the eyes of an increasingly skeptical American public, it's no longer moral either.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

    In The End of White Christian America, Robert P. Jones describes the changing influence and self-perception of a large demographic in American society. When he says “White Christian America” (WCA) he means "white Protestants in America." To be more specific, he means a “historically Protestant” demographic that includes the liberal “northern mainline Protestantism” and the conservative “southern evangelical Protestantism,” while acknowledging that these groups were “marked by differences in soci In The End of White Christian America, Robert P. Jones describes the changing influence and self-perception of a large demographic in American society. When he says “White Christian America” (WCA) he means "white Protestants in America." To be more specific, he means a “historically Protestant” demographic that includes the liberal “northern mainline Protestantism” and the conservative “southern evangelical Protestantism,” while acknowledging that these groups were “marked by differences in social class and by their perspectives on race relations” and have had “disagreements over fundamental tenets of theology, approaches to diversity, and accommodations to the modern world and science.“ (Let the Southern Baptists be the arm of WCA to bear the most responsibility for “the nation’s fraught racial history,” he says, since the Southern Baptist Convention was founded before the Civil War specifically for white Baptists who didn’t want their religion to tell them to give up their slaves.) Broad enough to encompass those differences, the term WCA is “a more inclusive and neutral term than WASP, describing the view as it appears from within." He notes: "It always operated parallel to the rich religious and cultural domain of African American Protestants.” For much of American history, WCA was “a cultural touchstone” that “provided a shared aesthetic, a historical framework, and a moral vocabulary. WCA’s vibrancy was historically one of the most prominent features of American public life.” For example, the National Council of Churches (originally founded as an alliance of 32 denominations in 1908, known then as the Federal Council of Churches) was instrumental in the call for a United Nations declaration of human rights. Now, this influence — and the perceptions that helped create the influence — is waning. “For most of the nation’s life, White Christian America was big enough, cohesive enough, and influential enough to pull off the illusion that it was the cultural pivot around which the country turned — at least for those living safely within its expansive confines. But this artifice weakened as White Christian America shrank in size and the power of its institutions dwindled.” Today, it's not really possible to believe that this influence exists, at least, not the way it used to. Mississippi’s recent successful initiative to add the words “In God We Trust” to the state seal, along with unsuccessful 2015 efforts by both Democrats and Republicans to reflect the Bible as the “official state book,” indicates WCA's weakness rather than strength in the author’s opinion. “When leaders feel it is necessary to state explicitly what has always been assumed, they betray their own cultural insecurity....These efforts amount to little more than bargaining beside the deathbed of White Christian America.” The nation's dramatic shift in favor of gay rights is an example of this. There is a generational shift. Of over 140 people who signed an Evangelicals and Catholics Together document called "The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage" in 2015, there were "no notable evangelicals under 40," according to prominent evangelical Jonathan Merritt. Overall, a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage and this may be partially attributed to high numbers of people who say they are "religiously unaffiliated." Furthermore, most major banks and technology companies support gay rights, making it nearly impossible for anyone to consistently boycott gay-friendly companies and still live in the modern world. Some leaders are ready to acknowledge the political defeat and move on to another topic. Today, they have begun to campaign for “religious liberty,” their preferred term for the idea that individuals should be allowed to exempt themselves from complying with nondiscrimination laws on the grounds that their religious beliefs place them in disagreement with the law and that they should be able to behave in their public life in accordance with their private beliefs. Catholic columnist Ross Douthat wrote “The Terms of Our Surrender” to describe this as “a way for religious conservatives to negotiate surrender” to the existence of same-sex marriage. Jones pointed out that, as of 2010, “for the first time in its history, the U.S. Supreme Court has no Protestant justices.” [This is arguably still the case in 2017.] In response to the loss of cultural and political power that had always been assumed, some — like Russell Moore, author of Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel — are ready to let go of that "near-Christianity" and instead pursue something more actively religious and only secondarily cultural. Moore thinks that "authentic" Christianity that sticks to its theology without trying to assimilate to the broader culture in a misguided attempt to stay “relevant” is what keeps pews full. To Jones, however, this “suggests at least a partial denial of WCA’s death.” Jones acknowledges contemporary spiritual movements that involve “young, primarily progressive evangelicals mov[ing] to blighted urban areas so they can live among the poor” or “a contemplative rural lifestyle,” but observes that “these movements are minority movements by design” and notes: “These models all accept the death of WCA and offer in response a retreat to sectarian enclaves that are disconnected from politics.” A better approach, he thinks, is for the church to broaden and deepen its political awareness and interest. He quotes professor and minister David Gushee, author of The Future of Faith in American Politics: The Public Witness of the Evangelical Center, who says that evangelicals must move beyond immature politics such as "single-issue voting" and a "reactive, episodic, boom-and-bust cycle of political engagement." Instead, he thinks that they need to integrate public engagement and "bearing witness" into their religious beliefs. Jones says approvingly: "This approach accepts the death of White Christian America and encourages evangelicals to participate fully in a pluralistic society, but avoids the temptations toward domination and sectarianism, each of which is driven by nostalgia for a lost Christian America." To those who are relieved at the dying of the past order, Jones says, don’t gloat in your eagerness to welcome a new order. The next generation of would-have-been WCA “will ultimately bear the responsibility of choosing their own path, [and] its critics’ posture during this moment of grief may make one route more inviting than another.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vannessa Anderson

    I found the table of contents amusing. Here are a few of the table of contents. An Obituary For White Christian America; Who Is White Christian America; Vital Signs: A divided and Dying White Christian America; Politics: The End of the White Christian Strategy; Family: Gay Marriage and White Christian America; Race: Desegregating White Christian America; and this one was my favorite: A Eulogy for White Christian America. The End of White Christian America, though informative was a slow read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Timmy

    One of the most concise and critical books I’ve ever read. I can’t possibly go deeper without writing an essay. But this is a MUST read book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Morrow

    This thing is painful. Somewhere between a schadenfreude and a prescription to White Protestants. So, if you haven't read a newspaper in 40 years, you might want to read this book. Then you will learn that White Christians are generally angry about America becoming a pluralist society. It would be shocking to find out that the Bush Administration wasn't actually serious when they started "faith based initiates." Also, Old white Christians turned out to take a wrapper of Christianity and Libertari This thing is painful. Somewhere between a schadenfreude and a prescription to White Protestants. So, if you haven't read a newspaper in 40 years, you might want to read this book. Then you will learn that White Christians are generally angry about America becoming a pluralist society. It would be shocking to find out that the Bush Administration wasn't actually serious when they started "faith based initiates." Also, Old white Christians turned out to take a wrapper of Christianity and Libertarianism to hide their racist attacks on Barack Obama. Also you might be surprised to find out that most new evangelicals who push "Prosperity Gospel" really are trying to make consumerism "Christian." It also turns out that just like they were on Slavery, Women's Rights and Segregation, White Christians were on the wrong side of history about Gay Marriage. But if you have read a newspaper in the past 40 years, you don't need to read this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dan Connors

    This book's title is explosive and a bit misleading. By defining "White Christian America," the author deliberately excludes Roman Catholics, who make up a significant portion of that demographic. It's primary focus in on white Protestants- both mainline churches and evangelicals. And the book does not predict the end of white or Christians, but only their dominance over American culture, politics and decisions. As America shifts to a more diverse population, WCA and its stranglehold gets progre This book's title is explosive and a bit misleading. By defining "White Christian America," the author deliberately excludes Roman Catholics, who make up a significant portion of that demographic. It's primary focus in on white Protestants- both mainline churches and evangelicals. And the book does not predict the end of white or Christians, but only their dominance over American culture, politics and decisions. As America shifts to a more diverse population, WCA and its stranglehold gets progressively weaker. As a white person who attends a Christian church, I was curious to see what the author was talking about. This book was published in 2016, before the election, and it might have told its story a tad too early. The 2016 election, such as it was, was a triumphant victory for white evangelicals who doggedly supported Donald Trump's election and have reaped rewards with him in office. The author examines demographic data from the past century to chronicle the rise to power of white Christianity and predict its fall. The data is actually pretty persuasive. In 1976, 81% of white Americans identified as Christian and 55% as Protestant. As of 2017, only 43% of Americans are white Christians, and only 30% Protestant. The trend is accelerating, especially in the age of Trump and in the age of evangelical Christianity's war against homosexuals, which was lost in 2015 with the Supreme Court decision. Even more ominous, the current state of today's Christianity, much of Trump's base, is aging. The percentage of evangelicals over 50 is nearly 62%, and the portion of the church under the age of 30 has dropped by half in the past thirty years. The author points out that many Christians are still in denial about their decline, which explains their inability to face reality and rejuvenate their faith, choosing instead to cling to the past when they were dominant and life was simpler. The author, CEO of the public religion institute, presents a thoughtful and compelling look at the history of the church in America, its racist tendencies that go back to the civil war, and its entry into politics with Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. He shows how the election of Barack Obama in 2008 caused a freak-out among white Christians who felt compelled to sabotage President Obama's credibility and fitness as an American at every instant. He wasn't one of "them." This freak out has continued to this day, and WCA has had to resort to tactics that would have been unthinkable just years ago. In their efforts to cling to power they are now willing to consort with godless Russians, embrace a crooked womanizer in Donald Trump, rig elections and suppress votes, and come up with the most dire invective to describe Democrats and those who don't "belong." This book explained a lot to me about where we are, but I still don't understand how we got here. The spiritual dimension of Christianity has been stripped from the religion in support of the political dimension. The end of white Christian America won't come tomorrow and it won't come easily, but it will come, and hopefully something better will take it's place.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brahn

    A great reminder of the past two or three decades of watching as American Evangelicalism has rapidly gone insane. Filled with encouraging statistics that show this kind of piety is very much on its last legs. Highly recommended.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Reyes

    It might have a provocative title but it's conclusions are well researched. If you are like me and halfway through the book you begin to ask the question "Yeah, but what about Trump?". There is an "afterword" in some later additions of the book that aim to answer that question. Also worth noting, this book is more of a sociological study and less of a theological one. Well worth your time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Like anything published before November 2016, this book is a little out of date. However, it does not take away from the central arguments of the book that demographics are changing and WCA as a majority is a relic of the past. I would have liked this book to come out a year later just to hear the authors take on what is going on with WCA’s last gasp in he form of Trumpism, but I guess I will have to wait for his next one!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Will

    An interesting deep dive into the power and influence of White Christian America (WCA) - or lack thereof these days. It starts by covering the past, most notably the times of the "Moral Majority" and the likes of evangelical preachers such as Jerry Falwell & megachurches, and then works towards modern times by focusing on the diminishing membership rates and reduced control that these groups have over the larger population of the country. There are lots of interesting facts and stats to comb thro An interesting deep dive into the power and influence of White Christian America (WCA) - or lack thereof these days. It starts by covering the past, most notably the times of the "Moral Majority" and the likes of evangelical preachers such as Jerry Falwell & megachurches, and then works towards modern times by focusing on the diminishing membership rates and reduced control that these groups have over the larger population of the country. There are lots of interesting facts and stats to comb through here. I did not know that most WASPs were indifferent - or at least not strongly invested - towards abortion rights until the evangelical/Protestant churches decided to join up with the Catholic Church, who WAS invested in this issue, in the 1970s. It has become a major fringe issue for their groups but has also deterred many millennials and younger people from organized religion. The author does caution though that while their numbers are dwindling they do have disproportionate political power (thanks to so many citizens who can't be bothered to actually vote) and that they could flex their muscle in a last attempt to keep control. This was demonstrated with the 2016 election and the current maniac that is POTUS. The 'Religious Right' essentially declares him a messiah; completely delusional and misguided... even frightening. However, if the 2018 midterms are any indication, things appear to be on a more positive trajectory. There are people who lament the demise of WCA and some who dance on their graves. How will society move forward without the strength of these religious institutions? I think people will finally start to think for themselves (hurts doesn't it?) and be forced into self reflection. Ultimately, I think we'll be just fine.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heath Salzman

    Jones presents a compelling analysis of White Christian America (WCA): how it began, where it went wrong, why it is failing, and what is next. The real gem is the final chapter, it is truly worth the price of the book. In it, Jones offers a summary of positions forward for WCA that I believe are hopeful and realistic, if we can overcome our nostalgia for a past that never existed. To quote Jones, “White evangelical Christians may mortgage their future in order to resurrect their past.” Wow.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Palmer

    An excellent look at the decline of one of the nation's biggest, most influential demographics, and the changing cultural landscape that it finds itself in. The book divides White Christian America into two distinct groups. White mainline Protestants and white evangelicals. It discusses how each group has historically faced issues like LGBTQ rights and race, and how they could adapt or are adapting to the changes in the wider culture regarding these issues. There are a great deal of statistics, c An excellent look at the decline of one of the nation's biggest, most influential demographics, and the changing cultural landscape that it finds itself in. The book divides White Christian America into two distinct groups. White mainline Protestants and white evangelicals. It discusses how each group has historically faced issues like LGBTQ rights and race, and how they could adapt or are adapting to the changes in the wider culture regarding these issues. There are a great deal of statistics, charts, and graphs charting declining church attendance and religious affiliation, but rather than making the book too dry to read, they do a fantastic job of giving the reader an accurate picture of the state of White Christian America, and bolster his argument that this is a section of the population that is quickly losing influence and power Essential reading for anyone interested in Christianity in America.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This book isn't what its title might suggest. It's a measured discussion, by a man who appears to be devout himself, about how white Protestantism is declining in America today. He focuses primarily on race and lbgt+ rights as issues that have alienated younger Americans (who, according to surveys) view especially evangelicalism negatively. His actual argument is that organized Protestantism needs to change to adapt to evolving cultural norms.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Grady

    On one level, this book - published in July 2016 - hasn't aged well. Take this comment wrapping up the chapter on the political implication of the 'death' of White Cristian America: 'In 2016 and beyond, the shrinking white Christian voter pool will probably continue to support Republican candidates as much as they have in the past, but their loyalty will help the GOP less and less. By the 2024 Presidential election, even if the GOP nominee could secure every single white Christian vote, thee vot On one level, this book - published in July 2016 - hasn't aged well. Take this comment wrapping up the chapter on the political implication of the 'death' of White Cristian America: 'In 2016 and beyond, the shrinking white Christian voter pool will probably continue to support Republican candidates as much as they have in the past, but their loyalty will help the GOP less and less. By the 2024 Presidential election, even if the GOP nominee could secure every single white Christian vote, thee votes would land 3 points short of a national majority. The data point to one unavoidable conclusion: if the GOP wishes to remain competitive in 2016 and beyond, the White Christian Strategy, one of the most dependable tactics in the Republican playbook, will need to be put to rest.' One can fairly argue that Trump, while making a play for the white Christian votes, combined it with an emphasis on white grievance generally - but he clearly won without putting the White Christian Strategy to rest. It also possible that, by 2020 or 2024, the US will return to the trajectory Jones anticipated last year - but by that point, someone will have written a book that picks up this analytical thread but puts Trump and Congressional Republican politics in perspective, and readers will seek out that book, not this one. [Edit: the edition I read does not include Jones' post-2016-election Afterword, kindly excerpted by another reviewer. It understandably characterizes Trump's win as the last gasp of White Christian America. I suspect that a little more distance will be needed to weigh several competing explanations - for example, whether evangelical Trump voters betrayed their values and became essentially non-religious voters vs. white nationalists added just enough numbers to the white Christians base to win vs. the election ultimately didn't turn on religion, but on the vissicitudes of the economy in a handful of Midwestern states vs. the election reflected a sexism so pervasive that it temporarily masked the end of White Christian America. Time will tell]. Beyond the misfortune of failing to predict our current conditions, the book includes a lot of demographic detail that will not surprise folks who follow articles about American religion in the press - but it's neat to see the data all laid out in one place. That data is pretty clear: baring an unlikely revival, mainline white Protestant churches and white evangelical churches are declining in membership (in both relative and absolute terms) and in social influence. For the most part, the book takes a descriptive approach throughout, but the chapter on race adopts a strongly prescriptive tone, urging white Protestants to meditate on our need for repentance and reparation before thinking we are ready for racial reconciliation. One interesting passage late in the book (p215) cites Diana Butler Bass for a typology of mainline Protestant responses to the end of White Christian America: a 'neo-orthodox' turning inwards to a faith that emphasizes character formation; a panentheism that emphasizes environmentalism and anti-poverty work; and a 'liberationist' approach that emphasizes social, economic, and racial justice. I can see all three happening in the congregation to which I belong, and I'll think I'll seek Bass' Christianity After Religion, cited in Jones' footnotes, for more details of her analysis.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris Jaffe

    This is an interesting overview of one of the biggest ongoing demographic changes currently (or indeed in all US history). Jones notes how throughout almost all of US history, the culture of Christian whites could be taken for granted as the culture of the United States - but that's no longer the case. With racial diversity and with many whites leaving religion behind, the best data currently puts white Christianity at a bit under a majority. This book is about what that means for Christian comm This is an interesting overview of one of the biggest ongoing demographic changes currently (or indeed in all US history). Jones notes how throughout almost all of US history, the culture of Christian whites could be taken for granted as the culture of the United States - but that's no longer the case. With racial diversity and with many whites leaving religion behind, the best data currently puts white Christianity at a bit under a majority. This book is about what that means for Christian community going forward - and how it can revitatlize itself and stay relevant. Jones has his opinions. He's opposed to head-in-sand myopia where Christians deny reality around them, or try to isolate themselves from the rest. One definite theme in this book is that the nation and the religious communities all work best when there are sincere attempts at engagement with others. Much of what religious groups have done recently has been something of a rearguard action, a way to keep power when it's in decline. That's a big part of the reason for the politicization of religion: If you're losing the culture, at least try to hide that by winning the election. And when overall national turnout is low, that can be successful (and also deceiving). For instance, religious groups did great in the 2014 midterms - but it was also the worst turnout for Congressional elections since 1942. Mainline Protestant Christianity in America has had a while to get used to their declining influence. The days when they could help create a sensation by publishing Letter from a Birmingham Jail are long since over. Now, they're talk of Black Lives Matter is easy to ignore in the debate. Evangelical communities are just starting to encounter problems. All those years of growth for the Southern Baptist community have come to an end - and now they are in several years of decline. Evangelicalism in general is only propped by increasing numbers of Hispanic evangelicals, but they often have their own concerns and own organizations. The old focus by conservative evangelicals on porn, feminism, and gay rights really ain't what it used to be. There are some moves being made, but all too often the evangelicals pat themselves on the back for being the good people when they stay totally silent on racial matters. Heck, many southern churches opened up their own private (and avowedly segregationist) education academies due to integration. Jones also has a word of warning for critics of religion. Don't dance on the grave too much. Instead, look to Lincoln's notion of "malice toward none, charity toward all" to help American move past the cultural wars. Again, Jones supports engagement not denigration of the other. Jones notes that some of the most prominent public atheists have taken a clear turn to anti-Islamic bigotry. When the lesbian mayor of Houston tried to take legal action against some churches, the atheist community was silent in mentioning the First Amendment. That just serves to increase the cultural wars. In all, it's a good book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark Lawry

    I grew up in a very WASP family. By 20 I was about done (quietly) with religion and took off for the the U.S. Army. Three deployments confirmed for me I was done with religion, still quietly. Then I met a women who grew up in the Muslim world who had emigrated to the U.S. She was done with religion herself. Praise God. This allowed us to come together and have two kids. Neither religion would have ever approved of our terrible sinful lives. While the world debates if people of different faiths s I grew up in a very WASP family. By 20 I was about done (quietly) with religion and took off for the the U.S. Army. Three deployments confirmed for me I was done with religion, still quietly. Then I met a women who grew up in the Muslim world who had emigrated to the U.S. She was done with religion herself. Praise God. This allowed us to come together and have two kids. Neither religion would have ever approved of our terrible sinful lives. While the world debates if people of different faiths should even date we'll be exploring national parks with our 2 kids, not concerning ourselves with such drivel. Then 2016, as I listen to the racist crap around me I'll be less quiet going forward. If people don't want to hang out with us because my wife hands me all the pork....O'well. The problem with this book is it says nothing new. We know the U.S. is becoming more diverse, more open, more free. Jones spends most of the book reviewing our racist ignorant past. Let's just skip over the slavery and Jim Crow and remind ourselves of the KKK freaking out because a Catholic was about to run for president. It was preached that Catholicism was incompatible with democracy. If a Catholic was to win the presidency it would be the end of the American experiment. Nothing has changed. It is 2020 as I write this and we still have people preaching that market economics and democracy only work for certain people. The same people who tend to want to build walls around themselves. Jones argues that these problems can be fixed by the church and religion, and not an increasingly secular world. He just spent most of an entire book demonstrating with examples of why the church isn't going to do what he says it should. He enumerates several secular humanist writers and suggests they are wrong about a world becoming better as it becomes more secular. I would recommend reading all of those other authors (among my own favorites.)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This book was written before the election of Donald Trump, and some of its conclusions may be a bit premature. The premise of the book is not that Protestant Christianity has ended in America, but that the idea that America is essentially white and Christian is no longer the case. The author applauds this fact and suggests that Protestant Christianity should turn to it's religious message of glorifying Christ rather than influencing politics. The premise of the book is bolstered by many statisti This book was written before the election of Donald Trump, and some of its conclusions may be a bit premature. The premise of the book is not that Protestant Christianity has ended in America, but that the idea that America is essentially white and Christian is no longer the case. The author applauds this fact and suggests that Protestant Christianity should turn to it's religious message of glorifying Christ rather than influencing politics. The premise of the book is bolstered by many statistics, and a number of secondary sources.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Though at first I balked at the opening stories that were to illustrate the end of White Christian America (WCA) by thinking that this was a little too much of forcing events into one narrative, the research-heavy, nuanced, and responsible rhetoric throughout convinced me. A great example of this fairness comes during a chapter on race in which the Southern Baptist Convention responds to the current issue of racism: "But the concept of reconciliation is easily framed as a problem of the sinful na Though at first I balked at the opening stories that were to illustrate the end of White Christian America (WCA) by thinking that this was a little too much of forcing events into one narrative, the research-heavy, nuanced, and responsible rhetoric throughout convinced me. A great example of this fairness comes during a chapter on race in which the Southern Baptist Convention responds to the current issue of racism: "But the concept of reconciliation is easily framed as a problem of the sinful nature of individuals, one that tends to obscure structural injustice and the legacies of past wrongs. A singular emphasis on reconciliation as the end goal has a tendency to be self-undermining. While Southern Baptists, and the evangelical wing of White Christian America generally, show signs of having their hearts in the right place, their individualist theology may block the path that leads to the fulfillment of those aspirations." Similar balance and honesty are shown through the three main chapters on race, respond to LGBTQ inclusion, and WCA's involvement in politics.

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