In Mixed News for Atheists, Democrats’ Religiosity Has Withered In Last 12 Years June 7, 2020

In Mixed News for Atheists, Democrats’ Religiosity Has Withered In Last 12 Years

Fodder for the right-wing outrage machine:

The percentage of Democrat and Democrat-leaning voters who identify as Christian has sharply declined since 2008, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. [The] report … found that while 73% of Democrat voters were Christian in 2008, by 2019 the percentage had dropped to 52%.

The large decline came for the subset of white Christians, who went from 45% of Democrat voters to 26%; nonwhite Christians had a smaller decline of 28% to 25% during the same time period.

Voters on the right have been shedding their Christianity too, but not nearly as dramatically.

Republican and Republican-leaning voters also saw a drop in self-identified Christians during that time period, going from 87% in 2008 to 79% in 2019. With Republicans, the white Christian subset fell from 77% in 2008 to 66%, though the nonwhite Christian percentage increased during the same time period from 10% to 14%. …

78% of white evangelicals identified as Republican or Republican-leaning, versus 17% who identified as Democrat or Democrat-leaning. …

Last July, Pew released a report that found only 38% of Democrats viewed the impact of churches on the culture as positive, a 19-point drop from 2010. By contrast, the 2019 report found that 68% of Republicans viewed the impact of churches on the culture as positive, a 6-point drop from 2010.

The news of religious feeling slowly collapsing among left-leaning Americans fills my non-believer heart with gladness, but it’s worrying too — because the trend indicates greater ideological separation between left and right, and a probable rise in toxic partisanship.

On top of that, the poll is a gift to Republicans who seem to believe (falsely) that religion is a moral anchor, and that Democrats lack it. I could see some GOP operatives turning the Pew numbers into a pretty effective campaign ad soon.

Christian Post reporter Michael Gryboski, in discussing the poll results, briefly revisits the idea that Democrats have a “God problem.” What does that mean? Three years ago, a Democratic strategist called Brad Chism
was among the people who claimed that some of the most vital “moral advancements” in U.S. history happened largely through the influence of the church and churchgoers.

“You look at women’s suffrage, civil rights, the abolition of slavery and all of these massive other changes — religion and religious people have played a role in moving society toward a higher plane,” said Chism,

… who is concerned about the perception that the Democratic Party is becoming estranged from people of faith.

Chism’s take looks like some serious historical revisionism to me, but I’ll leave the rebuttals for another time. For now, and given the events of the past 10 days, no one can credibly say that Democrats, God-inspired or not, are under-motivated in trying to effect great and overdue social change.

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