It’s depressing to consider that the protests for racial justice this summer haven’t changed many Americans’ minds about whether they’re personally motivated to fight for the cause, but the Christian pollsters at Barna Group say more people have fallen into the “not at all motivated” camp compared to a year ago. Many of those people shifted from the “somewhat motivated” camp.
What’s especially disappointing, though, is that the same results hold true for many Christians. They’re no better than most Americans on an issue that they should theoretically be all in on.
But within the Christian umbrella, the group shifting most into the “not at all motivated” camp is white Christians specifically.
Some minority groups are, naturally, highly motivated to address the racial injustices that may affect them. Among self-identified Christians, Black adults in particular (46% “very motivated”), followed by Hispanic adults (23% “very motivated”), are eager to be involved — something few white self-identified Christians express (10% “very motivated”).
Barna also found that white Christians were less likely than white Americans in general to believe there was a “race problem” in this country at all.
Religion News Service has more on these results:
“Christians generally, and practicing Christians in particular, have changed their minds on addressing racial injustice, but if anything, they’re actually moving away from being motivated,” said David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group.
Thirty percent of practicing Christians — people who identify themselves as Christians, have attended worship in the past month and claim to strongly prioritize their faith — say they are not motivated to engage in matters of racial injustice (12% unmotivated, 18% not at all motivated). That’s an increase from 2019, when 17% said they were not motivated (9% unmotivated, 8% not at all motivated).
Considering white Christians helped Donald Trump win the 2016 election and are pulling out all the stops to help him again this year, that’s not surprising. If you’re not turned off by Trump’s racism and the GOP’s complicity in voter suppression tactics and refusal to address our nation’s legacy on the subject, then why would you be motivated to fight a problem you don’t believe exists?
It’s ironic how little those Christians care about the issue, though, considering that Jesus Christ would likely have been a dark-skinned Jew lynched by a corrupt government. They’re obviously more in agreement with the Republican agenda than whatever the Gospels say. Plenty of black theologians, such as James H. Cone, have written books pointing out the parallels between the crucifixion and the killings of Black people by corrupt law enforcement officials.
Then, of course, there’s the rest of the Bible, which emphasizes the importance of helping the “least of these” (including refugees and the impoverished). They’ve had no problem ignoring those passages, too. Why would it be any different on race?
Politics inspires the faith of these Christians. It’s never the other way around.