Few demographic groups consistently poll more conservatively than white evangelicals.
On multiple issues, the most pro-Republican Party demographic group takes some of the most conservative positions on abortion, same-sex marriage and immigration.
But another topic which white evangelicals have repeatedly expressed their conservative views is diversity. And a recent poll is the latest reminder that large numbers of white evangelicals don’t view America’s increased ethnic and racial diversification as a positive thing.
More than half (52 percent) of white evangelical Protestants say a majority of the U.S. population being nonwhite will be a negative development, according to the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic.
According to the latest Census projections, white Americans will be in the minority (49.9 percent) by 2045, in part due to the aging white population. By that time, Latinos are expected to be about 25 percent of the population, while black Americans will make up more than 13 percent of the population. The Asian population will be nearly 8 percent. Multiracial people will make up nearly 4 percent of the population.
For those who have watched the responses of white evangelicals to some of the more racially charged moments in recent years, the results were not particularly surprising.
The Washington Post previously wrote about how Paula White, one of Trump’s main evangelical advisers, pushed back on those who favor more liberal immigration policies by dismissing the claim that Jesus Christ himself was a refugee. She said:
“So many people have taken biblical scriptures out of context on this, to say stuff like, ‘Well, Jesus was a refugee.’ Yes, he did live in Egypt for 31/2 years. But it was not illegal. If he had broken the law, then he would have been sinful and he would not have been our Messiah.”
If the worldview that increased diversity, particularly of the immigrant kind, seems undesirable, that might be because it is pretty consistent with the view of diversity espoused by the man some white evangelicals called a “dream president”: Donald Trump.
The president has repeatedly spoken — most recently while visiting Britain — about how immigrants change culture for the worse. He has called the desire to remove memorials honoring white men who fought to keep black people enslaved “sad” and “foolish.” And he has called for the firing of Americans protesting racism while using profanity to describe them.
These acts have often won him points with his base, which is made up of large percentages of white evangelicals. According to the survey, white evangelicals continue to overwhelmingly support Trump. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of white evangelical Protestants have a favorable opinion of Trump. And half of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics — groups that have supported Democratic presidents in the recent past — have favorable views of Trump.
The recent survey was a reminder to many that one of the places where America’s race relations problem is most prevalent is in the white evangelical church.