|Even with Unaffiliated Americans, no Democratic Guarantee in 2020 Election|
America has gotten more liberal, New York Times columnist Thomas Edsallwrites; however, a 2020 Democratic presidential upset is not guaranteed. “The result of the Mueller investigation has set back Democratic hopes for an easy victory; the history of presidents running for a second term favors incumbents; and the economy under Trump is booming,” Edsall says in his new piece that explores the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans and the group’s potential political impact. But, as PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones and PRRI affiliated scholar Paul Djupe, point out white evangelicals could become more politically engaged and assertive, further driving the Republican Party as a result. “The anxieties that produced about a changing country and white evangelicals’ place in it were actually integral to pushing white evangelical Protestants toward support for Donald Trump in 2016. So these changes are not just now upon us; they’ve been an engine driving the political dynamics for some time,” Jones tells Edsall.
|Republican Legislator Prays For Forgiveness over Muslim Elect|
As Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives swore in Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell (D), the first Muslim woman to be elected in the state, Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R) begged for forgiveness. “God forgive us — Jesus — we’ve lost sight of you, we’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us,” she said. The prayer, filled with a bevy of references to Jesus, was received by many as offensive and inappropriate. Others have condemned it as Islamophobic. “It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders — leaders that are supposed to represent the people,” Johnson-Harrell said afterward. A 2018 PRRI poll shows widespread agreement on Muslim discrimination. More than six in ten (62 percent) Americans say there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims, while roughly three in ten (31 percent) say there is not.
|Trump’s Spiritual Adviser Claims Divine Intervention|
Paula White, Trump’s spiritual adviser, and personal pastor, claims she’s on a mission from God, writes Shane Croucher in Newsweek. White runs a Florida megachurch that generates millions of dollars and believes advising Trump is her personal mission from God. While Trump has come under attack for his faith, White says frequently testifies to Trump’s “sincere and deep faith.” White is among many evangelical leaders to support the president. According to PRRI’s/The Atlantic 2019 survey, almost seven in ten (68 percent) white evangelical Protestants have a favorable view of Trump, including 33 percent who have a very favorable view.
|Faith Leaders Denounce Controversial Tennessee Bill|
Many faith leaders in Tennessee have denounced the state’s “slate of hate”: a group of 12 bills aimed to restrict the rights of LGBT people in Tennessee. Introduced by conservative legislators, the proposed bills restrict LGBT rights in adoption and public accommodations, ban same-sex marriage, and protect businesses that refuse service to LGBT customers. “As leaders of faith communities, we oppose these bills in the Tennessee General Assembly,” an official statement by the clergy says. “They promote discrimination rather than justice and demean the worth of LGBTQ people in our state.” According to a PRRI poll released this week, majorities of all major religious groups in the U.S. support laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and the workplace. Sixty-four percent of Tennesseans support LGBT nondiscrimination protections as well.