Robert P. Jones: Trump St. John’s Photo-Op Is ‘Shameless’ 

Robert P. Jones: Trump St. John’s Photo-Op Is ‘Shameless’

PRRI data shows that 73% of Americans wish that President Trump’s speech and behavior was more reminiscent of his predecessors. St. John’s Church, a historic Episcopal church near the White House, has hosted Trump’s presidential predecessors for centuries. On Monday, President Trump staged a photo-op of his closest advisers outside the church. In order to get there, law enforcement officers used tear gas and other means to clear peaceful protesters from the area around the church. “Unbelievable contrast,” writes PRRI CEO and founder Robert P. Jones. “On Aug 28, 1963, St. John’s Church was open and held integrated services for 700 to support MLK’s March on Washington. Today it’s being shamelessly used as backdrop for Trump holding a Bible after his ‘law and order’ speech.”

LGBT Nondiscrimination Laws are Popular in States Without Them

“In states with no existing protections, nondiscrimination laws are popular across party lines, winning the favor of 60% of Republicans, 70% of independents, and 79% of Democrats,” writes PRRI’s Ian Huff in a recent Spotlight Analysis. “Solid majorities of conservative Republicans (55%) and conservative independents (59%) in these states favor LGBT nondiscrimination protections,” Huff continues. PRRI data has consistently shown broad support for LGBT nondiscrimination protections across the U.S.

White Supremacists Pose as Antifa and Call for Violence Online

More than half of Americans (57%) say that say President Trump’s decisions and behavior encourage white supremacist groups, while just 6% say he has discouraged those groups. NBC News reports that one prominent white supremacist group (under the guise of an “antifa” organization) appears to have tried to incite violence at protests across the U.S. “As protests were taking place in multiple states across the U.S. Sunday night, the newly created account, @ANTIFA_US, tweeted, ‘Tonight’s the night, Comrades,’ with a brown raised fist emoji,” reports NBC. This rhetoric was followed by veiled threats of violence and hateful conduct. The fake account was reportedly linked to the white supremacist group Identity Evropa.

Religious Studies and the 2020 Election

On Tuesday, June 9, join PRRI CEO and founder Robert P. Jones for a webinar on the 2020 election. Jones joins Melissa Rogers of Wake Forest University and David Campbell from the University of Notre Dame to discuss how religion scholars can share work related to the study of religion and this election season. The webinar will be hosted by The Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum. RSVP details here.

Americans Trust Local Government Over Federal

In April, PRRI’s Brianna Tucker looked at how different groups across the U.S. trust the government at varied levels of society. In 2017, “[r]oughly one-third (34%) say they trust their state government most of the time or nearly always. About half (51%) say they trust their state government some of the time, while 14% say they never trust it. More than four in ten (43%) Americans say they trust their local government most of the time or nearly always.” In a recent piece on Medium, former President Barack Obama touched on this uneven distribution of confidence in the American government. “The elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels,” Obama writes.