The Global Rise of Religious Nationalism

The Global Rise of Religious Nationalism

Stephen Schneck for U.S. Catholic writes that right-wing populist nationalist movements are surging around the world. Schneck examines PRRI’s ChristianNationalism report, which found that adherents and sympathizers alike believe that the U.S. should declare itself a Christian nation, and that God has called Christians to exercise dominion over all areas of American society. Nearly 4 in 10 Christian nationalism sympathizers (38%) and half of strong Christian nationalism adherents (50%) support the notion of an authoritarian leader. The study found that 64% of white evangelical Protestants are either adherents or sympathizers of Christian nationalism, while white Catholics were far less supportive at 30%. Schneck concludes that it appeals to populations who are resentful in two directions: the elites they perceive as above them and those they perceive as below them.

Dissatisfaction With Guns at All Time High

Erika D. Smith for the LA Times writes that in 2020, sales to new owners hit an all-time high of 21 million, and the number of guns sold has not returned to its pre-pandemic level. Deaths from firearms, both by homicide and, more often, by suicide, reached a record high in 2021, up 23% from 2019, Smith notes. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29% of Americans have purchased a gun to protect themselves or their families from gun violence another 40% of Americans have taken a gun safety course or practiced shooting. “Constitutional carry” laws, which allows people to carry a gun in public without ever having received a background check, are now in effect in about 25 states. Gallup data has found that dissatisfaction with the lack of gun laws is at the highest it’s been in over 20 years, but partisan gaps remain in gun ownership and attitudes. PRRI research finds that Republicans (54%) are substantially more likely than independents (33%) and Democrats (19%) to say that they keep guns in their homes.

DeSantis Attempts to Woo Young Evangelicals

Ruth Graham for The New York Times writes the morning after signing one ofthe nation’s most stringent abortion bills into law, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida spoke to roughly 10,000 students at Liberty University’s twice-weekly convocation service, which the school claims to be “the world’s largest gathering of Christian students.” Graham highlights that Liberty University has long carried water for Republican politicians and conservative celebrities. Some students questioned the authenticity of DeSantis’ faith. While former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., said “I’m still 100% a Trump man,” PRRI’s recent Spotlight Analysis shows that DeSantis has a slightly higher net favorability among Republicans than Donald Trump, although he lacks Trump’s universal name recognition.

Why Has Every Postwar Generation Since the 1950s Become Less Religious?

Christel Gärtner for Big Think reports that in Western countries, surveys show that each successive postwar generation since the 1950s has been less religious on average than the previous generation, but the conditions under which religious and non-religious worldviews are passed on have rarely been the subject of comparative studies. Researchers found in many families, the youngest generation expressed surprise that churchgoing was obligatory for the grandparents and that elders were taken aback to learn that the grandchildren reflected sincerely on religion. The 2022 update to PRRI’s Census of American Religion found that the proportion of white mainline Protestants, white Catholics, and white evangelical Protestants have experienced significant declines in the United States over the past 15+ years, with the religiously unaffiliated category absorbing much of the fall-off.

What’s Buzzing?

Read PRRI’s spotlight “PRRI 2022 Census of American Religion: Religious Affiliation Updates and Trends” here.