The Roots of Christian Nationalism Go Back Further Than You Think

The Roots of Christian Nationalism Go Back Further Than You Think

At TIME, Robert P. Jones examines the Doctrine of Discovery, showing how it furnished the foundational lie of white, Christian “chosenness” that shaped the white American worldview. From colonial “conquest” to the January 6 insurrection, Jones shows how the Doctrine of Discovery’s moral and religious arguments justified centuries of white supremacist violence in the United States and continue to animate the modern white Christian nationalist movement. This piece is an excerpt from Jones’ forthcoming book, The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy and the Path to a Shared American Future, released next Tuesday, September 5 from Simon & Schuster.


Louisiana Pushes To Empty Death Row. Here’s What We Know

Roby Chavez at PBS reports that Louisiana could be on the precipice of emptying its death row for the first time. This summer, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who has publicly called on state lawmakers to end the death penalty, received requests for clemency from 56 of the 57 people on death row. He directed the state’s pardon board to move forward with the requests and the board is expected to review 20 cases in the next three months. Chavez underscores the racial disparities: 63% of Louisiana’s death row prisoners were convicted of killing a white person; only two white people are facing the death penalty in Louisiana for killing a Black person. PRRI research finds that nearly six in ten Americans (58%) believe a Black person is more likely than a white person to receive the death penalty for the same crime.


Texas Just Added Exceptions to Its Abortion Ban. Does That Make a Difference?

Shefali Luthra at 19th News reports that a new Texas law going into effect today will allow exceptions to the state’s near-total abortion ban, but physicians in the state say that, even in those cases, it will not realistically  change access to abortion. The two types of pregnancies named in the new exceptions are life-threatening unless treated by an abortion, however  under Texas law doctors who provide abortions under these circumstances could still be taken to court where they would have to prove the care they gave was specifically to treat one of these two conditions. The new law does not include anomalies in which the fetus has virtually no chance of survival, patients with cancer, or victims of rape or incest. PRRI finds that 72% of Americans oppose laws that do not allow abortion in any case except to save the life of the mother.


Opinion: I Left the Church — And Now Long for a ‘Church for the Nones’

In a recent Washington Post column, Perry Bacon Jr. describes his experience of going from a practicing Christian to a “none” in recent years. According to PRRI’s 2022 Census of American Religion, Bacon shares this identity with nearly one-third of Americans (27%). While a combination of political events, personal growth, and exclusionary church policies led to his disaffiliation, including not wanting to bring his three year old into a faith community whose belief system he did not fully share, Perry also names the parts of religion that he misses, pointing to what he calls “a church-size hole” in modern American life.


What’s Buzzing?

Read PRRI’s full report “Challenges in Moving Toward a More Inclusive Democracy: Findings from the 2022 American Values Survey” here.