Christmas is here and a majority Americans are ready to celebrate—in fact, nine in 10 will celebrate Christmas in some way. And although the religious worlds of white evangelical and black Protestants are remarkably similar, PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones notes in his monthly Atlantic column that deep racial divides exist when looking at the two group’s stance on race and the criminal justice system. Jones credits much of this to the controversial grand-jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo. and Staten Island earlier this year.
Among Christians, the two groups who share the most in their approach to Christmas celebrations are white and minority evangelical Protestants…they are significantly more likely to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, to read the Christmas story from the Bible, and to believe that the nativity narrative—including the Virgin birth, the angels communicating with shepherds, the appearance of the star of Bethlehem, and the arrival of wise men from the East—is historically accurate…Ironically, despite their shared religious worldview, there are virtually no major subgroups in the American public who disagree more than white evangelical and black Protestants do about the fairness of the criminal-justice system in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In a national survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute from November 25 to 30, two thirds (66 percent) of white evangelical Protestants agree that blacks and other minorities receive treatment equal to whites in the criminal justice system. More than eight in 10 (82 percent) black Protestants disagree with this statement.