The America envisioned by its Founders — a country of a majority of white Protestants — no longer exists.
For the first time in its history, an American Values Atlas study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) has revealed, America is no longer a majority white Protestant country, the Huffington Post notes.
In fact, as the evangelical branches of the Protestant religion are becoming less white, the influx of Spanish Catholics means that even in the "Bible Belt" states, like Georgia, Protestants in 19 states now are in the minority.
These states, and the percentage of white Protestant Christians in each state, are Hawaii, 20 percent; California, 25 percent; New Mexico, 33 percent; Nevada, 36 percent; New York, 37 percent; Alaska, 37 percent; Texas, 37 percent; Maryland, 38 percent; Arizona, 38 percent; Washington, 42 percent; Florida, 42 percent; Oregon, 43 percent; New Jersey, 43 percent; Colorado, 44 percent; Illinois, 46 percent; Georgia, 46 percent; Vermont, 47 percent; Delaware, 48 percent; and Louisiana, 49 percent, the Huffington Post reports.
Dan Cox, PRRI research director, told the Huffington Post, "The U.S. religious landscape is undergoing a dramatic transformation that is fundamentally reshaping American politics and culture."
"Consistent with national trends, the evangelical side of Protestantism is becoming less white," PRRI reported.
"Today, roughly two-thirds, or 66 percent, of Protestants who identify as evangelical or born again are non-Hispanic whites. Black evangelical Protestants make up 21 percent of all evangelical Protestants in the U.S., while nearly one in 10, or 9 percent, are Hispanic. Among evangelical Protestants under the age of 30, only 52 percent are non-Hispanic whites."
The Washington Post notes
that Catholicism is the most common religion in 17 states, Protestantism in 15 mostly Southern states, and "unaffiliated" is the most common in 13 states.
The growing trend of nonaffiliation with religious groups is impacting the white Protestant statistics, and age plays a major role.
The PRRI found that over one-third of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are affiliated with no religion, as compared to just 11 percent of seniors over the age of 65.
The generation gap crosses ethnic borders, with 27 percent of young Hispanics reporting nonaffiliation, compared to just 9 percent of older Hispanics, and 39 percent of Asian-Americans surveyed reporting nonaffiliation, as compared to only 8 percent of Asian-American seniors.
Among African Americans, 23 percent of those surveyed reported being unaffiliated, as compared to just 7 percent of older African Americans, the PRRI reports.
"Thirty-eight percent of young white non-Hispanic Americans are religiously unaffiliated, compared to 12 percent of white seniors, a 26-point generation gap," the study notes.
The political effects of the change are being felt. While only 35 percent of white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage, 28 percent of Hispanic evangelical Protestants agree.
However, when it comes to immigration, 76 percent of Hispanic evangelical Protestants believe immigrants strengthen America, as compared to only 36 percent of white evangelical Protestants.
"White evangelical Protestants are facing a generational divide on same-sex marriage, but not abortion," the PRRI notes.
Some 45 percent of young white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage, and 49 percent are opposed, but among seniors, only 19 percent favor it and 74 percent are opposed.
Yet when it comes to abortion, 31 percent of the young favor legal abortion, while 32 percent of seniors agree.
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