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Study: Anti-Christian Population Not Growing, But Is Richer

Study: Anti-Christian Population Not Growing, But Is Richer
(Ray Tang/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 October 2017 06:57 PM

The number of Americans who dislike conservative Christians has not changed much over the past three decades – but those with that negative bias are now more wealthy, new research shows.

Sociologist George Yancey came to the startling conclusion after an analysis of 30-plus years of data to track approval ratings for evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, Christianity Today reported.

American evangelicals "are clearly incorrect in the notion that hostility towards conservative Christians has increased over the last few decades," the University of North Texas professor wrote in the latest issue of the Review of Religion Research.

"But if those with anti-Christian hostility have gained economic power, then Christian activists may be correct in that they now pay a stiffer price for that animosity."

According to American National Election Studies questionnaires, the people who rated evangelical and fundamentalist Christians most negatively over the decades have consistently been politically liberal, highly educated, and less religious, Yancey found.

But in recent years, particularly 2012 and 2016, they have shifted to become richer, the data showed, Christianity Today reported.

This trend means the people pushing back against conservative Christians now have bigger budgets to bankroll their viewpoint, Yancey noted.

For example, when a wave of states considered religious freedom legislation in 2015 and 2016, major companies like Disney, Angie's List, and Wal-Mart came out against such laws and launched boycotts, Christianity Today reported.

"There's more explicit hostility toward Christians in some sectors of power — that is real and not imagined," Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told Christianity Today.

"There's always a tendency to have a siege mentality and to imagine that people hate us, when they're just not thinking about us at all. But I do think there are several examples where that's the case."

Yancey's research also found no drop in progressive Christians' approval rating for conservative Christians, which has always been slightly negative, Christianity Today reported.

"Yancey's findings fit the culture war dynamic we saw play out in this past election," Alan Noble, a Christian writer who wrote about the evangelical persecution complex in a 2014 article in The Atlantic, told Christianity Today.

"Donald Trump's campaign framed itself as a war against elites — the kinds of people who are likely to find conservative Christian views to be backwards or bigoted."

Yancey also found that even though overall approval ratings for evangelicals and fundamentalists are about at the same level as they were in 1988, the groups are more politically polarizing.

"Political conservatives have become gradually more supportive of conservative Christians, and political progressives have become gradually less supportive of conservative Christians over the past three decades," he wrote.

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Sociologist George Yancey came to the startling conclusion those who dislike conservative Christians are now more wealthy, after analysis of 30-plus years of data, Christianity Today reported.
christianity, wealthy, conservatives, americans
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 06:57 PM
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