Back in the 1950’s, The Episcopal Church was known as the Republican Party at prayer. This lasted until 1960. After that, as a result of the civil rights struggles, the Episcopal Church has slowly moved away from its identification as the party of the well-off and supporter of the status quo. Nowadays, The Episcopal Church appears to have gone to the other extreme. So, has anyone taken on the role of the Republican Party at prayer? Well, yes, uhm hum, really so, there is a replacement.
The graph above comes from Christianity Today, long a bastion of evangelical thought. If you click on the graph, you can follow it to the original article titled, “In Sandy Hook Debate over Gun Control Vs. Mental Health, Evangelicals Diverge from Rest of Nation.” However, the title is misleading, as one can read from the graph that the article is really about white Evangelicals versus all other Christians, versus the population in general. The graph is also slightly misleading for another reason, and that is that White Evangelical Protestants are also included under the heading of All Americans. Thus, though it is harder to understand, look at the table below from the same article.
As the text of the Christianity Today article points out very clearly, once you break down the figures farther, there is a clear difference in most areas between White Evangelical Protestants and other Christians. One of the biggest set of differences is between them and Minority Christians. It points to the divide that I have blogged about before. Most White Evangelical Protestants cannot figure out why Minority Christians vote so different from them. The answer is found in graphs and tables like those above.
Only in the areas of stricter security measures is there some general agreement among the various groups. However, that is talking about an official law enforcement presence, not about individuals who are concealed carrying. In allowing more people to carry guns, White Mainline Protestants join with White Evangelical Protestants in agreeing that this is an important issue.
It is when you consider the largest percentages that the differences begin to stand out, as Christianity Today points out. Nearly half of Minority Christians are in favor of stricter gun control as are one third of Roman Catholics. White Mainline Protestants favor better mental health support by close to one third. But, when you add those two categories together, over 50% of White Mainline Protestants, Minority Christians, Roman Catholics, and the Unaffiliated all support either stricter gun control and/or better mental health support. More availability to guns ranks from third (in the case of White Mainline Protestants) to almost lowest rank among Minority Christians. This should not be surprising, as Minority Christians have suffered the most from the easy availability of guns.
Meanwhile, the lowest of the defined categories among White Evangelical Protestants is gun control, while the highest is the culture war slogan of putting more emphasis on God and morality in schools and society. While there is a strong emphasis here on mental health, there is also the strong emphasis on allowing more people to carry guns.
Not touched in this graph is the issue of abortion, which is considered politically determinative by White Evangelical Protestants, but not by other groups of Christians. When this issue is added to other culture war issues, it turns this group into an almost sure member of the Republican Party.
Thus, I think I have cogently argued that there is a new Republican Party at prayer, and those are the White Evangelical Protestants. In their own way, they vote as reliably for the Republican Party as some Minority Christians vote for the Democratic Party.