Robert Jones: An Obituary for White Christian America


An Obituary for White Christian America

After a long life spanning nearly two hundred and forty years, White Christian America— a prominent cultural force in the nation’s history— has died. WCA first began to exhibit troubling symptoms in the 1960s when white mainline Protestant denominations began to shrink, but showed signs of rallying with the rise of the Christian Right in the 1980s. Following the 2004 presidential election, however, it became clear that WCA’s powers were failing. Although examiners have not been able to pinpoint the exact time of death, the best evidence suggests that WCA finally succumbed in the latter part of the first decade of the twenty-first century. The cause of death was determined to be a combination of environmental and internal factors— complications stemming from major demographic changes in the country, along with religious disaffiliation as many of its younger members began to doubt WCA’s continued relevance in a shifting cultural environment.

Among WCA’s many notable achievements was its service to the nation as a cultural touchstone during most of its life. It provided a shared aesthetic, a historical framework, and a moral vocabulary. WCA’s vibrancy was historically one of the most prominent features of American public life. While the common cultural ground it offered did not prevent vehement— or even bloody— conflicts from erupting, the lingua franca of WCA gave them a coherent frame.

As the nation was being born, George Washington invoked WCA in his first inaugural address. And when it was being torn apart during the Civil War, WCA provided biblical themes and principles that called the nation back to its highest ideals. Without WCA, neither Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address nor Martin Luther King, Jr.’ s, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” could have been written, let alone understood. Virtually every American president has drawn from WCA’s well, particularly during moments of strife.

During its long life, WCA also produced a dizzying array of institutions, from churches to hospitals, social service organizations, and civic organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and the YMCA. Beyond these direct functions, WCA also helped incubate and promote the missions of countless independent nongovernmental organizations that met in its facilities and were staffed with its members. Widespread participation in WCA’s lay leadership positions served as an important source of social capital for the nation, instilling in participants skills they carried, not only to other civic organizations, but to democratic governance itself.

But WCA has not been without its critics and controversies. Its reputation was especially marred by its general accommodation to and participation in the institution of slavery up until the Civil War. In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, WCA’s apathy toward— and in some quarters even staunch defense of— segregation in the American South did little to overturn these negative associations. Its credibility was also damaged when it became mired in partisan politics in the closing decades of the twentieth century. Late in its life, WCA also struggled to adequately address issues such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, which were of particular importance to its younger members, as well as to younger Americans overall.

WCA is survived by two principal branches of descendants: a mainline Protestant family residing primarily in the Northeast and upper Midwest and an evangelical Protestant family living mostly in the South. Plans for a public memorial service have not been announced.

• Robert P. Jones,
The End of White Christian America

• • •

We will be exploring more of what Robert Jones discusses in this book in weeks to come.

110 thoughts on “Robert Jones: An Obituary for White Christian America

  1. From La Raza Lawyers of San Diego:

    There’s absolutely nothing about them, or the name of their org, that is in any way related to Trump’s claims about them, or about Judge Curiel.

    Besides, PK, California was part of Spain’s colonies long, long before any Anglos showed up (not counting Francis Drake’s look @ SF Bay, because there was no English colony established there). I’m not sure why the presence of folks who more than likely have bern in CA longer than your family should be any cause for alarm. We Anglos are the upstarts in your area, not the other way around.


  2. Hillary embodies the moral ugliness of America. Nothing is beneath her, and no ignoble act is beyond her; and her supporters and followers want her ugliness and ignominy: they revel in it.


  3. This comment is starting to sound like the lead-in to one of those Grand Unified Conspiracy videos on the stranger YouTube channels, complete with the Secret War ignored by the Pacified Sheeple going to slaughter.


  4. Problem is when it becomes a Zero Sum Game, where the only way to get more for yourself (or your race, or your faction) is to take it away from The Other. Where the only way to climb up is to push the other guy down.


  5. Purity culture will always hurt people. And phenotype is the obvious expression of our differences. Race and ethnicity are the author’s discussion and thesis, whether he recognizes it or not. Good call, numo.


  6. What really struck me was just how racial American Christianity has always been. Maybe it depends on where you grew up, but where I came from, separate black and white churches are still the norm. And even more aggravating are the fundamentalist churches that loudly proclaim how they welcome people of every tribe and tongue and nation because of their one token black man, without realizing that in order for those people to join they must experience Jesus through a box that is so very white and square and 1950s that even I get hives.


  7. And you have a hell of lot of nerve accusing me of bearing false witness against the Birther King, who made a public spectacle of bearing false witness against Barack Obama’s eligibility to be POTUS.


  8. No, Patrick Kyle, you sidestepped the concern by altering the facts. Now you’re putting up a pretense of taking the moral high ground, when you are really only defending racism by falsifying the record of Trump’s comments. You want to deceive, and you want to be deceived.


  9. I was listening to some 80″s CCM the other day and I just could not help but love some of the songs and memories that the music evoked. For all the craziness that the Christian right has brought upon us, there is still something sincere and beautiful that was present in that culture that I worry we will lose with the demise of traditional Christian structures. Sometimes we as post evangelicals tear down too much, I’m afraid of what will be left. When I look at the present and the future I worry what we will bring to the table. The only thing that brings me comfort is that Jesus remains as relevant and fresh as ever..



  10. Robert F, In the above thread I answered you concerning Judge Curiel using facts, which you summarily ignored, and continued on your rant. You are not concerned with anything other than what you feel, facts be damned. You (and others) have crossed the line in bearing false witness against Trump and anyone who supports him. Fine have at it. Another symptom of the demise of what had once been one of the best Christian blogs in the blogosphere. I resolved not to come back here a couple times, but the memory of Michael and a sense of nostalgia overcame my better judgement. That’s unfortunate. I won’t make that error again.


  11. If he becomes President, he will be President of many people who will be basically hostile to him, and to Republicans (I now count myself among those so hostile, both to Trump and to the Republican Party); should he not speak to us?


  12. Late back to the game. My on-the-fly wording, “discussing race,” was less than clear.

    My point, Patrick Kyle, is that Trump continually claims to represent and defend a white America against its enemies. Not only does he continually say these things; they are a major part of his pitch. He’s dogged whistled to people fears about hispanics on multiple occasions; he has argued that Obama isn’t an American; he played ignorant and cute about the David Duke endorsement; his statements on “the muslims” are egregious. He’s hinted at identification cards and deportation. He’s wondered aloud why there is not more collaboration with the FBI by American muslims, that American muslims are offering cover. Even if he’s not entirely serious, this constitutes dumping gasoline on a flame.

    The entire symbol of what he proposes to do for America is a BUILDING A GIANT WALL.

    He’s nods to, shrugs off, and laughs about violence and the possibility of violence. It’s “passionate.”

    If you really want to get into the deep history of Trump’s statements about black people and employment of black people and housing, we could go there. Three words: New York City. Two words: Atlantic City.

    He does make a show of saying he loves “the Hispanics” or “the blacks” (wording that alone should make everyone cringe a bit). That’s part of the expected schtick, however. It’s empty words, when the platform you are running on is channeling resentment and casting about, willy-nilly, for enemies on whom to “get tough.”

    Trump barely has coherent arguments for policy; resentment and vague promises to be “smart” and “tough” is the bread-and-butter of his politics.


  13. The only reason Trump gave for his criticism and concern was that Curiel is of Mexican heritage; no mention was ever made of membership in any lawyer’s association. Curiel’s Mexican heritage was enough to disqualify him, according to Trump. That’s racism.

    And look: You’re reinventing history, and recent history at that; you conservatives claim not to do that…


  14. Robert F, Curiel is a member of an ethnic lawyer’s association called La Raza Lawyers of San Diego. The organization has been very vocal concerning Trump’s immigration stance. He was right to be concerned that Judge Curiel may hold the same view of his stance as the organization he belongs to. Therefore it is a legitimate question as to whether the judge would be impartial, knowing that he might have a previous bias against the accused.


  15. CM, i know you probably are well aware of this, but…. a lot of white Americans viewed immigrants from Mediterranean countries as black and treated them in that manner. It was certainly true in my home state, PA, as well as in NY – even in NYC itself.

    For that matter, thd late 19th-early 20th c. is when eugenics was at its peak, here in the US. Hardly coincidental. I don’t see how “race” (which is actually skin color) and ethnicity can be excluded from the author’s discussion and overall thesis.


  16. Patrick, this is anything but a “leftist” site. Most views expressed here are pretty darned centrist. But that doesn’t fit your narrative, does it?


  17. Sorry, but Rolling Stone magazine lost all credibility when their feature story about the alleged fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia was debunked.


  18. I see this as another ‘dog whistle’ to Trump’s ‘base’ . . . . racist dis-enfranchised white voters, PLEASE tell me I’m wrong about this

    Why should a Republican candidate for president address a group that is basically hostile to Republicans? I’m no fan of Donald Trump, but this actually sounds like a reasonable decision on his part.

    One more thing: why do you assume that Donald Trump’s “base” is racist? Again, I’m no fan of Trump, but why do you assume the worst of those who voted for him in the GOP primaries and caucuses?

    I can certainly understand where some of Trump’s supporters are coming from. When the current president took office, I was earning a decent salary while working for a company where I’d spent more than 20 years. I lost that job not long into the current president’s first term. Following an extended period of unemployment I took a job which a high school graduate, or even a reasonably intelligent dropout, could do, even though I have a bachelor’s degree. And when adjusted for inflation, I’m earning about what I was earning in my mid-20’s. If this is a recovery, I’d sure hate to see what a depression looks like.


  19. Please, Patrick Kyle, I would love to hear your defense of Trump’s attack on Judge Curiel. Explain to me how it’s not racist; it would be miraculous if you could, and I’d like to witness a miracle at least once in my life.


  20. Incidentally, Patrick Kyle: This is off subject, but Trump’s only basis for his claim to be qualified for POTUS is that he is a great businessman. In fact, he’s not a “businessman” but a salesman, a seller of his own name. He is not a maker, but a taker, a swindler and confidence man. That he’s managed to pull this off on such a grand scale, and make a killing for himself at it, is his only achievement; but he hasn’t been sued 3500 times because he’s a provider of good quality product and services. He’s a disgrace, to use a word that he’s applied so liberally to others.


  21. Gingrich is Trump’s political surrogate. Get real.

    We’re not talking about immigration policy. Gingrich wants American citizens, born in the US, to be “deported” if they fail his test. Are you up for suspending the Constitution? Where will you stop?


  22. Hello, Patrick Kyle, are you there? You wanted a specific, documented example of Trump’s racism. I gave you one. No reply? Well, I guess one can’t defend the indefensible.


  23. Robert F. I have a degree in History and have considered these things long and hard. Are these Newt’s ideas? Have you heard Trump espouse this idea, or is Newt saying it enough to tarnish trump in your mind? Maybe you should ask the French what they think of unchecked Muslim immigration.


  24. CM, is the pic by any chance the courthouse in Princeton, Indiana? It certainly looks like what I remember when I lived there as a boy.


  25. And there will never be enough evidence for you, and those who think as you do, to convince you that institutional racism continues to exist and requires institutional remedies. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was necessary, because racism is not only an individual matter adequately remedied by individual actions; it is an interpersonal state of affairs, that does not disappear with a few magnanimous personal gestures or acts.


  26. Racism in your mind is a moral debt or stain that consists not of specific incidents or real hatred and prejudice, but is more a general malaise. There will never be enough people of color in your congregation, work place, school, circle of friends, etc. to dissuade SJW’s that you are not a racist because Racism ! White Privilege! No wonder you are depressed.. and many of you have trouble with the doctrine of Original Sin or Total depravity, all the while your political and social views have us convicted of sins that even Jesus Himself cannot cleanse us from.


  27. I’m afraid they can win. I hope I’m wrong, that it’s in fact impossible, but I have terrible doubts.


  28. If Trump becomes POTUS (which I concede is entirely possible, though I hope he gets trounced and totally humiliated in the general election), he will use every means at his disposal to silence any speech critical of him, just as he uses non-disclosure agreements with his employees to do so now. Btw, if he becomes POTUS, he intends to have all White House employees sign non-disclosure agreements, if he can get away with it. After all, he has a lot to hide.


  29. Arresting people for speech considered illicit will become commonplace if Trump becomes POTUS.


  30. Such as his surrogate Newt Gingrich’s idea that all Muslims in the US should be subjected to a test to assess if they believe in sharia law; if they do, they should be deported (in the case of American born Muslims, one wonders: where should they be deported to? The hospitals of their birth?). Or perhaps you consider that ancient history, Patrick Kyle.


  31. The evidence that Trump is a racist? His public accusation that Judge Curiel could not be a fair to him because of Curiel’s Mexican ethnicity is a textbook example of racism, as Paul Ryan pointed out. Or do you consider that ancient history, Patrick Kyle?


  32. I wish somebody would rewrite that famous chapter from Moby Dick as Chapter 42:The Whiteness of the Trump: “It was the whiteness of the Trump that above all things appalled me.”


  33. The Center Cannot Hold

    At which point, the only thing left is which faction’s going to be running the ovens and which is going up the chimneys.

    Because then the rules of the Game of Thrones are in effect:


  34. And playing the Race Card off the bottom of the deck is a thoughtstopper and weapon to use at will, since at least the first OJ trial.

    It’s like “Fascism” coming to mean “Anyone who tells me ‘NO’ is a Fascist!”

    And in all the Race Cards, nobody mentions the murderous hostility between Black and Brown.


  35. As to that particular situation, I have no idea how accurate your assessment or that article is. However, collective guilt or historical guilt is a Social Marxist concept and a load of BS. It’s a political tool of power used to re engineer society.


  36. It is very easy to show that the Trump campaign is discussing race; it is all over Trump’s statements.

    So discussing race is now equated with Racism?

    stuartB, Have you ever met a real racist, a bona fide ‘n’ word slinging, refusing to hire minorities, firing them whenever they can hater? Do you know any White Power skin heads? I have. It’s not pretty. You don’t like Trump’s policies so in your mind he’s obviously Racist. Sorry, that does not constitute evidence.

    What evidence do I have that he’s not a racist you ask?Trump shares his speaking podium with people of all races. He has publicly embraced and comforted African American families grieving the loss of loved ones. He hires and fires without reference to race. People who are racist do none of the above. None of you have provided a single instance or statement that shows racism. My challenge stands. Broad appeals to generic unspecified racism without hard proof are so much BS.


  37. I guess it doesn’t matter that people of every color are working in his businesses and on his campaign staff.

    When his campaign rhetoric is premised on promises to enact massively discriminatory and unconstitutional programs against certain groups based on their origins and beliefs? Nope. The diversity of his workforce doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn.


  38. You are right, Heather, it will take time. But the change doesn’t actually have to happen for there to be tremendous upheavals and conflicts. As I said, “People don’t like to ‘think’ that someone’s going to kick them out of the driver’s seat.”


  39. Perfidious Albion for sure.

    Part of my family emigrated to Canada from Nottingham in the late 1700’s. During the Revolution the other half left upper New York state for Ontario. It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.


  40. The church I attend has gone from being a predominantly white church in a white neighborhood to being a predominantly white church in a melting pot community (the neighborhood has changed drastically in 20 years).

    We’ve had several families leave (semi-white flight) and even had a previous leadership group scouting out moving to white suburbia. The congregation resisted, feeling God had us in that community for a reason. (Lots of church ugliness in that span…lol…)

    A couple years ago, several of us who were on the church board made the observation that though our community had changed (and, to a lesser extent, even the congregation), our leadership team (aka the church board) was still all-white. We said that had to change, that we had to bring people into leadership who were representative of the community around us if we wanted the church to succeed in reaching them for Jesus, and we began taking steps to include people of all sorts in meetings and church business.

    Flash-forward to now. A refugee from South Sudan and an Argentinian are now on our church board.

    Change is not easy. You have to fight people’s fears (often even your own) and be determined and resolute. It takes thinking out of the box and deciding God has something better after all the pain and suffering.


  41. “…white Protestants have been driving Bus USA for a long time.”

    And still are, despite a provocative book title. Take a look at the US Congress: white Christians, anyone? (535 members of Congress: 46 are African/American) Take a look at governors of the US: Four out of 50 are not “pure” white, and none of those four are African/American (2 Mexican/American, one Indian/American, one Japanese/American). Of the eight “minority” Lt.-Governors, only two are African/American.

    Trust me, whites rule, and will for at least the lifetimes of everyone reading this board. Yes, change is coming — it has come a long way in my admitedly lengthy lifetime. I’m delighted. But before there is anything like real “equality,” where the ruling class contains minority numbers roughly equivalent to their proportion in the US population, the glaciers will probably have melted.


  42. You may be speaking to some of the comments, Mule, but let me say again that I don’t think this book and its arguments are about racism per se. It’s about the cultural upheavals that we’re seeing in the US that are growing out of unprecedented demographic changes and changes in religious affiliation. These mirror and surpass what happened at the turn of the 20th century when there was a huge backlash against European and Asian immigration and Roman Catholicism and Judaism.

    People don’t like to think someone’s going to kick them out of the driver’s seat, and white Protestants have been driving Bus USA for a long time.


  43. Nobody noticed, so I guess i will spell it out.

    Racism is not Christianity’s fault. White America is racist, but yeah, water is wet and Kermit is green. Racist and xenophobic has been default homo odians behavior since, uh, the Pliocene? You’d think part of the discussion would be about the remarkable progress we’ve made, here, in this country.

    I know little about FHA zoning laws, but I can guess both their content and their impact. Anglo-Normans have always been good about window-dressing whatever benefits their interests as a banquet for everyone. Perfidious Albion, anyone? What can I say? If you have to have a racial characteristic it’s more useful than fighting Celts, dancing Africans, or morose Russians.

    The amount of coercion used to remake us into the Get Along Gang has been historically, and may I add, dangerously high for American society. As long as King was alive, there was some discernable connection to moral progress along Christian lines. Then women piled on the rhetoric bus, then homosexuals, then transsexuals. Who’s next in with a ticket, and how high are we going to ratchet up the coercive behavior to make sure everybody gets their piece of the shrinking pie?

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

    The alt-right is shucking the opprobrium against racism and sexism, recasting the argument as “equalist” or “cuckold” (and its variants). They have the juice with them. They aren’t Christians, and they are getting prouder and prouder of that. Compassionate, altruistic liberalism’s only engine,only possible engine, is Christianity, however imperfect it might be.

    Bitching about Christianity as a source of racism makes about as much sense as bitching about forward motion as a source of lift under your wings.


  44. I live in Baltimore, where there is a lot of BLM activism.

    People are absolutely discussing it. Everyone who lives in or near the communities affected by alleged police misconduct are well aware of the homicide rate hear, the segregation, the housing problems — these communities live with it. They have lost people to it.

    I know this will shock everyone, but the media covers what the media wants to cover.


  45. White Christian America has died, and with it a common cultural touchstone.
    The center cannot hold

    I heard on NPR the other day that the “middle class” no longer comprises the majority of the US population.
    The center cannot hold

    Our existential threats now seem more internal than external.
    The center cannot hold

    I do not trust Hillary. I cannot abide Trump.
    The center cannot hold


  46. And deny the Twins winning??

    Tho that’s a good one. Is God so powerful that even he could give the Cubs a victory? Or the Vikings a Super Bowl?

    …best not to test the Lord Your God on that last one…


  47. Actually downtown and Midtown Detroit are BOOMING. Midtown is now the most educated zip code in America: Phds per capita. Yes, even more than The Bay. Nearly $2B in development underway.

    Detroit is complicated.


  48. Who he hires in his businesses and for his campaign is besides-the-point.

    The best taco salads can be found at Trump Tower.

    Checkmark for racial diversity attained.


  49. Detroit is the place you drive through to get to rich white Ann Arbor.

    Which is actually a pretty fun place to go to sometimes.

    Especially after Chicago and Detroit.


  50. God I hope so. I hope they don’t win. I hope they can’t just ride this ground swell of hate.

    Oh I’m sorry, hate is a trigger word. It makes people stop reading because it’s such a tired old canard.

    In love, would you kindly kneel and bite this pavement.


  51. I agree, Chaplain Mike. And it worries me and saddens me. It’s like everything I was raised to believe in sunday school, even in my fundamentalist churches…doesn’t matter. Jesus doesn’t matter. The gospel doesn’t matter. Salvation doesn’t matter.

    No, these other things matter. ALL other things matter.

    It’s honestly depressing. And some days I just want to fight everyone, other days I’m depressed.

    But every day…just love God and love your neightbor as you love yourself. I will make this world a better place. I will bend this world to my will. I will bring the kingdom. I will make today a better day for myself and everyone I come into contact with.


  52. Well those churches CAN’T be mono-racial. See that black couple that comes in, the older one? Proof.

    This “racial” stuff is such a tired old canard, I quit listening as soon as you say it. Especially when there’s ample evidence (right there, in that pew! and on our missionary wall!) of other races here at First Pres Baptist E Free WCA Church.


  53. why are they silent while inner city African Americans slaughter each other at a rate surpassing the number of American Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Are they?

    No, Jesus, all lives matter, not just the poor. Not just the widows. Not just the least of these. All lives, Jesus.

    However, where are the demonstrations against the drug dealers and gangs ravaging black neighborhoods?

    Ongoing. Let those with eyes to see.


  54. This type of stuff out of the police is like something from the twilight zone.

    Or my new favorite, police officers arresting people critical of police on social media. “Disorderly conduct”.

    That’s a new favorite.


  55. > so you could grow up in the suburbs with every opportunity

    Mr. Jones does mention in the interview the *fact* that 9 in 10 churches are mono-racial.

    And that 9 in 10 whites have no, and have never had, a significant relationship with a black person.

    Those are staggering numbers in contrast to demographics. Where I live – which is that far outside the median – population change by race since 1970:
    White -24%
    African American +76%
    Hispanic/Latino +945%

    Those 9 in 10 numbers are not sustainable.


  56. For real. Cook the popcorn.

    I’ll make a deal with the universe/God. IF Trump wins the nomination, can the Packers win the next four Super Bowls? Just seems fair.


  57. > To me, his nomination as Trump’s VP was the last nail in the
    > coffin of the religious right/WCA/moral majority

    Agree. This is not a campaign attempting to Win; it is a campaign clearly in recognition it has little hope of a near-term political future. It is about establishing a constituency.


  58. Ken, I do not deny racism exists, especially in tangible incidents and situations, but blanket charges of racism, especially aimed at political candidates, or the canard of ‘white privilege’ ring hollow. It is intellectually lazy. People claim Trump is a racist. When I ask them for specific evidence or instances, I am invariably met with a version of, “Well if it’s not evident to you, you are racist too.” That tells me they are too wound up in Cultural Marxism to waste much time listening to them.

    As to Black Lives Matter/All Lives Matter, here is my question. If Black Lives Matter so much to these protesters, why are they silent while inner city African Americans slaughter each other at a rate surpassing the number of American Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan? This is a national scandal and a travesty of epic proportions. I have a hard time working up sympathy for many ‘victims’ of police shootings with long histories of crime and violence, when innocent women, children and men are killed everyday by gang and drug violence. Are there instances of abuse by police? Yes. We need to do something about it. However, where are the demonstrations against the drug dealers and gangs ravaging black neighborhoods?


  59. > they intentionally paved over the culturally rich

    When you dig into the history it sometimes is like a dark comedy.

    One of the plans here was to TEAR DOWN the building housing our cities’ oldest MUSICAL SOCIETY…. to make room for a PARKING LOT to be the center of a NEW **ARTS** DISTRICT. Yeah.

    We’ll never know if they were being that blatantly ridiculous on purpose or not.

    Fortunately the previous “urban renewal” destruction of the beautiful city hall downtown created such a popular backlash that this kind of thing was stopped.


  60. Most prominent ones, anyway — obviously I’m speaking about the kinds of people who own or direct large organizations.


  61. It is very easy to show that the Trump campaign is discussing race; it is all over Trump’s statements.

    Who he hires in his businesses and for his campaign is besides-the-point. If a person could avoid being racist by having a black or hispanic employee, just about every racist in U.S. history is off the hook.


  62. P.K., if you did not want this to be about race, you picked the wrong banner and the wrong man.


  63. Burden of proof is on those who claim it’s racist, when there is plenty of evidence to the contrary in his businesses and his campaign staff.


  64. Here is a hint. Because the terms racist, misogynist, and bigot have been over used and are often used as slander, they have lost their moral force. A growing number hear these accusations and write them off for the lies they usually are and a signal that their opponents have run out of cogent arguments.

    Patrick I think you make a valid point. When I hear them I tend to switch off. Not because I do not believe there are race problems or bigots, but because those words seem to be used as place holders to mean whatever the one using them wants them to mean.

    Talk to me about that young man in Minnesota being pulled over an inordinate number of times and being shot, or police officers getting heavy handed with blacks over broken tail lights and you have my attention. There is something tangible. This type of stuff out of the police is like something from the twilight zone.
    Or people posting on facebook ‘all lives matter’ in response to cry from the black community which is to my feeble mind a way of trying to tell blacks to shut up.

    This is a complaint and a bit of a rant from someone who is about as honky as you can get, descended directly from the saxons of south England!


  65. Funny you should mention Mike Pence. To me, his nomination as Trump’s VP was the last nail in the coffin of the religious right/WCA/moral majority, whatever you want to call it. Mike Pence’s political career has been built on his assertion that he follows God first in all his political decisions. He tried to enforce laws that would allow businesses to refuse to serve or employ LGBTs if they felt that would compromise their religious sensibilities, has championed the expansion of tax funded vouchers to support private [uh, Christian] schools, has done all he can to align himself with even the most fringe pro-life groups in the name of God and then gets on a stage and fawns over a man who admits he never goes to church because he really doesn’t feel he needs it, is on wife #3, brags about sleeping with many, many others, has had nefarious business dealings, and is generally everything Pence claims to believe is leading the country to rack and ruin. I can only conclude that the WCA entry into all things political never, ever was about God but power and that is becoming glaringly obvious to all of us. The church may have been on the downswing, but hypocritical behavior like Pence’s is simply accelerating it.


  66. It’s bad here in Minneapolis too. Way back when, they intentionally paved over the culturally rich but economically poor black communities to build a highway for wealthy whites. It’s history, it’s fact. We’re still dealing with it.

    “oh but we didn’t do that, that was our parents/grandparents, racism is over!” so you could grow up in the suburbs with every opportunity, and your neighbor grew up in the ghetto after his parents and grandparents lost everything and had to survive.


    tell me again, Patrick Kyle. tell me again. tell me that good old story, the one I love to hear.


  67. The assertion of moral decline based on that premise is factually false [the response to that is typically to cherry pick some other data points].

    Points such as the usual Bright Red Murder Flag for WCA: HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY! DRUGS! DRUGS! DRUGS!

    But a Decline Narrative is an integral part of End Time Prophecy a la Darby & Lindsay. No Moral Decline, no Antichrist, no Rapture or Second Coming. See “Hell House: An Evangelism Eager to Leave” in the IMonk Archives.


  68. Detroit is Zimbabwe with a US zip code.
    (That from descriptions by a Michigan contact in Port Huron who WAS 1/4 black…)


  69. Like Serbs & Croats in the Balkans or Tutsi & Hutu in Rwanda, it’s become a matter of sheer survival:


  70. Everything Pence has done in that article will be cheered from the pulpits.
    Especially Points 2 & 4.


  71. Also, I think the current plague with white Christianity is that so much of it is driven by nostalgia.

    Listen close to the lyrics:

    (If you can sit through the mandatory commercial…)


  72. And when Reagan announced shortly after his inauguration that he was the President of ALL Americans, “not just of a particular group or religion”, all the “RONALD WILSON REAGAN = 666!!!!!” posters, graffiti, and sermons started popping up.

    And a year or two ago during that big Congressional gridlock crisis, who were calling the loudest for a Military Coup? (Hint: they were calling from pulpits)


  73. We’ll look at the book more in weeks to come. WCA is reacting strongly this year, but demographic changes are happening fast and even now, WCA is no longer the majority culture in the US. This is actually quite frightening to me. As we can see already in the visceral hatred of Pres. Obama and the loud support for Trump, there are plenty of battles to come.


  74. Maybe you should read the book or listen to the interview before you assume this is just about a certain conception of racism or bigotry. I think the author is making a more profound point than that.


  75. Another thing that I find puzzling. Why do you cram everything through the lens of Racism? (Misogyny and bigotry are also lenses in this kit) It seems there is an obsessive drive to classify and categorize things you don’t like into morally bad categories, then use it as a cudgel to beat any opposition into submission with these accusations.

    Here is a hint. Because the terms racist, misogynist, and bigot have been over used and are often used as slander, they have lost their moral force. A growing number hear these accusations and write them off for the lies they usually are and a signal that their opponents have run out of cogent arguments.


  76. “It has been TRUE for a l-o-n-g time…”

    We can date this precisely, to when they enthusiastically voted for Reagan over Carter. There were honest and principled arguments for voting for Reagan over Carter, but Christian values (in the Biblical sense, though not the “Biblical” sense) weren’t among them. Yet those praying the loudest on street corners were also the loudest cheering Reagan on.


  77. I use the daily lectionary linked to here on the site. Several days ago the reading was Ecclesiastes 9:17-18. v17 is “the quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” I was struck by its applicability to national news these days. Then, inspired by Mr. Robert F, I decided to make haiku from it. With apologies to The Preacher and to Robert F, here goes:

    Soft words of the wise
    should be heeded more than shouts
    from the king of fools.


  78. So he doesn’t go and check off all the politically correct stops on the campaign trail because..Racist! I guess it doesn’t matter that people of every color are working in his businesses and on his campaign staff.

    Trump won the Republican nomination with 7 million more votes than any Republican candidate in history. You all should probably ‘gird up your loins’ and get ready because he will be the next President. It’s coming.

    These threads are becoming a leftist echo chamber of ‘The sky is falling! The sky is falling!’


  79. Just finished listening to it. I’m on the fence if I will read it … I’m not sure what new information it brings to the table. But it certainly fits the current zeitgeist.

    The quibble I *think* I have with Mr. Jones is, at least as expressed in the interview, that this is “also an economic angle” [his words] to the reaction we see. To me that sounds like a **thundering** understatement. Looking at maps of the deepest red zones, or where specifically Trump has the strongest support, and the correlation to economic condition flairs like a beacon. Personally, I suspect you could drop Religion from the conversation entirely and next to nothing would change – people insisting on understanding the situation through a religious world-view are blinding themselves. But WCA is so deeply entangled in a particular economic model [one of historically unrivaled subsidizing of a particular category of the population] that the shape of each is nearly twinned.

    Very much appreciated that towards the end he rebuffs the Decline Narrative [the nation is going crazy!] as teenage births are DOWN, the number of abortions is DOWN, and the rate of Violent Crime are at a historic LOW. The assertion of moral decline based on that premise is factually false [the response to that is typically to cherry pick some other data points].


  80. There’s a lot more going on in the world than the implosion of white Christian America, altho it is a key player. There is a war raging underneath the headlines worldwide every bit as widespread and desperate as World War Two, and probably more so because the folks who brought us all the misery and death of that war are now fighting for their very lives trying to maintain control as the powers that be. This is the biggest world event since the destruction of Jerusalem and the eradication of the Jewish Temple religion, and for the most part we are ignoring it so we can watch the Punch and Judy show being broadcast to distract and befuddle us.

    It would be better entertainment than Star Wars except there are real people being hurt and killed, and no one can escape the consequences and collateral damage. There are folks here wounded. Bill is seriously down and in need of an immediate medivac, and the medivac is down. White Christian America should be leading the way out of the growing horror but they are too busy propping up their pee-pee theology and throwing rotten tomatoes at the Punch and Judy show.

    I have never been more hopeful. This so called Christianity spoken of as crumbling doesn’t have much to do with Jesus and has everything to do with the civil religion we have been discussing. It is a cultural expression and it has served its purpose well, all things considered. But like Jerusalem, its time has come and went. When Jesus spoke of not one stone being left on top of another, he might as well have been talking about the western church as it has grown over the past two thousand years. We have seriously blown it, but people are starting to wake up.

    Perhaps the worst part for most people is the sense of utter helplessness in the face of all the growing turmoil and discord that seems unstoppable. What can an ordinary person do other than to hunker down and hope to escape the worst of this? Yes, you can rage against the incoming tide. Rage feeds the forces of darkness and you might make a start by figuring out that you are being programmed for rage and despair. You can say no. You can pray. Not silly prayers trying to prop up this tottering, empty religious structure, but prayers connecting with Creator and sending out positive energy and light and blessing toward the powers now fighting for the highest good of all concerned and the rescue of planet Earth. They need those prayers. So do people here. Prayer makes a difference, perhaps all the difference, and words are acceptable but not required. You can help.


  81. I listened to the interview as well and it was quite good. What really struck me was just how racial American Christianity has always been. Also, I think the current plague with white Christianity is that so much of it is driven by nostalgia. I think one can see that with the rise of Trump and the politicization of White Christianity. I mean looking on evangelicals from the outside they look more like a political action committee, or a 1950’s nostalgia club then a church.

    Anyway the interview on Diane Rehm was really interesting. Thanks for sharing.


  82. > FHA policy more or less enforced segregated housing patterns

    Yep. I have the map the FHA made for my city. I am in the “yellow” zone – class C – so it was very unlikely anywhere in my neigborhood could have gotten a loan to build or renovate. One block over is in the dreaded “red” zone – class D. Look at the map and go for a bicycle ride – the boundaries of where those zones were is still quite clear.

    People are finally starting to bulldoze the homes in zone D … after some ~50 years with little to no maintenance many are beyond saving.

    And look where the interstates got dropped in? They snake right along the boundaries between the Green (A & B) zones and the yellow/red zones (C & D). Ever wondered why those interstates weren’t just built as a – more efficient and safer – straight line? Here is the answer. The business districts on the wrong side of the new concrete canyons were doomed.

    And the one deliberately non-segregated housing development, built by a coalition of developers and black business owners… yep, dead in the sights of the interstate builders. It was plowed over.

    No letting the Virtuous North off the hook.


  83. Yep. Also Federal support, especially in how neighborhoods were coded by the FHA, which affected who could access home loans. FHA policy more or less enforced segregated housing patterns.

    An older but great book, for those interested – “The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit .” Sugrue uses Detroit as a study in what happened in a lot of industrial cities in the north.


  84. > As far as Christianity is concerned, for them it’s subsumed in American whiteness

    On the upside Trump makes this Abundantly Clear. It has been TRUE for a l-o-n-g time, but that reality has been easy [for most] to shrug off – with the occasional wink-wink-nod acknowledgment. Now – there it is – front and center. Anyone denying it now is revealing themselves.

    This is WCA’s transition from zombie [the last couple decades] to corpse.


  85. > It’s the least bad move he can make

    As mush as his campaign is a farce – the man has political savvy.

    > The longer this campaign goes on, the more depressed I get about the future

    It may be terrible; but in the last couple of weeks my feelings have turned to the opposite. I am encouraged by what I hear. Life long Republicans canceling their membership to the party, “conservatives” going out of their way to make it clear they do not support him and will not vote for him,…. that is what I encounter on the street and hear about from others.

    It is ugly, but I believe Trump is a fracture in the Right/Conservative landscape that needed to happen. That fracture makes the possibility of something new.

    > And the conventions haven’t even happened yet…

    Oy, that is going to be a circus of epic proportions. I pray nobody gets hurt [physically].


  86. “WCA’s apathy toward— and in some quarters even staunch defense of— segregation in the American South”

    Limiting the discussion of segregation to the south is historically dishonest.

    Speaking from the midwest (western Michigan) – we’ve had institutionalized segregation aplenty; we built it into our physical structures, so we are still – in the 21st century – struggling to roll it back.

    We did not have Jim Crow. But, boy howdy, did we have – and still have to an extent – Racial Paternalism – treating certain populations as something to be ‘managed’. Lots of WCA support of those policies.


  87. And when Trump and his people say, “Make America Great Again”, they really mean, “Make America White Again”. As far as Christianity is concerned, for them it’s subsumed in American whiteness. Disgusting.


  88. Trump embodies the moral ugliness of America. Nothing is beneath him, and no ignoble act is beyond him; and his supporters and followers want his ugliness and ignominy: they revel in it.


  89. It’s the least bad move he can make. If he went and shot his mouth off, he would wipe out what little chances he has of getting black voters to choose him. If he went and tried to patch things up, he would alienate the “angry white male” vote that is rallying to him. If he stands pat, he can keep what he has and concentrate on playing to his strengths.

    The longer this campaign goes on, the more depressed I get about the future. And the conventions haven’t even happened yet…


  90. Another nail in the coffin of ‘white Christian America’ as reported by the UK’s Daily Mail:

    “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has declined an invitation to address the NAACP’s upcoming convention, flouting established precedent and highlighting anew the GOP standard-bearer’s struggle to attract support from non-white voters.”

    Read more:

    excuse? ‘schedule conflicts’

    I see this as another ‘dog whistle’ to Trump’s ‘base’ . . . . racist dis-enfranchised white voters, PLEASE tell me I’m wrong about this


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