Did Decline of Christianity and Church Attendance Help the Rise of Trump?

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a church service, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., September 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The decline of Christianity in the U.S. helped President Donald Trump secure the Republican nomination, an analysis argues.


“The best way to describe Trump’s support in the Republican primaries — when he was running against the likes of Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich — would be: white evangelicals who do not go to church,” Timothy Carney wrote Jan. 17 for The American Conservative.

Using Voter Study Group data, Carney found that Trump did best among Republican primary voters who seldom or never attend religious services.

Carney, opinion editor for The Washington Examiner and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, also writes about this topic in the forthcoming Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse, which will be published Feb. 19.

Carney doesn’t place the blame on working-class whites who stopped going to church, but sees it as a complicated story of economic decline contributing to church closures.

“Economic collapse goes hand in hand with the desiccation of religious institutions,” Carney wrote. “When factories or coal mines close, some portion of the population flees. Still others stop going to church ….

“Absent strong job prospects, fewer adults form families. When people have fewer weddings and christenings, and fewer kids to educate on right and wrong, they go to church less. Of course then, this becomes a vicious circle: in communities less anchored in church, there’s less family formation. A place with fewer families is a place less attractive to employers — thus this social and moral collapse is both a consequence and a cause of economic collapse.

“The ‘economic anxiety’ is inextricably tied with the collapse of church and family. The latter is the more dangerous problem.”

Carney concluded by noting the “bitter irony” of church decline leading to Trump, for those on the secular Left who believe a less religious nation is a better nation.

Others have also argued that the rise of Trump is a symptom of the decline of religion in America.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Napp Nazworth