Further confirmation today, if any were needed, of how low down their list of priorities the welfare of others is for American Christians.
After a summer of protests over the killing of black Americans by white police and increasing demands for social justice, equal treatment before the law for minorities and an end to institutionalized racism in the police, few people can be left thinking there is nothing wrong with American society and no grievances that need to be addressed; no wrongs needing to be righted and no evidence of the oppression of minority groups by the majority.
And yet the Christian polling organisation, Barna Group, has found that many more self-identified white Christians now say they are not motivated to address matters of racial injustice in American society than there were last year:
Thirty percent of practicing Christians — people who identify themselves as Christians, have attended worship in the past month and claim to strongly prioritize their faith — say they are not motivated to engage in matters of racial injustice (12% unmotivated, 18% not at all motivated). That’s an increase from 2019, when 17% said they were not motivated (9% unmotivated, 8% not at all motivated).
Against a backdrop of a general decline in concern for others amongst Christians the change has been most marked amongst those self-identifying as white Christian and least amongst black Christians, with Hispanics coming roughly between the two.
Grouping these responses under broader ‘concerned’ and ‘unconcerned’ categories, where ‘concerned’ is somewhat motivated, motivated or very motivated and ‘unconcerned’ is unmotivated or not at all motivated, there has been a 13% net decrease in ‘concern’ between 2019 and 2020 amongst white Christians with a corresponding increase in ‘unconcerned’.
Christians have been behind general public opinion on the question of whether America has a race relations problem and that small but significant difference was maintained. In 2019 49% of Americans and 46% of Christians said there was ‘definitely’ a race relations problem. Those have fallen to 46% and 43% respectively in 2020. Having witnessed widely publicised instances of black people being killed by white police and the ensuing outcry and anger, 3% more Christians have concluded that there is not a definite race relations problem in the United States!
Amongst those motivated to do something to inprove race relations only one suggested actions attracted more than 50% of respondents. Only ‘Read a book about racism’ was slected by more that 50% (62%):
Asked if they would take certain steps “if (those steps would) improve racial equality,” practicing Christians said they would read a book about racism (62%); attend diversity training (48%); attend implicit bias training (40%); take a course on race and ethnicity (46%); support some form of reparations (40%); change the type of candidate they typically vote for (42%); change their news media consumption habits to be more justice oriented (46%); and change their spending habits to be more justice oriented (47%).
These findings of decreasing concern for the welfare and rights of others amongst white American Christians comes on top of a recent finding that white evangelicals are the least concerned about other people catching Covid-19 from them, so they are least likely to comply with social distancing measures, wear a mask or avoid crowded places, and most likely to actively campaign against these measures. In effect, white evangelicals would rather put other peoples’ health and welfare at risk than be slightly inconvenienced and regard demands that they comply with the measures as an infringement of their rights.
It’s difficult to see where they get this selfishness from in their Bibles and, not surprisingly, the term ‘evangelical’ has now become a toxic brand amongst decent, compassionate, socially concerned Christians.
It’s easy to see why the haemorrhage away from the churches has increased so markedly in recent years as decent people come to understand how religion can be used as an excuse for people who need excuses for their greed, selfishness, racism and a general disregard for the rights and welfare of others.
Originally published by Rosa Rubicondior, 09.19.2020, under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.