Author Uses Data to Explain ‘The End of White Christian America’

Visiting speaker and scholar Robert P. Jones examines the cultural consequences of a new reality — that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation.

Robert P. Jones, the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), argues that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation. In his book The End of White Christian America, Jones explains how this change will alter the politics and social values of the U.S. in the near future.

A leading scholar and commentator on religion, culture and politics, Jones will discuss his data at 7 p.m. Monday, March 27 in the Dunning Memorial Chapel at Alma College.

Admission is free and open to the public. Copies of his book will be available for purchase in the Chapel before and after the talk.

<em>Cover of Jones' 2016 book.</em> Cover of Jones' 2016 book.Book an ‘Illuminating Text’

Last year, the New York Times described Jones’ book as “quite possibly the most illuminating text for this election year.”

“Religious Studies is an incredibly diverse field, and Robert Jones’ work at PRRI is a prime example of what it looks like when undertaken from the perspective of sociology and political science,” says Kate Blanchard, professor of religious studies at Alma College. “You could say that what he’s done is take hunches or religious stereotypes that lots of people have and put them to the test with the help of big data. In some cases, what he finds backs up our hunches, but in other ways this data calls them into question.”

The book’s examination of the decline of white Protestantism is especially interesting in light of the 2016 presidential election, says Blanchard.

“In the end, the nation had to choose between two white Protestants who appealed to two incredibly different groups of voters,” she says. “One thing that became clear on Nov. 8 is that the decline of white Evangelicalism is not evenly distributed around the country, and because of the structure of our democratic representation, white Evangelicals still have a disproportionately powerful voice.”

Scholarly Authority on Religion and Politics

The author of three books and numerous articles on religion and public policy, Jones appears regularly in a “Faith by the Numbers” segment on Interfaith Voices, the nation’s leading religion news magazine on public radio. He is frequently featured in major national media such as CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post and others.

Jones serves as the co-chair of the national steering committee for the Religion and Politics Section at the American Academy of Religion and is a member of the editorial boards for the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and for Politics and Religion, a journal published by Cambridge University Press for the American Political Science Association.

He is also an active member of the American Sociological Association, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the American Association of Public Opinion Research.

He holds a Ph.D. in religion from Emory University, where he specialized in the sociology of religion, politics and religious ethics. He also holds a M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a B.S. in Mathematics and Computing Science from Mississippi College.

Story published on March 01, 2017