The media, both television and online newspapers, have focused almost entirely on Donald Trump having a base of support among people who have suffered during the recession that came at the end of the second term of President George W. Bush.
Many of those who support Trump may be people unhappy with Supreme Court decisions making same sex marriage legal, giving gay people equal rights, guaranteeing that women retain the right to abortions and even legalizing marijuana.
These decisions are strongly supported by evangelical and other conservative churches. The problem is people are leaving these churches in droves, according to “The End of White Christian America” by Robert P. Jones.
Changing demographics, lowering the white majority, also is contributing to churches losing members.
“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,” the book says.
It adds, “The American religious landscape is being remade, most notably by the decline of the white Protestant majority and the rise of the religiously unaffiliated. These religious transformations have been swift and dramatic, occurring largely within the last four decades. Many white Americans have sensed these changes taking place all around them, and there has been some media coverage of the demographic piece of the puzzle. But while the country’s shifting racial dynamics alone are certainly a source of apprehension for many white Americans, it is the disappearance of White Christian America that is driving their strong, sometimes apocalyptic reactions. Falling numbers and the marginalization of a once dominant racial and religious identity— one that has been central not just to white Christians themselves but to the national mythos— threatens white Christians’ understanding of America itself.”
The appearance of Trump has given conservative Christian Americans a way to express their displeasure, other than shouting at the televisions.
This year Gallup Polls for the first time found 50 percent of Americans approve of abortion rights. For four years same-sex marriage has been approved by a majority.
Homosexual rights were first approved by a majority in 1999.
Although a majority has approved of medical marijuana for a decade, this year a majority approve of legalizing recreational marijuana.
This election is likely the last chance of conservatives to stop the country moving to make these rights part of our culture.
And it will be remarkable, based on current polls, if Trump is not defeated, possibly in a landslide.
The anti-marijuana laws are in an even tougher spot because state after state has legalized it. The Supreme Court cannot be blamed.
There is growing support for dealing with climate change, as well.