By Aaron Earls
The U.S. is on the way to becoming majority-minority, and many white evangelicals are worried about how that will impact the nation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of the children born in the country will be born to ethnicities other than non-Hispanic white by 2020. Two decades later, in 2044, more than half of the U.S. population will be a minority ethnicity.
A study from PRRI found a slim majority of white evangelicals are concerned about the transition. Fifty-four percent say the U.S. becoming a majority-non-white nation will be mostly negative and 44 percent say it will be mostly positive.
White evangelicals are the only major religious group to express such worry over the demographic realignment.
Significant majorities of Hispanic Catholics (81 percent), black Protestants (80 percent), and religiously unaffiliated (74 percent)—along with half of white Catholics (51 percent) and white mainline Protestants (51 percent)—say the shift will be mostly positive.
Those concerns among white evangelicals also extend to immigrants, refugees, and other international visitors to the U.S.
More than half of white evangelicals (57 percent) say immigrants threaten traditional American custom and values, while 43 percent say immigrants strengthen our society.
Again, white evangelicals are the only religious group in which a majority feel this way.
Among white mainline Protestants, 48 percent see immigrants as a threat to American values, with 50 percent saying they strengthen society. White Catholics are also closely split: 47 percent believe immigrants threaten our values and 51 percent say they strengthen them.
Two-thirds of Hispanic Protestants (63 percent) and black Protestants (67 percent) believe immigrants strengthen our values. Three-quarters of religiously unaffiliated (73 percent) and Hispanic Catholics (76 percent) say immigrants strengthen American society.
White evangelicals are also split on whether or not they favor passing a law to prevent refugees from entering the U.S.
Fifty-one percent of white evangelicals favor a law barring refugees, while 49 percent oppose. White mainline Protestants are also divided, with 47 percent in support of a law preventing access for refugees and a slim majority (52 percent) opposed.
About 6 in 10 white Catholics (57 percent), Hispanic Catholics (62 percent), and Hispanic Protestants (63 percent) are opposed to a law that would prevent refugees from entering the U.S., along with about 7 in 10 black Protestants (70 percent) and religiously unaffiliated Americans (72 percent).
Majorities of white evangelicals (72 percent), white mainline Protestants (63 percent), and white Catholics (60 percent) favor a temporary travel ban for people from Muslim-majority nations.
Majorities in all major religious groups are opposed to family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border. Fifty-six percent of white evangelicals oppose policies that separate children from their parents, along with 68 percent of white mainline Protestants and 69 percent of white Catholics.
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.