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‘Will God always be white?’

That’s the provocative way David Gibson [1]poses the political question raised by a new Gallup poll on religion and politics. It shows that religious whites break heavily for the GOP — but believers who are Hispanic, Asian, or black break for Democrats. Gibson:

The United States is becoming increasingly “brown,” however. Is it time to start adjusting our lenses? Would we still talk about a “God gap” if most religious voters overall leaned Democratic, but they were mostly members of minority communities?

Excellent question. Based on current trends, whites will be a minority by 2050, and Hispanics will have doubled their percentage of the population, from 14 percent to 28 percent. Pew points out [2]that 82 percent of US population growth between now and then come from the children and grandchildren of today’s Latino immigrants.

Gibson’s question is about media perception of American political dynamics. Here’s an additional one, purely political: Will the rise of minority voting strength, especially among Hispanics, change the Democratic Party with regard to its openness to, and comfort with, religion? Amy Sullivan [3], what say you?

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18 Comments To "‘Will God always be white?’"

#1 Comment By MIke On October 31, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

I think the Democrats are comfortable with religion, as long as it isn’t coming from white conservatives. Democrats are happy about the role of the African American church, the concern Catholics have for Latinos and immigration issues, etc. The concern is over the role of Evangelicals and Catholics on non-social justice issues.

There are plenty of religious whites in the Democratic mix (including 90% of Jews), they just don’t hand out voting guides on abortion and gays and they worry about the influence of the church on politics.

#2 Comment By dl On October 31, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

I’m less sure. The DC government, a Dem institution if ever there was one, wasn’t real thrilled about African-American churches calling for a referendum on gay marriage.

#3 Comment By Steven On October 31, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

If we take sociologist Christian Smith’s observations of the reletive Biblical illiteracy of Hispanic Catholics (and especially Hispanic Catholic youth) seriously, I think we could predict that the future of the Democratic party would look very little different from todays party. That is, so long as religion is marginal in your life and politics are based on other things, they are comfortable with your religion. In asmuch as hispanics who are Protestant- who in Smith’s study were much more likely to know their Bible and take it seriously in their daily life- become Democrats, the results to the party of the secular left would be decimated. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see if what the future holds is an increasingly Brown left and a surprisingly Brown right that is split along the same ideological lines?

#4 Comment By Noah On October 31, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

“Will the rise of minority voting strength, especially among Hispanics, change the Democratic Party with regard to its openness to, and comfort with, religion?”

I doubt it. First, the illegitimate birth and abortion statistics among Hispanics are quite high — not quite stratospheric like blacks but much higher than whites — and the trend is getting worse. Not all Mexicans cling to rosary beads and bow down to Mary statuettes.

Second, Hispanics, as a group, are much poorer than, and thus more dependent on government services than, middle-class church-going whites. Hispanics are less concerned about non-economic issues than either middle-class white conservatives or upper-class white liberals.

Third, while Hispanics will be a large voting bloc for the Democrats, they will not be a significant source of funds. An astounding proportion of donations to the Democrats (and GOP, too, though less so) come from a certain segment of our society — a certain tribe, if you will — which is quite hostile to traditional Christianity and is ardently committed to non-economic leftism. They call the shots, not the rank-and-file.

#5 Comment By MIke On October 31, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

The DC government, a Dem institution if ever there was one, wasn’t real thrilled about African-American churches calling for a referendum on gay marriage.

Yet, DC Democratic candidates–white and black–never miss the opportunity to show up at black churches on Sundays during election season. The gay marriage issue is a one-off. In DC, the other issue is those African American churches weren’t in DC, but in Maryland.

#6 Comment By MIke On October 31, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

Conservatives who believe they can build a “Brown” majority inside the GOP are kidding themselves, especially the conservative elite we see today. No matter how much Latinos may agree on abortion and gays, the anti-immigrant rhetoric and the legitimacy of people like Krikorian and Sailer inside the conservative intellectual class mean it will stay permanently white.

#7 Comment By Scott in PA On October 31, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

“Will the rise of minority voting strength, especially among Hispanics, change the Democratic Party with regard to its openness to, and comfort with, religion?”

No, because the minority voting bloc is primarily concerned with keeping the gravy train rolling, not with whether the engineer is a believer.

Although there will come a time when there will be almost no liberal white males in any positions of authority, which will be kind of fun to see.

#8 Comment By Conradg On October 31, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

I think everyone knows that what white people think and believe and vote for is far more important than what brown people think and believe and vote for. And I do mean everyone. The left will never be “religious” if religious white people don’t vote that way.

#9 Comment By Hector On October 31, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

Re: No, because the minority voting bloc is primarily concerned with keeping the gravy train rolling, not with whether the engineer is a believer.

Yup, brown people are just welfare parasites who don’t care about God. Keep telling yourself that, and perhaps then you’ll get more of us to join your party. Seriously, man, do you people even listen to yourselves?

#10 Comment By VikingLS On October 31, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

Hector as a Republican I can say the basic problem with Republicans is that we’re too stupid and too proud to see our own flaws. We tolerate low-grade racism like in the comment above and then don’t understand why blacks and hispanics don’t see WE’RE the ones with God on our side.

#11 Comment By Noah On October 31, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

“We tolerate low-grade racism like in the comment above”

As opposed to the explicitly racial appeals that Democrats (of all races) direct at black and brown voters? Anti-white sentiment among the left is so common as to go unremarked, even unnoticed.

As for the Republicans, they are the party of Bush (W and Jeb), Rove, McCain, Perry, (sometimes) Bloomberg, Murdoch, Giuliani, and a synagogue of neoconservative pygmies. For years this crowd has tried to bribe Hispanics with subprime mortgages, illegal alien amnesties, no limits on legal immigration, speeches in Spanish, lax border security, and tacit acquiesence on affirmative action — all to little or no avail. Hispanics (who, BTW, are not uniformly against abortion or gay marriage in any case) want more services that benefit people like themselves. Absent an historic partisan realignment, that means advantage Dems.

#12 Comment By Matt On October 31, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

Maybe theology has nothing to do with it.

The Democratic Party exists to take money from people who do not vote Democrat and give it to people who do.

The Republican Party exists to stop the Democrats from doing this.

#13 Comment By dl On October 31, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

Yet, DC Democratic candidates–white and black–never miss the opportunity to show up at black churches on Sundays during election season. The gay marriage issue is a one-off. In DC, the other issue is those African American churches weren’t in DC, but in Maryland.

Of course, they show up. It may be an exaggeration to say that’s where the voters are, but not by much.

As to DC’s African-American churches and the gay marriage debate, it’s incorrect to say that the churches that opposed were Maryland churches.

[4]

To the extent that Maryland’s African-American churches were opposed gay marriage, it’s not a one-off, as they were the most vocal opponent of the General Assembly’s gambling initiative, as well.

I’m certainly not saying that you’ll see the parishoners voting for the GOP. Rather, it’s more likely that parishoners simply stay home rather than vote.

#14 Comment By Conradg On October 31, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

Matt, so why do blue states run a deficit with the federal government, while red states run a surplus? The rhetoric of the conservatives seems designed to distract from the largess they take from liberals when no one is looking.

#15 Comment By Conradg On October 31, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

“Will God always be white?”

This reminds me of one of my pet peeves: most depictions of Jesus show him to be a white European, whereas obviously he was a brown-skinned Palestinian Jew. If the churches depicted Jesus as a brown-skinned man, perhaps that would go a long way towards making minorities seem more virtuous and accepted by church-goers. Or, it might lead to more conversions to Mormonism.

#16 Comment By VikingLS On October 31, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

“As opposed to the explicitly racial appeals that Democrats (of all races) direct at black and brown voters? Anti-white sentiment among the left is so common as to go unremarked, even unnoticed.”

So what? The shortcomings of the Democrats don’t make Republicans any more virtuous. Being the lesser evil isn’t anything to be very proud of.

#17 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 1, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

What do you mean “always”?

The notion that God is “white” is a rather recent invention. Although brown-skinned missionaries from the Mediterranean world did offer the pale barbarians of the north an icon called “the White Christ,” to make their God culturally relevant (or at least one third of him), nobody really started thinking of “white” as a race until the Spanish and Portuguese began calling lightly tanned people “blancos” and deeply tanned people “negros” about 500 years ago. Read Anna Julia Cooper’s Ph.D thesis at the Sorbonne, there is a copy at the Schomburg Center in New York. Even then, over Portuguese opposition, the Vatican received a native African RC bishop from Kongo in the 17th century.

So the notion of God being “white” is a passing fad. God wasn’t always white, won’t always be white, and never was particularly white, except in the sense that “though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow.” If you saw anyone with skin white as snow, you’d running screaming in the other direction.

A minor side note to Matt: The Republican Party, likewise, exists to take money from people who do not vote Republican, and give it to people who do. That is why elections are determined by people who aren’t quite sure which party is taking from them, and which party is giving to them, so they vote different ways different elections.

Noah, on the other hand, won’t be voting Republican any time soon. He’s waiting for a party that will take money from all those he names, and give it to Noah.

Although nondiscrimination against gays is a sound principle, Democrats are foolish to allow gay marriage to be cast as a “right.” If it comes to a referendum, DC would vote it down by a wide margin. Privacy and noninterference is one thing. Approbation of the entire community is not a constitutional right. Every group that announces itself en masse, “we’re oppressed too” is not automatically entitled to whatever it wants.

#18 Comment By Noah On November 1, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

“Noah, on the other hand, won’t be voting Republican any time soon. He’s waiting for a party that will take money from all those he names, and give it to Noah.”

I think that this was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but it really doesn’t jibe with my two comments on this post. FWIW, my wife and I intend to homeschool our children when we have them (we don’t yet). We will thus be paying for a major service of government while choosing to decline its benefit to our own family.