Evangelicals “listen” to Republicans on scriptures, religion expert says
A leading religious studies scholar believes that many evangelical Christians in the United States are currently listening to the Republican Party about the teachings of the Bible.
Dr. Anthea Butler, professor and chair of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, made the assessment in an interview Wednesday with MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid. During the segment, the professor addressed the conspiracy theory touted by some prominent conservatives that Democrats want more immigrants to replace Republican and white voters.
“One of the things that I think is really important about this is that if you look at the statistics on white evangelicals right now, they are the group least likely to want to welcome immigrants, which goes against it. of what their Christian doctrine is supposed to be, that you welcome the stranger, don’t you? ”said the butler.
“You’re supposed to do this as a Christian. But they don’t listen to what the Scriptures say. What they listen to is what the Republican Party says,” the professor said.
In April, Butler also shared his concerns about white evangelicals during a webinar titled White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America.
“As much as I hate to say it, I’ll say it this way, if evangelicals don’t change, they pose an existential crisis to all of us,” the cleric said.
“They have divided the nation politically. They don’t want to believe in climate change. They don’t want to get vaccinated… they are integral to why we can’t move forward because they say they have religious beliefs but it is a religious reluctance. It is not something that concerns belief, it is not what they believe theologically. It is a positionality that they have, that they chose to have and that leads us to the brink, ”she added.
A poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute in March 2020 showed that a substantial majority of white evangelicals appeared to view immigrants in a negative light. This study found that about two-thirds (67%) of white evangelical Protestants view “newcomers” as a threat to American traditions.
Additionally, about two-thirds (66%) of white evangelicals said these immigrants were invading the United States. Notably, it was the only religious demographic included in the poll with a majority sharing this view. The survey also showed that 62 percent of white evangelicals believe immigrants increase crime in local communities.
The religious population voted overwhelmingly for former President Donald Trump in 2016 and again in 2020. About eight in ten white evangelicals voted for the Republican candidate in both elections. Trump campaigned in 2016 primarily to prevent undocumented migrants from coming to the country, “Build the wall” being one of his most popular slogans.
News week contacted Butler for further comment, but did not immediately receive a response.