Recent surveys show a stark divide among the values Americans hold. For some, the shifting demographics of the nation are enough to justify violence. Voters discuss why some far-right Christians say they’re now willing to resort to dangerous tactics to gain political power.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
The 2023 American Values Survey, conducted by the PRRI and Brookings Institute, found that there is growing support for political violence amongst Christian conservatives. The same people also show more willingness to ignore the rule of law to gain political power and hold more conspiratorial beliefs.
In examining why that might be, Robert P. Jones, the founder of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), said, “There is a real belief in Apocalypticism among conservative white Christians.”
Jones went on to say that “white evangelicals sincerely believe that God designated America to be a promised land for white European Christians.” So, the nation’s shifting demographics are a massive concern to them.
“Many conservative White Christians truly believe that they have a divine mandate and entitlement to the country,” Jones noted, saying that such a mandate justified political extremism and violence to secure their desired outcome.
Save the Country
“Meaning, when they say they want to ‘save the country,’ what they mean is that they want to prevent the democratic liberalization of the US by force because they see the rise in atheism and egalitarian politics as the destruction of America,” one commenter said, responding to Jones’s statements.
“These people are literally insane,” another commenter proclaimed. Over 180 others agreed with the sentiment.
Others thought the conservative Christian right was far from mentally unstable. In their eyes, these sentiments come from an intelligent plan.
Change Is the Enemy
“They are simply authoritarians who see that their political ideas have become untenable but refuse to accept that and change,” one person explained, noting that there was nothing insane about them.
Not a Real Threat
Several pointed out that a willingness towards violence didn’t mean the evangelical right was actually going to bear arms. “That doesn’t mean they will actually resort to violence, of course,” one commenter explained.
It’s Just a Poll
“Answering a poll question is cost-free and the same thing as yelling at the TV,” another person pointed out as several other commenters began to discuss a potential civil war.
Others noted that “Apocalypticism” is a major problem, even if it doesn’t lead to a full-blown civil conflict. As one person explained, this set of beliefs leads to a “refusal to accept reality.”
“They are [mad] they are the minority in this country and are willing to take up arms to change it,” added another commenter. “Doesn’t sound like democracy to me.”
Old But Toxic
“Christians have been predicting the apocalypse since the crucifixion,” another person said. “One of these days, someone will be right. In the meantime, this belief is at the center of some of the most toxic Christian figures.”
Many commenters also thought it’s this set of evangelical beliefs that keeps far-right Christians in support of conservative policies, even if those policies don’t benefit them.
“They will never support any constructive or progressive policy even if it materially helps them because doing so means acknowledging that they are stuck at the bottom with all the people they despise,” one commenter explained.
Several commenters wondered why people were willing to buy into beliefs like this. Some thought it was mere superstition. Others said it stemmed from the need to feel superior.
Sign of the Times
A few noted that the willingness to buy into far-right evangelical beliefs might stem from more external factors. “Things are objectively worse for many Americans,” one person explained. “60% live under constant financial strain, paycheck to paycheck. Constant stress changes a person mentally.”
The Youth Votes Democrat, Americans Discuss Why
Since 2016, the majority of voters under 35 have favored Democrats. Americans discuss why Gen Z and millennials show up at the polls, favoring the left.
15 Presidential Elections Americans Wish They Could Change
Presidential elections hold the power to reshape history, making alternative results fun to ponder. Americans explore how different things might be if pre-1984 presidential elections had different results.
International Views of Biden and the US
Are international views of Biden and the U.S. positive or negative? Pew Research Center was on a mission to find out, and these were the results.
28 Most Liberal Countries in the World
Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you’re on, it’s fair to say that the U.S. is more socially liberal than many countries. But for pro-liberals, it’s disappointing (albeit perhaps not surprising) that these 28 countries are more liberal than the U.S.
Could Trump Have Won Pre-2016?
Given Trump’s incessant popularity, many are wondering whether Trump could have won the presidency before 2016. Was there something special about that year? Or could we have had President Trump sooner?