Is the American Religious Right rooted in racism?

Certainly there are many African-Americans and other nonwhites who take very conservative views on abortion, homosexuality, etc., but they seem to be entirely outside the RR as a political movement. The RR is rooted in all-white Southern Protestant churches. We all know that, but I’ve never thought of the RR as a racist thing as such. But this article (dealing with the conundrum of why a thrice-married boastful womanizer like Donald Trump appears to have so much appeal to evangelicals) makes a persuasive case.

The article then discusses Reagan’s seminal role in establishing the RR as a political player, in non-accidental conjunction with his sympathy for integration-resisters and his race-baiting rhetoric about “welfare queens” and “big strapping bucks.”

Yes, at least partially, though that’s not as informative as it might seem – so many American institutions, political groups, and other entities, including the Democratic party (but oddly enough, not the Republican party), are at least partially “rooted” in racism, it seems to me. When white supremacy was the law of the land for a hundred years, and the law of smaller parts of the land for another hundred years, and oppression and plunder continued in smaller scales for decades, then racism is going to be part of many, many things.

But this is different – based on this article, it appears that the modern RR was at least partially formed in reaction to the civil rights movement and integration, the way the original Klan was formed in reaction to Reconstruction.

I think their argument is persuasive.

There may be roots, but I don’t think it’s a clear cut case. The RR is based on strong traditionalism, and tradition is very racist. However, there has been some movement in that group towards more ‘Christian’ attitudes that aren’t so strongly tied to racism. Issues like amnesty for illegal immigrants are beginning to divide them.

As for Trump’s divorces, these are protestants, divorce is a core religious concept for them.

There might be a valid point hiding somewhere behind that terrible Solon article. But when the writer suggests that even Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan is racist, it becomes really hard to discern the truth from BS.

Not a historian of religion, and have no studies to support, but I’ve long felt that one of the factors that makes religion so appealing to certain segments of the American population is that it is one of the few remaining areas in which an individual or group are allowed to discriminate.

This is something that Randall Balmer has asserted, but I don’t know if it has been verified by other historians. I got a bit annoyed with Balmer when he asserted in his book that white evangelicals were absent in the Civil Rights Movement, including Billy Graham among those absent. Graham was quite active in the Civil Rights Movement and his leadership was highly appreciated by Dr. King. That sort of stunning error soured me on the rest of his thesis, I find. However, if what he is saying can be corroborated by other historians, then there may be something to it.

:dubious: I’m guessing that you’re referring to Henry VIII founding the Church of England, in part because the Pope wouldn’t grant him an annulment from Catherine of Aragon. While that was one impetus for that schism, I don’t think that it’s at all accurate to call divorce a “core religious concept” for Protestants (especially since many Protestant denominations don’t trace their lineage back through the CofE at all).

If you mean this bit:

No, there’s no BS in that whatsoever.

That’s total bullshit.

The guy says, “This phrase is vague enough anyone can make it mean anything.”

Then the guys says, “And I want it to mean that the RR are a bunch of racists because I want them to be racist.”

Of course. My point is that divorce is not an strong moral indicator in the protestant RR. Remember that their demigod Reagan was divorced, serial marriage is well accepted in America, there really isn’t a question of why they would support a divorced candidate.

The general answer is no. There are certainly some groups in the RR who are racist but you can’t extrapolate that to to include all the RR. The OP tries to dance around this by hand-waving away the non-white conservative elements.

ISTM the conclusion is based on, you know, actually looking at the kind of RRs (and others) who are backing Trump.

Well then I guess you need to add Democrats to the list of groups that are rooted in racism.

Some racists support Trump, therefore, Trump’s slogan is racist. Because racism.

I think it’s racist to think that Trump’s slogan is racist. Because Racism.

“Reagan Democrats”? Yeah, probably; they were racist in 1980, why not now?

I don’t think it’s rooted in racism, I think the broad bible thumping culture is rooted in all the revivalism in the United States (we’ve had a few waves of it), and probably up until the 70s it was broadly black and white and not strictly political. The rise of Falwell’s Moral Majority and actively involved political religious fundamentalists came from Roe v. Wade I think first and foremost, and then greater acceptance first of gay toleration (in the 80s) and later outright gay rights. I think the large number of black evangelicals held similar views on abortion and gay rights at this time, but the Republican party itself had become so antithetical to blacks that there was no real way they were going to join the “political” religious right because that would’ve meant abandoning the Democratic party that they had switched allegiance to in the 60s/70s as its stance on Civil Rights changed and its stance on things like social welfare appealed to the black community.

I think in the pre-political days, white evangelicals, disproportionately concentrated in the South and often associated with lower education levels were probably racist to a higher than normal degree. So I think once you had a clear “politicization” of the evangelicals it shouldn’t be too surprising this base of people from which RR arose brought with it inherent racism.

So I guess I don’t think RR as a political movement evolved out of racism. I think it evolved out of evangelicalism, which included both black and white churches, but only the white churches got on board with the Falwell brand of RR, which caused a “racial political split” that didn’t necessarily exist before. I think this split has probably heightened the sense among RRers that blacks are “the other” and possibly made race relations worse, and I think given the demographics of white evangelicals a lot of them have always been racists.

Comparing SC and NV exit polls that included a demographic question about whether the voters were evangelical or born again Christians with the percentage of vote

If the proposition is true we’d expect Carson to underperform among Evangelicals. He doesn’t. He got 7.2% of the vote in SC (7% of evangelicals and 5% of non evangelical voters) and 4.8% overall in NV (but getting 8% evangelicals and 2% of non-evangelicals). Evangelicals were still his strength; Carson’s just weak overall. We might also expect Trump to overperform. He doesn’t. He gets similar numbers among evangelicals to his overall performance in SC and does slightly worse with them in NV. Both performed similarly to their overall nationwide polling levels in SC (where the 78% evangelical vote obviously has the potential to hide effect). Trump isn’t particularly strong with evangelicals; he’s just not weak with them. Carson does a little better with evangelicals than the rest of the party. That doesn’t seem to fit the article narrative.

The religious right tends to be associated with the values voters (those that answer that sharing values with a candidate is the most important criteria in polls.) Trump did horribly with the voters who’s priority was a candidate who shared their values. He was dead last in that group in SC (8%) and third with 20% of that group in NV. Trump has significant issues appealing to values voters. Carson outperforms with them.

It’s hard to say that means the evangelical or values voters isn’t more racist than the rest of the electorate. After all it’s only two states and Carson is just a weak candidate across all Republican demographics. The limited data doesn’t clearly support the claim though. Ignoring actual data in the election the article is supporting to explain is pretty weak. I suppose it’s easier to just point to couple decade historical underpinnings and imply nothing ever changes than actual make a solid case about what’s happening today one way or another.

Ok, so now we’ve established that the Democratic party is rooted in racism. So what’s your point?