White Christians: US Has Declined Since Jim Crow 1950s


A new poll has found that 74 percent of white evangelical Protestants think that American culture has declined since the 1950s, an era when racist Jim Crow laws were prevalent in the South.

The 2016 American Values Survey was released by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute on Oct. 25.

According to The Christian Post, the poll found that 51 percent of Americans believe the current culture is worse than the 1950s, while 48 percent think the culture is better.

In the 1950s, segregation and lynchings still occurred, women and doctors could be arrested for abortions, public school teachers could lead children in religious prayers of the teacher's choice, there was limited access to birth control, divorce was difficult to obtain, some states banned interracial marriage, gay people could be arrested, McCarthyism was in full swing and Medicare did not exist.

There was also postwar prosperity in the 1950s. American workers, especially those in unions, could often afford to buy middle-class homes. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional in 1957. The U.S. auto industry was booming, and the National Highway Act of 1956 was passed to construct interstate roads, noted The Gale Group. TV and rock and roll music were all the rage.

The survey also said that most Republicans (68 percent), white working class (65 percent), white mainline Protestants (59 percent), white Catholics (57 percent) and all whites (56 percent) believe that American culture was better in the 1950s than the present day.

However, 66 percent of Democrats favored today's culture, along with 65 percent of Hispanic Catholics, 62 percent of African-Americans and 57 percent of all Hispanics.

According to age demographics, 57 percent of people 65 and older longed for the 1950s, while 60 percent of those aged 18-29 preferred the present day.

Politically speaking, 72 percent of people who support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump favor the 1950s, while 70 percent of likely voters for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton support the present day.

Sources: The Christian Post, The Gale Group / Photo credit: Glenn/Flickr

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