Roy Gilbert

How Is The GOP Adjusting To A Less Religious America?

www.npr.org

When Ronald Reagan accepted the 1980 Republican presidential nomination, he ended his speech with a pious request.

“I’ll confess that I’ve been a little afraid to suggest what I’m going to suggest — I’m more afraid not to — that we begin our crusade joined together in a moment of silent prayer,” he said.

It was the preface to a presidency that would help make white evangelicals the staunchly Republican voting bloc they are today.

Fast-forward to a 2015 campaign event, when Republican consultant Frank Luntz worked to pin down soon-to-be-President Donald Trump on a simple question of faith:

“Have you ever asked God for forgiveness?” Luntz asked Trump twice, before getting this answer: “I’m not sure I have. I just go and try and do a better job from there. I don’t think so.” Trump benefited from the white evangelical support that Reagan helped solidify, but he also presided over a country that, religiously, looks far different from the one Reagan took over after 1980. Trump’s presidency is one early case study in how the Republican Party — which has long associated itself with conservative Christian values — may attempt to deal with a country that’s less and less religious.

In fact, the U.S. recently passed a religious milestone: For the first time, a majority of Americans are not church members, Gallup found this spring .

Over the last decade, the share of Republicans who are church members fell from 75% to 65%, according to Gallup . That’s a solid majority but also a […]