The number of Americans identifying as atheists is increasing — and recent social science research suggests that the Christian Right is playing a key role in making that happen.
As reported by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, new research has found that distaste for Trump-loving Christian conservatism has not just turned some Americans off from individual churches but from religion altogether.
“As recently as the early 1990s, less than 10 percent of Americans lacked a formal religious affiliation, and liberals weren’t all that much likelier to be nonreligious than the public overall,” FiveThirtyEight notes. “Today, however, nearly one in four Americans are religiously unaffiliated. That includes almost 40 percent of liberals — up from 12 percent in 1990, according to the 2018 General Social Survey.”
The report then cites work from sociologists Michael Hout and Claude Fischer, who found that the Christian right’s rise to prominence in the 1990s led to a backlash from liberal voters who started rejecting religion because they associated it with GOP politics.
Other studies have similarly concluded that the marriage of evangelical Christianity with the Republican Party has led more Americans to spurn religion all together.
“It’s like an allergic reaction to the mixture of Republican politics and religion,” David Campbell, a political scientist at Notre Dame University, explains to FiveThirtyEight.