Feb 29, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Survey: 55% of Latino Protestants support Christian nationalism

Christian nationalists  led in prayer as part of the Take Our Border back Convoy on February 3, 2024 in Quemado, Texas.

Christian nationalists led in prayer as part of the "Take Our Border Back Convoy" on February 3, 2024 in Quemado, Texas. Photo: Raquel Natalicchio/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

Hispanic Protestants are among the biggest supporters of Christian nationalism despite the belief system's anti-immigrant and anti-diversity stances, according to a new survey.

Why it matters: Around two-thirds of Americans surveyed said they reject or are skeptical about Christian nationalism, but its prominence in the GOP is helping shape its educational, health care and immigration policies.

Zoom in: New data from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute's American Values Atlas released Wednesday showed 55% of Hispanic Protestants, most of whom identify as evangelical, hold Christian nationalist beliefs.

  • About 66% of white evangelicals hold such views  — the biggest share of any group surveyed.
  • Among Latino Catholics, 72% said they rejected or were skeptical of Christian nationalism.

Republicans (55%) are more than twice as likely as independents (25%) and three times more likely than Democrats (16%) to say they hold Christian nationalist views, the survey found.

  • Christian nationalists are among the strongest supporters of Donald Trump, various polls show.

Context: Christian nationalism is a set of beliefs centered around white American Christianity's dominance in most aspects of life in the United States.

  • Many Christian nationalists believe the federal government should declare the U.S. a Christian nation and move away from secular interpretations of pluralist democracy.
  • They are staunchly anti-abortion, oppose rights for transgender people and see religious diversity as a threat to their Christian worldview.
  • Many also believe U.S. laws should be based on Christian values and that God has called Christians to exercise dominion over society.

What they're saying: "The idea that Christians should actually exercise dominion over all areas of American society has been quite popular among both white and Latino evangelicals," Robert P. Jones, president and founder of PRRI, tells Axios.

Many Latino evangelicals don't know they're being indoctrinated with Christian nationalism, Elizabeth Rios, founder of the South Florida Passion Center, a faith-based justice-oriented training center, tells Axios.

  • "I think this is happening because most of our Latinos have been discipled in these white megachurches where a lot of nationalism is taking place."
  • Christian nationalism counters the message of Jesus, who urged followers to help the poor, strangers, and the sick, not build walls and oppress those who are different than us, Rios says.

Between the lines: The "Take Our Border Back" rallies earlier this month drew Christian nationalists who said they were part of "God's army" sent to defend the U.S. against migrants at the U.S.-Mexico.

  • Influential Houston Second Baptist Church pastor Ed Young on Sunday referred to migrants as "undesirables, "garbage" and "raff," per the Houston Chronicle.
  • He has previously attacked civil rights as "woke" and said it wasn't based on the Bible.

Methodology: The Public Religion Research Institute's American Values Atlas survey was conducted March 9-Dec. 7, 2023, by PRRI. The poll is based on a representative sample of 22,465 adults (age 18 and older), including 2,742 Latinos, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia who are part of Ipsos' Knowledge Panel®.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±0.82 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample.

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