Mar 11, 2024 - News

Majority of Utahns don't hold Christian nationalist views

Share who say they adhere to or sympathize with Christian nationalism
Data: PRRI; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

The majority of Utahns (71%) reject or are skeptical about Christian nationalism, despite its rising influence shaping education, immigration and health care policies, a new survey finds.

Why it matters: Nationwide, some Republicans are openly expressing Christian nationalist views, which have ranged from calls for more religion in public schools to book bans and even suggestions that democracy should die.

Between the lines: 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.
  • Many also believe U.S. laws should be based on Christian values and that God has called Christians to exercise dominion over all areas of American society.

By the numbers: Utah is the only red state where support for Christian nationalism falls below the national average (30%), according to data from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute's American Values Atlas released last month.

  • About 27% of Utahns are adherents or sympathizers of Christian nationalism.

The intrigue: Religious groups with strong GOP leanings are most likely to hold Christian nationalist views.

  • Nationally, about 42% of Latter-day Saints support Christian nationalism, according to PRRI.

State of play: Utah lawmakers this legislative session approved a proposal to include the Ten Commandments in the U.S. history curricula.

  • A measure that would make it easier to ban books at public schools across the state received final approval from the state Legislature.
  • A bill that would have allowed volunteer chaplains at public schools advanced in the House but failed in the Senate.

Zoom out: In five deeply red states, at least 45% of respondents said they were adherents or sympathizers of Christian nationalism: North Dakota (50%), Mississippi (50%), Alabama (47%), West Virginia (47%), and Louisiana (46%).

  • In California, New York, and Virginia, more than 75% of respondents said they were rejectors or skeptics.

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

  • Majorities of two religious groups hold Christian nationalist beliefs: white evangelicals (66%) and Hispanic evangelicals (55%). Both groups are strong supporters of former President Trump, other polls have indicated.

What they're saying: "It's really a claim for an ethno-religious state, and so there's nothing democratic about that worldview," PRRI president and founder Robert P. Jones tells Axios.

  • Jones said some Christian nationalists view political foes as evil or demonic rather than as fellow citizens with different opinions and see them as needing to be conquered.
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