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Leading scholar on religion and politics to discuss 2016 election

Robert P. Jones will highlight his new book, “The End of White Christian America”

Robert P. Jones
Robert P. Jones

The 2016 presidential election exposed deep fissures in American society, and one prominent scholar says religion offers an explanation.

Robert P. Jones, founder and CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), examines the election — and, more deeply, a country undergoing profound cultural changes — through the lens of religion. Jones will discuss his book, “The End of White Christian America” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Alice Millar Chapel. The discussion is sponsored by Northwestern University’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

“PRRI has been at the forefront of gathering and analyzing data to help us understand these changes,” said University Chaplain Tim Stevens. “We are delighted to have its founder and CEO share his findings with us.”

The discussion is free and open to the public. Jones will take questions following his presentation.

Jones draws upon findings from survey data on contemporary politics and religion to show how today’s most heated social controversies can be fully explained only in the context of the angst felt by white Christians, who now make up less than half the country because of new immigration patterns, changing birth rates and religious disaffiliation. The presentation of his main findings from the data-based book is part of One Book, One Northwestern’s year-long programming.

“For many years, white Protestantism had a profound impact on culture and politics,” Stevens said. “An analysis of contemporary demographics shows that white Christians (Protestants and Catholics) are no longer in the majority. This shift has impacted a range of important issues, from politics to family to race.”

Jones is also author of two other books, “Progressive & Religious: How Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist Leaders are Moving Beyond the Culture Wars and Transforming American Public Life” and“Liberalism's Troubled Search for Equality: Religion and Cultural Bias in the Oregon Physician-Assisted Suicide Debates,” as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles on religion and public policy. He writes a column on politics and culture for The Atlantic and appears on Interfaith Voices, a leading religious news program on public radio. 

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