Jul 1, 2020

87 Percent of Practicing Christians See the U.S. as a Leader to the World

While the Fourth of July offers a time for the U.S. to celebrate the Declaration of Independence, it also provides space for us to look back on our country’s history—the good and the bad—to sharpen the lens with which we envision its future. Recent Barna data might deepen this crucial reflection during a season of disruption and change in the nation.

For instance, a Barna survey collected in late summer 2019 found stark racial divides on issues of race in America, even within the Church. Data show that only two in five white practicing Christians (38%) believe the U.S. has a race problem, a percentage that doubles among Black practicing Christians (78%). Similar contrasts are found when analyzing practicing Christians’ beliefs on what causes racism and their motivation to address racial injustice in our society.

Trends in the Black Church

Celebrating its legacy and investing in a hopeful future

The infographic below zooms out to offer a broader glimpse at how practicing Christians, as compared to all U.S. adults, view our nation’s identity, history and standing. Practicing Christians are pretty emphatic that the country is a Christian nation (80% agree), both blessed (87%) and chosen by God (57%), and a nation of immigrants (83%) that is seen as a leader to the world (87%). However, they—like the general population—are reluctant to acknowledge whether the U.S. has also been oppressive to minorities; just under half of practicing Christians (48%) agree this has been the case.

This data, part of a recent Barna study undertaken with the Racial Justice and Unity Center alongside Michael Emerson, Glenn Bracey and Chad Brennan, highlights key findings that we will continue to explore in coming months as we further the discussion on race and the Church.

For those who are interested in engaging their church in conversations of faith and race, Barna and our technology partner Gloo have created a free Faith & Race Check-In for pastors and congregations. These tools are available in Barna Access, alongside a curated channel dedicated to covering Race and the Church.

Read more from Barna president David Kinnaman about how we’ll be listening to and learning alongside the Church.

Trends in the Black Church

Celebrating its legacy and investing in a hopeful future

About the Research

About the Research
The research for this study surveyed 2,889 U.S. adults online between July 19 and August 5, 2019 via a national consumer panel. The survey over-sampled Practicing Christians, African American, Asians, and Hispanics. Statistical weighting has been applied in order to maximize representation by age, gender, ethnicity, education, and region. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.89 at a 95% confidence interval. 

Practicing Christians are self-identified Christians who have attended a worship service within the past month and agree strongly that their faith is very important in their life.

Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

© Barna Group, 2020.

About Barna

Since 1984, Barna Group has conducted more than two million interviews over the course of thousands of studies and has become a go-to source for insights about faith, culture, leadership, vocation and generations. Barna is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization.

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