Why are white conservative Christians so afraid?

Here’s a quick thought on Rod Dreher and the “Benedict Option.” (I’ve written about it before, Rod has responded, and I look forward to writing more about it in the future.)

This recent Dreher quote caught my eye. He has used this analogy before, and I think it aptly reveals how unfounded the fears that underlie his Benedict Option are. (Are jack-booted government thugs going to kill all the “real” Christians, or merely arrest them?)

In general, white conservative Christians seem to be significantly more afraid than their nonwhite brethren that the Secular Left is on the verge of shaming and shunning them out of American society. I haven’t seen good survey data on this, so I want to speculate a little on whether this is true and the reasons why. I highly encourage people who have studied this question (quantitatively or qualitatively) or others with well-formed opinions to weigh in.

To what degree do each of these seem plausible:

  1. Assuming similar levels of religiosity, white people (who are more conservative anyway) feel more aggrieved in this moment.
  2. Because they lean more leftward politically, nonwhites are not seen as enemies or opponents by the secular left/cultural establishment to the degree that whites are, even if the nonwhites believe, for instance, that marriage is a man and a woman.
  3. The secular left really is out to crush white social conservatives to a greater degree than they hope to crush nonwhite ones.
  4. The secular left thinks that, with respect to evolution (or non-evolution) on the the premises and priorities of the Sexual Revolution, white social conservatives should “know better” whereas it’s expected that nonwhites will be slower to acquiesce/evolve.

Which of these seem to have explanatory power? What am I missing?

For the record, I am not into white identity. At all. I am a proud Southerner. And I don’t think that Dreher & co. are necessarily into white identity politics at all — I believe them when they say that’s not what the Benedict Option is about. But Benedictopia looks pretty white to me.


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About Jacob Lupfer

Jacob Lupfer is a faith and politics writer. A contributing editor at Religion News Service, Jacob is a frequent commentator on the role of faith in politics and public life. He is a doctoral candidate in political science at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. An expert on the institutional life of American Christianity, Jacob advises faith leaders on how religions people and institutions can more effectively advocate for the common good. During the 2016 election cycle, Jacob is blogging at Patheos about the role of faith in the campaign. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, Religion & Politics, Sojourners, Religion Dispatches, The Christian Post, Baptist News Global, and elsewhere. Jacob lives near Baltimore with his wife and their two young children.