All in all, Americans are wandering away from their spiritual roots – and according to the 2021 American Values Survey, evangelicals are meandering right along with them. The annual poll from the Public Religion Research Institute dealt with cultural change and anxiety in America, economic changes, how Americans see themselves in their culture, and more.
The survey released on November 1 reveals, for example, that 75% of white evangelical Protestants believe God has granted America a special role in history – that's down from 84% in 2013. Two-thirds of black Protestants (67%) and 55% of other Christians also agree with this idea, as do half of Hispanic Catholics (50%). Over that same time span, the two-thirds (64%) of all Americans who agreed dropped 20 percentage points, to 44%, in 2021.
Dr. Alex McFarland of Truth for a New Generation argues that the doubting of American exceptionalism skews young. "So many young people have never been raised in homes where patriotism was affirmed," he tells AFN. "[And] they've certainly never been in school classrooms where the Pledge of Allegiance was said."
The survey also finds 30% percent of white evangelical Protestants support Roe v. Wade, a number that disappoints the Christian author and apologist.
"As more Americans – and even professed Christians – claim to be okay with Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand, that's telling me that [over] decades of being pummeled with mantras like 'a woman's right to choose' they've been brainwashed," McFarland offers.
He adds that it's never a good thing when people talk about getting new values and a new understanding of morality, because truth doesn't change. Reversing the cultural trends revealed in the American Values Survey, he says, starts at home. "As a culture, perhaps as a church, and certainly as parents, we've not really passed on our Christian values and even our American values as thoroughly and as effectively as we should have," he concludes.
The survey of just over 2,500 adults – the majority of whom were affiliated with a faith group – was conducted over a two-week period in late September.