“Cultural Evangelical” Is Now A Thing. It Shouldn’t Be.

Posted at MattMellema.com:

Okay, one more post about evangelical identity. At least until my next post.

Some of us in the evangelical world were masochistic enough to follow the aftermath of the 2016 election. For we unhappy few, one number stands out: 81. That’s the supposed percent of white evangelicals who voted for Trump.

Depressing? Sure. But I’ve already dwelt on that enough. Instead, I want to make a few points about the weirdness of polling “evangelicals.”

First, the 81 number underscores a weird phenomenon–there are now cultural evangelicals. We’re all used to people who are “cultural” versions of other religious groups: culturally Catholic, culturally Jewish, culturally Greek Orthodox. Pretty much every religion worldwide has this–people who are raised in a culture where everybody is assumed to have the same religion, so they identify on a surface-y level even if they don’t follow any of the religion’s tenants.