The last several decades have seen the parallel rise of both evangelicalism and white nationalism in our mainstream media and politics. This week on The State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, host Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush looks at disturbing trends revealed in the annual Public Religion Research Institute American Values Survey, and delves into ways the religious right committed to reelect Ronald Reagan, presaging Donald Trump’s appeal to white evangelical Christians – right down to the Make America Great Again slogan.

“This is a question I never thought I’d really write as a social scientist, but here’s the question that we asked people, do they agree or disagree: ‘The government, media, and financial worlds in the US are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking operation.’”Dr. Robert P. Jones, President and Founder of the Public Religion Research Institute and author of the New York Times best-selling book The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy and the Path to a Shared American Future. PRRI recently released its 2023 American Values Survey, examining the intersection of religion, culture, and politics.

“Reagan’s biggest success, or one of his biggest successes, was mainstreaming this evangelical vision to the larger public. Now, when he said Shining City on a Hill, that meant one thing to religious conservatives. To many secular people, it was a harmless phrase. And in that way, the media helped circulate the message.”Dr. Diane Winston, Associate Professor of Journalism and the Knight Chair of Media and Religion at the University of Southern California, and author of Righting the American Dream: How the Media Mainstreamed Reagan’s Evangelical Vision. The book examines how religion and media affect how we think about our leaders and ourselves as individuals and as citizens of the United States.

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