The Future of White Christian Nationalism: A Qualitative Study of Generation Z

Stotlemyer, Grace, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Hedstrom, Matthew

White Christian Nationalism has made a deep cultural, political, and social impact on the United States in recent years. While certainly not the majority of American citizens, white Christian Nationalists have profoundly affected American society using anti-democratic rhetoric and actions to disseminate racist, sexist, and xenophobic ideology under the guise of promoting religious freedom. Sociologists have examined the implications of various white Christian Nationalist beliefs of older generations which we can view on numerous new channels and though certain government officials. Generation Z has yet to be studied and I believe by collecting data from this up-and-coming generation, we can predict the direction that white Christian Nationalism will head within the next decade. Using survey data from religious studies scholars, sociologists, and the Baylor Religious Survey I recreated a survey by which I could compare ideological and religious trends from previous generations to Gen Z. Through survey and ethnographic work, I have identified certain changing characteristics within Gen Z that I believe are most impactful to the changing religious landscape of the post-Trump, post-covid landscape.
My findings have indicated that Protestant Christian members of Gen Z have not been spiritually impacted by recent religious controversies but have become more religious in the past five years. These students have indicated more of an acceptance toward progressive policies like universal healthcare and police reform but maintain the importance of keeping prayer in public schools and increasing religious freedom. The implications of these findings are discussed in-depth in my analysis but at first-glance Generation Z will usher in a new relationship between religion, politics, and American society.

MA (Master of Arts)
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