Last week, Christianity Today published an article titled "More Americans Want Their Church to Share Their Politics." The "more" in the title refers to a finding that the percent of U.S. Protestant churchgoers who want their fellow churchgoers to share their political views has increased.
The figure below is from that article. According to the blue bars, compared to 2017, more people now somewhat agree or strongly agree with the statement "I prefer to attend a church where people share my political views." According to the red bars, there has also been a similar shift in people's perceptions of whether their fellow churchgoers' views match their own.
This trend is not a new one in the American religious marketplace. In their 2010 book American Grace
, Putnam and Campbell show that this trend has been in place for decades. Americans are increasingly sorting themselves into religious groups of people who are more like themselves.
This sorting a natural consequence of a vibrant religious marketplace in which people are able to switch religious groups at relatively low cost, thereby increasing the chance that they find a religious group that better matches their tastes. Though it is fair to ask about the consequences of this trend. Of course, the main one is that this sorting further reduces the diversity in the already someone homogenous churches. Overcoming this homogeneity is difficult, an issue that is discussed in Section 11.5 of the book.
Read this article and Section 11.5 of the book to better understand the challenges with creating and fostering a diverse church.