Monday, April 17, 2017

The GOP Base: The Least Educated U.S. Religious Groups

I often blame the Republican Party's growing celebration of ignorance and denial of objective and scientific fact on the element of the party base that I describe as the Christofascists - namely evangelical Christians and fundamentalist Christians.  There are reasons for this groups avoidance of or discounting of facts: (i) facts and scientific knowledge threaten their legend and myth based religious beliefs, and (ii) they are among the least educated elements of American society.  Thus, as the Christofascists have risen in the Republican Party, the party has transformed from a stereo-typically party of affluence and education to one that is the exact opposite.  Indeed, one would now believe that a competition exists within the GOP to see who can be the most ignorant and most strongly reject facts and knowledge.  But, back to the Christofascists.  A study by Pew Research Center of the levels of education among religious groups in America has confirmed what I have long thought: the elements of the evangelical/fundamentalist Christian that make up the GOP's base are  the least educated (and I would argue the most ignorant) elements in America.  It's little wonder why Trump and his sixth grade level odf speaking appealed to them.  Here are findings from Pew:  
Attainment of a four-year college degree in the United States, often regarded as a key asset for economic success, varies by race and gender. But the share of people completing a college education also differs by religion, with members of some faith groups much more educated, on average, than others.
By far, Hindus and Unitarian Universalists have among the largest share of those with a college degree – 77% and 67% respectively. Roughly six-in-ten Jews (59%) have college degrees, as do similar shares in both the Anglican church (59%) and the Episcopal Church (56%).
These groups are among the top of a list of 30 U.S. religious groups ranked by educational attainment . . . . 
Other religious groups also have a higher percentage of college graduates than the full sample of more than 35,000 U.S. adults surveyed in the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, among whom 27% completed university. They include Buddhists and members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – both at 47% – as well as Orthodox Christians (40%), Muslims (39%) and Mormons (33%).
Since Catholics make up one-in-five adults, it is not surprising that their share of members with a college degree (26%) roughly mirrors that of the general public.
What the article does not directly highlight is the fact that Southern Baptists and other evangelical Christians are in the basement when it comes to educational attainment.  To me this makes me ask the following: why as a country do we continue to give undeserved deference to the beliefs of the least educated and least informed segment of the population?  It makes absolutely no sense.  When will the mainstream media wake up to this reality?

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