Book on decline of white Christian America wins 2019 religion Grawemeyer

Robert P. Jones | Courtesy of UofL

A 2016 book predicting the fall of white Christian America won the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in religion, the University of Louisville and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary announced Friday. 

Robert P. Jones argued that young Americans leaving churches and a larger demographic shift would cause white Christians’ domination of the nation’s politics in his winning book, “The End of White Christian America.”

Jones, founder and chief executive of the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute, found the majority of America is no longer white and Protestant, slipping from a clear majority to 45 percent of the population in 2016.

Called “possibly the most illuminating text for this election year” by The New York Times Review of Books in 2016, the book asserts that the 2016 election of President Donald Trump could be a “death rattle” for white Protestant control.

The group needs to find their place in a changing country to survive, Jones wrote.

“Jones well describes the decline of mainstream Protestantism many of us are seeing in our churches and theological institutions,” Tyler Mayfield, an associate professor of Old Testament at the seminary in charge of the award, said in a news release. “He also offers an appropriate critique of how mainline Protestants have failed to address racism even though they have been a public voice for racial justice.”

Friday’s religion award is the fourth and final Grawemeyer presented this week. A Dutch composer won the music category Monday, a trio of academics won the world order category Tuesday and a research duo won the psychology category Wednesday.

UofL awards the prizes annually, partnering with LPTS for the religion prize. All award winners will come to Louisville in April to accept their prize and give a free talk on their winning work.