The author of a book about the decline of white Protestant Christianity in the U.S. has won a $100,000 award.
Robert P. Jones, the author of “The End of White Christian America,” was awarded the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in Religion on Friday. It's an honour handed out annually by the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the University of Louisville, Kentucky, to recognize "creative and significant insights into the relationship between human beings and the divine."
The book was released the summer before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a vote that Jones has called a "death rattle" for white Christian America.
Jones explores the waning influence of white Christians on American society. This demographic has historically held the seat of power, but today the number of people who identify as Christian in the U.S. is dropping, as is the percentage of the population that is white.
Jones wrote that President Donald Trump painted himself during the 2016 campaign as white conservative Christians' last chance to keep their power, and argued that white Christians' anxiety over their changing status is helpful to understand why many debates over cultural, racial and political issues in the U.S. have been so intense.
"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," Tyler Mayfield, an associate professor at the seminary, said in a press release.
Jones is the founder and CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that researches topics related to religion, public policy and culture.
Get The Observer’s latest stories on justice, faith and ethics by signing up for our e-newsletter. It only takes a few seconds to join and we’ll deliver award-winning content to your in-box.