Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Identifying the Poor Oppressed

I spend a lot of time here on Augoeides making fun of the Poor Oppressed Christians, primarily because as I see it, they're pretty ridiculous. But one thing that has remained unclear over the years is how many of them there are. A new survey from PRRI, though, helps shed some light on the real numbers. The chart above shows the results of the "Poor Oppressed" survey question. People were asked whether Christians or Muslims faced more discrimination. The accurate answer is obvious - Muslims have it way worse, especially in the current political climate.

So basically, anybody who answered "Christians" is a Poor Oppressed Christian, and thus a target of my ongoing ridicule. The only religious group with a majority of the Poor Oppressed is White Evangelicals, but they can be found in other traditions as well. Since I like numbers and statistics, I figured I would break this all down with some help from the Pew Forum Religious Landscape Study.

The most hardcore Poor Oppressed are White Evangelical Protestants. According to Pew, Evangelical Protestants make up 25.4% of the American population, and according to PRRI, 57% of them are in the Poor Oppressed category. This yields 14.478% of the total American population. The same calculation can be applied to the other groups as well.
  • Evangelical Protestant - 25.4% population, 57% Poor Oppressed. Total 14.478%.
  • Mainline Protestant - 14.7% population, 30% Poor Oppressed. Total 4.41%.
  • Nonwhite Protestant - 6.5% population, 40% Poor Oppressed. Total 2.6%.
  • Catholic - 20.8% population, 26% Poor Oppressed. Total 5.408%.
The PRRI survey also questioned the religiously unaffiliated, but as I see it you have to be a Christian to be a Poor Oppressed Christian, because being a whiny baby about how oppressed you personally are is part of the package. "Unaffiliated" and "Nothing in Particular" sum to 38.6% of the population, and all other religions sum to 5.9% - which includes Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Paganism, Wicca, Thelema, and other esoteric religions barely even register, which is why I find it so funny that the Poor Oppressed are apparently afraid of us.

Summing our percentages together, we get a Poor Oppressed population percentage of 26.896%. An interesting coincidence is that George W. Bush's lowest approval rating was 27%, and Evangelicals loved him. So maybe we're talking about the exact same group. Christianity as a whole has declined numerically against the non-religious, unaffiliated, and other religions - to 55.5% of the population. So that means Christians who aren't in the Poor Oppressed group are 28.604% of the population. So a little more than half of all Christians are not targets here at Augoeides.

I'm actually a little surprised that the Poor Oppressed are as numerous as they are, because that's a real testament to the lack of critical thinking skills and the rise of misinformation in this country. Anybody who really is stupid enough to believe that they are oppressed by Starbucks Christmas cups that don't include ancient, traditional symbols of their religion like snowmen or snowflakes really shouldn't be taken seriously by anyone, or receive anywhere near the media attention they currently get.

The good news, though, is that the Poor Oppressed who are not Evangelical Protestants follow religious traditions in which they are solidly in the minority. That accounts for 12.418% of the population, or about 46% of the Poor Oppressed population. My hope is that the leaders of those other traditions would try to make it clear that Christians are in no way whatsoever oppressed, especially not by the mere existence of people who disagree with them.

That latter belief is potentially quite dangerous, because anybody with faith that weak is going to be a lot more likely than someone who is truly secure in their beliefs to lash out at anyone who they see as different.

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