According to research conducted by the Washington Post, around 14 percent of church-going Christians had abandoned their churches after Donald Trump‘s surge to the presidency this past election season.
The research focused on 951 people who were surveyed before and after the 2016 election. Out of those who reported going to church in September, 14 percent had left by mid-November. Data shows that 81 percent of evangelicals supported Trump in the run-up to the election.
From the Washington Post:
How did we get here? One answer is sorting. That is, people may reevaluate their religious membership when they sense political (or other) disagreement, leaving their houses of worship [for] more homogeneous [organizations]. …
In the 2016 election, [people who left their churches] were distributed across the religious population, and included 10 percent of evangelicals, 18 percent of mainline Protestants, and 11 percent of Catholics. This represents an enormous amount of churn in the religious economy.
The researchers theorized that people who leave their places of worship over political disagreements “may not be learning the skills needed to talk across differences and participate in politics.” Additionally, the exodus has been going on since before the rise of Trump, and has much to do with certain denominations’ shift to the right.
More specifically, for 20 years, liberal to moderate evangelicals have been leaving their churches because they disagree with the Christian right. This is important because it allows us to [recognize] that this sorting process is plural, local, and continual. It is not something owned by the left or right, but a regular and expected part of life in all religious [organizations].
You can read the full WaPo report here, via The Independent.