[The SBC's] research arm LifeWay Research released the following projections this week at the convention’s annual meeting in Kentucky: it said its numbers would fall nearly 50 percent by 2050 “unless the aging and predominantly white denomination reverses a 50-year trend and does more to strengthen evangelism, reach immigrants, and develop a broader ethnic base.”The author, Ed Stoddard, believes that this denominational decline would seriously affect the growth and stability of the Republican party:
“Using U.S. Census projected population figures, SBC membership could fall from a peak of 6 percent of the American population in the late 1980s to 2 percent in 2050,” said LifeWay director Ed Stetzer. (emphasis mine)
If the SBC is in decline, one also has to wonder what the long-term political implications could be for the Republican Party. Conservative white evangelical Protestants have become its most reliable base. In recent election cycles it has relied on this base to deliver the vote in part by galvanizing opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage.Both the flipside to and the result of these trends is that younger generations are becoming, religiously speaking, increasingly unaffiliated and, politically speaking, increasingly Democratic.
And the conservative SBC, one could argue, is the core of that base.
But Republican strategists will probably not take comfort by the fact that the SBC’s demographics in many ways mirror that of the party itself. Old, white, and Southern (one could add male and rural), with expansion dependent upon attracting immigrants and other ethnic groups, notably Hispanics. It is perhaps no coincidence that the core of the Republican base looks a lot like the party itself. (emphasis mine)