Religion and politics seem a strange combination, and, yes, even a dangerous combination for a blog topic; but, let us try to get through this minefield all in one piece and not too angry as the result of the exercise, and maybe a bit more aware.
Two polls were released recently, one conducted by the Pew Research Center (Pew) and the other by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). The Pew poll shows that the share of Americans who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious” has increased from 19% to 27% while those describing themselves as “religious and spiritual” dropped from 59% to 48%. This change has been occurring, according to the polls, since 2012. Until the fact that this had been going on since 2012 was brought to light, I, as I suspect many, might have laid this at the doorstep of now President Trump. It precedes him.
While President Trump may not have been the cause, might his election be seen as having been influenced, at least in part, by the decline evidenced by this Pew poll? I suspect there may’ve been some correlation, but I seriously doubt he sits in the Oval Office simply because we are a less religious people.
We have long heard the phrase, the Religious Right, which has been synonymous with the term ‘conservative’ in many circles. The term ‘secular’, on the other hand, is defined as denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis. The second poll, that of the PRRI, showed that white Christians now comprise less than half of our population and that 24% of Americans have no religious affiliation, that some 38% of Americans are not church attendees and that this change seems to stem from a start in the early 1990s.
Liberals are generally found to be more secular in their beliefs. The religiously unaffiliated tend to go to the Democratic side of the political spectrum and that is thought to have propelled some of the gains experienced by the political left. The old ‘Moral Majority’, which was made up largely of traditional Christians, has lost some of its steam from where it once found itself.
If we watch and listen to the questioning of Republican appointees to various positions today, we see the Left using increasingly harsh language and tone. Watch a congressional offering some day. The change in this dynamic lead some to believe that Republicans, and those who might’ve been politically unaffiliated but conservatives, elected Donald Trump since he was the only alternative to the Left and its increasingly strident approach to governance and its perceived threat to those of faith.
There are those who see the emergence of a “post-religious” America as being a threat to the country we’ve grown up in and cherished since we were old enough to be able to think for ourselves. The Washington Post published an article by Jennifer Rubin on July 28th titled “As Trump debases the presidency, the religious right looks away”. We know WaPo is a liberal-leaning news organization, but this does give one pause for thought, if that is permitted by each of us, as to where the left sees this going.
If, in fact, we Americans are falling away from our religious affiliations as it seems might be the case, the current trends seem to support that, then we are potentially left with a culture and political belief system that is rapidly secularizing. That cannot be good for our country nor for us Christians or us conservatives. It is up to us to change this dynamic, and that needs to begin occurring today.
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