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Friday, May 15, 2015

when The Political Past Catches Up With The Religious Present

Cathy Lynn Grossman has just written an article for Religion News Service about a Pew Research Center report on religion in the US (click here for Grossman's report). The report states that things are changing in that the number of Christians is declining while the number of those who are not religious is increasing. And one of the reasons why these numbers are changing is because of political views more than religious ones. In particular, conservative politics and conservative religion, which appeared to have married each other immediately after birth, show one partner embarassing the other.

Grossman reports that the Pew Center report shows that while Christians make up the vast majority of people in America, Christianity is losing people at a disconcerting rate (8 percentage points from 2007 to 2014). This drop cuts across all demographic groups. Those who have recovered the most fumbled believers are atheists and agnostics. And a reason why Conservative Christianity is bleeding believers, that is in terms of percentages, has to do with conservative politics. Here, Grossman quotes Mike Hout, a sociology professor who provided comments for the study, in attributing the disinterest in Conservative Christianity to its ties in conservative politics. Some who left this branch of Christianity "didn't want to be identified with" conservative political 'agenda.'

We should note that political ties have harmed Conservative Christianity before--only in America, the Conservative Church is getting off relatively light. For Conservative Christianity's past ties have often been with those with power. And both the French and Russian Revolutions saw at least portions of the Conservative Church, the Roman Church and the Orthodox Church respectively, experience some harsh persecution because of their political connections.

Will this trend of conservative politics costing Conservative Christianity believers continue? The study doesn't address that so we have to stay tuned for the next report. But suffice it to say, Conservative Christianity's leaders must examine the ties between conservative politics and Conservative Christianity. Otherwise, Conservative Christianity will have doomed itself to the future of conservative politics in America. Such hardly seems to be a Biblical approach in determining which political views to pursue. And the past indicates that if we don't take a Biblical approach to determining our political views, we are more likely than not to latch on to those with wealth and power. And as the previously mentioned revolutions indicate, such an approach sets us up for unnecessary persecution--political persecution that is, not religious persecution.





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