The old time religion is declining in America.
When it comes to religion, the USA is now land of the freelancers.The article goes on to discuss the changes and delves into the numbers.
The percentage. of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation. The faithful have scattered out of their traditional bases: The Bible Belt is less Baptist. The Rust Belt is less Catholic. And everywhere, more people are exploring spiritual frontiers — or falling off the faith map completely.
One point in the article particularly got my attention. ("Nones" in the survey are those who claimed no religion)
South Carolina also exemplifies the Protestant faiths' shrinking share of the national religion "pie." The state has more Catholics (10%, up from 6% in 1990) and the percentage of Nones has more than tripled, from 3% to 10%. The share of Protestants is 73%, down from 88% in 1990.I think this bodes ill for the Republican party unless it becomes less faith based and more liberty oriented. Something I have been saying for quite some time and especially post the 2008 election. Moral socialism is not the big seller it once was.
Like Gautier, the Rev. Kendall Harmon, theologian for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, blames social mobility.
"Mobility means your ideas are more challenged and your family and childhood traditions have less influence, particularly if you are not strongly rooted in them. I see kids today who have no vocabulary of faith, and neither do many of their parents."
The Christian Science Monitor is even more apocalyptic.
We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.This bodes ill for the Republicans, a party that is rather closely identified with evangelicals.
Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.
The Monitor delves into why this is happening.
Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.Culture wars. I have a different name for it. Mentioned above. Moral socialism. The idea that government should tell people how to live. That idea is losing popularity. With the collapse of the drug war (even Pat Buchanan - a vigorous culture warrior - is now against it) will accelerate that trend. I do think a war on Christianity is a bad idea though. Just as the Christian's war on seculars was a bad idea. However, karma. Or in more Christian terms: you reap what you sow.
The author of the article makes another point that will directly affect politics.
Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.And what about the culture war?
Expect a fragmented response to the culture war. Some Evangelicals will work to create their own countercultures, rather than try to change the culture at large. Some will continue to see conservatism and Christianity through one lens and will engage the culture war much as before – a status quo the media will be all too happy to perpetuate.I think it is pretty safe to say that the culture war is very near over in America and the culture warriors have lost. Just as the drug warriors have lost the drug war. These things happen when better ideas come along. It is not the first time. Around 2000 year ago a small Jewish sect came along and its culture supplanted the Jewish culture of the time and went on to become a world culture. So much so that Jews are now more Christian than Jewish. Not so much in terms of worship but in terms of culture. The Judaism of 2000 years ago is gone. It is probably not coming back.
And finally back to politics.
The loss of their political clout may impel many Evangelicals to reconsider the wisdom of trying to create a "godly society."Very good. Government impositions are rarely universally popular. Especially in a country as religiously diverse as America. The emphasis has to be where it should have been all along. Living the godly life. Which fits in more with the American ideal of the individual as supreme.
This should come as no surprise to students of American history. America was founded not only on the basis of economic revolt but also on the basis of religious revolt as the DVD Gospel of Liberty clearly shows.
If the Republican Party adopts a New Gospel of Liberty I think its fortunes will revive and it will find not just a temporary burst of energy but also a long term foundation that will serve it far into the future. Let the Tea Parties commence.
Cross Posted at Classical Values