We're Not Dead Yet!

I just finished reading Newsweek's cover piece, entitled : "The Decline and Fall of Christian America." by Jon Meacham.

This article comes as a result of a survey I wrote about last month, done by Trinity College in Connecticut, and a follow up article by the Christian Science Monitor, which was actually a highly-edited version of another piece. Thirdhand information sure does get around!

Meacham's article points out that - according to this survey - Americans who claim "no religious affiliation" rose from 8% to 15% since 1990. That number is what all the hoo-ha is about. Meacham writes: "While we remain a nation decisively shaped by religious faith, our politics and our culture are, in the main, less influenced by movements and arguments of an explicitly Christian character than they were even five years ago." Really?

Seems to me that politics and culture are being more shaped by religious faith than ever before. Or, shall I say, by the lack of religious faith. At no time in my recollection has there been more discussion, yelling, complaining, and editorializing about faith-based issues than there are today. In towns and cities all over America, those on the political left are screaming about Christmas displays on town greens, the Ten Commandments in courthouses, prayers at city-council meetings and the faith of federal judges.

The irony is, of course, that we we are in danger of becoming a land of religious intolerance, much like the land our forefathers fled from. Instead of embracing our Constitutionally-guaranteed right of freedom of religions, we are facing a time where a person is not entitled to their religious views. I live in a state where two men are allowed by law to marry, one of three in the country right now. But, not only are they allowed to marry, but the state tells me I have to agree with it. I have to like it.

All over this country, people are being harrassed for their religious beliefs - beliefs protected under the Constitution. Ask Elaine Huguenin. Ask the Ocean Grove Campground Association. (Since when is a private photography business or a privately-owned Christian camp a"public accomodation?")

For anyone who says Christianity is on the decline, I would invite them to go to church. In churches all across America, people are coming in droves. Many churches are expanding, especially evangelical churches. Yes, many traditional liturgical churches are failing; but is this a result of a shift in religious values, or a decline in them? And while a Newsweek poll showed that the percentage of people who would classify America as a "Christian nation" has decreased slightly, still, 62% of those polled identified it as such.

This in the face of a carefully-designed and well-planned offensive to wipe religious views off the map of the American landscape. Funny, but those who scream for tolerance are generally the most intolerant. If you publicly say that you think same-sex marriage is OK, the most I would do is tell you I worry for your salvation. If I publicly stated I think it is not in God's will, I'm accused of hate speech. What kind of tolerance is that? Tolerance is apparently not a two-way street.

Yet in light of that, still well more than half of America identifies this nation as "Christian," and still 85% of Americans claim to be religious. Hardly sounds like we're on the ropes.

To be fair, I do not view Mr. Meacham's article as "attacking" Christianity. (Interesting also is how many commenters have "edited" the title to be "The Decline and Fall of Christian America") He is not writing about "Christianity in America" as much "Christian Amercia." He points this out in his follow-up article. Still, I think the premise is wrong. "Christian America" is still very much alive and kicking, as is Jewish America, Muslim America, Bhuddest America and so on. Our society is one based on rule of law, and many of these laws are built on a foundation of faith. The very premise that we have "religious freedom" is built upon the "religious" ideal of freedom of choice. Christ did not force people to believe in Him; he invited them. Read John 1 if you don't believe that.


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