If you wonder why our opponents appear so out-of-touch and angry lately, it is because they realize that their condemnatory version of Christianity is increasingly rejected by Americans. They have come to painfully understand that their judgmental attitudes and beliefs are anathema to the way most fair-minded people think.
A new study now shows that the Religious Right is on the decline and may be surpassed by the Religious Left in coming decades, as younger, more tolerant Americans come of age. This positive development can’t happen soon enough.
“If you’re using a generational snapshot today as a proxy for the future, it is is safe to say that religious progressives hold a stronger appeal among Millennials,” said Robert Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, which surveyed 2,000 adults in partnership with the Brookings Institute.
While the Christian right makes up 28 percent of the population and garners more cultural attention — Jones found that there are 27,000 global monthly Google searches for “Christian Right” compared with just over 8,000 searches for “Christian left” — religious progressives are only 9 percentage points behind, with 19 percent of the population.
With each generation, the popularity of religious conservatism has declined. Forty-seven percent of the Silent Generation (ages 66 to 88) are religious conservatives, compared with 34 percent of Baby Boomers, 23 percent of Gen Xers and 17 percent of Millennials.
The findings echo research earlier this year that found the number of people who don’t consider themselves part of a religion has hit its highest point since pollsters began tracking religious affiliations in the 1930s.
It appears that anti-gay attitudes are partially responsible for the negative view of social conservative religions. Such faiths tend to bleed credibility alienate potential members when they lie to young people about their gay friends and family members.
Claude Fischer, a sociologist at University of California Berkley, told The Huffington Post when the findings were released in March that Americans’ move away from organized religion can in part be explained by politics.
“Increasingly, people identify and link organized religion with anti-gay attitudes, sexual conservatism, a whole range of those kinds of social cultural values,” Fischer said.
Now is the time for mainstream religious groups to join forces with those who are non-affiliated. While these two groups may not agree on everything, they can combine to form a powerful, rational voting block that will stymie the extremism and excess of the far right. Social conservatives are not the “moral majority” they once fancied themselves, but a shrinking minority that is holding back America’s progress and prosperity. It is encouraging to see that younger generations can see through their propaganda and think for themselves. This is good news and portends a bright future for the Unites States of America.