O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

Religion and Politics and Youthful Disaffection

Yesterday, the LA Times published a thought-provoking commentary about disaffection with church among young people and the reasons behind it. Twenty years ago, only 7% of Americans claimed no religious affiliation, and that wasn’t a surprising number. We were a nation of churchgoers, and that had been a steady statistic for decades.

But since then, that number of religious Americans has been steadily dropping, and today, 17% of Americans say they don’t have a religious affiliation. What caused the increase? It’s primarily the new crop of adults — my generation and younger — who have come of age since 1990. According to the article, “between 25% and 30% of twentysomethings today say they have no religious affiliation — roughly four times higher than in any previous generation.”

The fact that new generations are less churched than previous generations isn’t exactly newsworthy, but the conclusion of the article IS. Here’s the kicker:

So, why this sudden jump in youthful disaffection from organized
religion? The surprising answer, according to a mounting body of
evidence, is politics. Very few of these new “nones” actually call
themselves atheists, and many have rather conventional beliefs about God
and theology. But they have been alienated from organized religion by
its increasingly conservative politics.

Though millennials remain more uneasy about abortion than their parents, younger generations have moved to the left on social issues like homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The church is more entrenched than ever on those issues, and though it has boosted Republican political turnout, it has alienated the young moderates and progressives of the church:

Increasingly, young people saw religion as intolerant, hypocritical,
judgmental and homophobic. If being religious entailed political
conservatism, they concluded, religion was not for them.

The LA Times piece, written by Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, serves as an introduction to their new book, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. They conclude that the contemporary relationship between religion and politics — especially as it relates to homosexuality — is the “single strongest factor” in this statistical uptick in young, non-religious Americans.

Questions for discussion:

• Have you seen this shift in your life and/or church affiliation? Do you know people who are abandoning the Church because of their politics (or its politics)?

• What will this shift mean for the future? Many churches worry about the moral impact of accepting homosexuality within mainstream Christianity. But do you think the church’s stance against it — and its increasing ties to conservative politics — could actually end up damaging the influence of religion in our culture?

What do you think?

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posted October 18, 2010 at 10:08 am

It’s a cop out. The fact is that if God is important to you, you can manage to go to church (even a very conservative one) without turning into some kind of Stepford Christian. I don’t agree with everything at my church but that is why God gave us the ability to think for ourselves.
So many people said they didn’t want to go to church because they didn’t want to “dress up” or get up early in the morning. Well you know what, you can find churches everywhere that let you where jeans or come on Saturday night. Yet most of those people are still not going to church. Because they didn’t really want to go and it was just an excuse.
God and church are either important to you or not.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 10:11 am

I tell my dad that I cannot be a republican because I’m not a Christian and I’m not a Christian because I don’t care if two guys want to get married.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 10:32 am

Well, in so much as conservative politics play into the creationism debate and the environmentalism debate, yes, I’ve seen that played out very close to me. When we force people to choose between being a Christian and whatever else, some people are simply not willing to abandon those other things.
Ultimately, I think the Church will come around particularly on the issue of homosexuality. I hope it’s sooner than later.
I’m not sure if I agree with Jessica about it being a cop-out. I really think people are frustrated with how God is portrayed. And if we’re to be little Christs, then yeah, conflating politics and religion is a very viable frustration. I don’t think most people in their 20’s and 30’s are unaware of churches that have looser “dress codes” or later service times. I think brushing off legitimate concerns over this political/religious marriage is very unwise.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 10:38 am

I think Jessica said what I was trying to put together in my mind. I may not agree with everything a church stands for, and I may find one that perfectly aligns with my politics…but what is important to me is the praise & worship time and the teaching of God’s word and the fellowship with other believers.
I go to church for worship. Not for politics or campaigning. Sometimes I think the whole “I love God but I hate organized religion” argument IS just a cop out because people don’t truly want to go and find a meaningful (and possibly – gasp! – convicting) time once a week to go “beyond the veil” with other believers.

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Jason Boyett

posted October 18, 2010 at 10:41 am

I think the cop-out accusation may be legitimate on an individual basis. In most cities, if you want to find a church that fits your particular identity — whether it has to do with dress or worship style or politics — then certainly you have those options.
But when you look at it nationwide, I can’t just dismiss these findings, simply because I think the overall “face” of the church has gotten so wrapped up in political stuff that a wider disconnect is occurring. Whether it’s people leaving because they’re uncomfortable or never getting involved in the first place because of perception — why should I join up with an institution that believes A, B, or C when I think that’s wrong? — the numbers are definitely headed in a concerning direction.

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Danny Bixby

posted October 18, 2010 at 10:44 am

“Have you seen this shift in your life and/or church affiliation?”
Yes. When I was looking for a new church there were several that I fled from due to politics. The most ridiculous was when I visited a particular church and the preacher seemed to hit every single Republican campaign point during his sermon. I almost left while he was speaking.
“Do you know people who are abandoning the Church because of their politics (or its politics)?”
Yes. Personally. Many.
“What will this shift mean for the future?”
On the part of the church, greater polarization. And defensiveness. As Jessica put it, calling it a cop out and undermining people’s motivation is a mark of defensiveness. It creates a further divide when we refuse to listen to people’s concerns and say instead that God & church just aren’t important to them.
“But do you think the church’s stance against it — and its increasing ties to conservative politics — could actually end up damaging the influence of religion in our culture?”
Yes. Except I don’t think this is a “could end up,” sort of scenario. I believe the evidence suggests, and the reality is, this already has damaged the church’s influence and will continue to do so.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 10:48 am

Blaming the church for not conforming to my belief system IS a cop out- if young people don’t like it, they should get INVOLVED and change things. Not just whine about it and abandon the church. If people are concerned about how the church is representing Christ to the world, maybe they should stop letting the inmates run the prison.
I don’t care if gay people get married. I don’t care if (adult) polygamists get married.
I guess I get frustrated because I don’t understand when attending a church suddenly started to mean that you are in lockstep with everything they believe. That’s why it is a cop out as far as I am concerned.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 10:54 am

Yes, I have seen this shift, particularly in my own life. I was raised in a conservative Christian home and am now the only liberal in my family. I am, however, still a Christian and regular church-goer AND in that 20s-30s demographic. But I have some Christian friends who have given up on church and some non-Christian friends who won’t give it a chance in the first place. These definitely are some of the important issues.
But there’s another issue I’ve found to be even more influential in driving people away from the church, and that’s all the back-stabbing and condemning and such. Christians can be absolutely horrible to each other and to non-Christians (or anyone perceived as non-Christians).
When I was in college (a small Christian college), a group of students were in a terrible collision that left two of them dead and three seriously injured. When the driver recovered and returned to school the following semester, she was called by many a “murderer.” She was ostracized. I remember one girl in my choir crying and asking for prayer because this girl (the driver) had moved into the dorm room next to her and it was really hard.
I was astonished. What happened to love? Where was forgiveness? Where was grace? That’s barely scratching the surface of the hurt I’ve seen in the church.
I definitely think the increasing conservativeness of the church is damaging it. Many Christians who believe homosexuality is a sin, treat homosexuals like a lesser form of human. What’s Christian about that?
Until the Church at large learns to practice the love, grace, and forgiveness they preach, these statistics will only increase.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 11:02 am

This is nothing new. This is just the “I’m ok, you’re ok” ideology that has been plaguing our churches and young people for the last 20 years. Im glad there are actually churches that are willing to take a stand on politics and be the moral compass that this country so desperately needs right now. Church or following Jesus is not about everybody being happy. Following Jesus is going to cost us. Following Jesus is offensive because this world’s destructive ways do not line up with GOD’s perfect ways. I wish more churches would be offensive for Jesus’ sake and not worry change their ways so they can put more butts in pews at their sunday service.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 11:04 am

Jason — true, I suppose now that I think about it, I was speaking about it on a more personal level.
Anne makes excellent points. Very generally speaking, Christians do the most damage to their own kind by their actions and what seems to be a conveniently forgotten yet imperative commandment to Love One Another.
But back to the point…
I don’t want to hear ANY political campaigning in my church home, but I know that I will hear political leanings from time to time that I may or may not agree with. That’s part of what really taking the time and dedication to find a church home where you are comfortable is about: finding a place where you can either mostly (likely) or completely (ideal) agree AS WELL AS get the worship experience and teaching that God wants us to have.
Religion/Church is made up of people. We will never find one on this earth that is without fault because of that. I definitely DO NOT think that the church should have to waver on its fundamental beliefs or morals just to get butts in the seats. Perhaps, though, they could work on how they present them?

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posted October 18, 2010 at 11:34 am

When I read articles like this, its never that people are fleeing church because the church is loving too many poor people. Or taking care of too many sick people.
I’m sure there are church members who will read this and pat themselves on the back for being the “narrow road”, when in fact they are just plain mean.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

I’m not really concerned with a church conforming to my belief system as I know that this is unlikely to ever happen. But throwing contrary beliefs up constantly? Yeah, that gets old after a while. When a sermon sounds pretty much like a recap of Glenn Beck’s last show, that’s not all that appealing to a lot of people. And sadly, a lot of those people are leaving the Church.
We can choose to acknowledge that or we can blow it off, but it’s happening regardless.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 11:56 am

It’s not something that is unique to US. In my native country, Finland, the membership of the Evangelic Lutheran Church of Finland dropped from 90% of the population in the 1980s to less than 80% as of 2010.
The service attendance is going down too, from an average of 130 people per church in 2000 to 90 people per church in 2010. The numbers are somewhat low to begin with; about 1-2% of the members attend church services on any given Sunday.
One of the reasons for declining numbers is that the church remains critical (or, at least is seen as critical) of homosexuality. While overall the church is pretty liberal, the general population always tends to be more liberal. Most churches drag behind of Zeitgeist.
The other reason is taxation (which was the main reason why I resigned my membership some 10 years ago); church members pay on average $200 more annually compared to the rest of us.
What the globally dropping numbers really mean is that the churches are unable to deliver services that would be competitive in the market. It’s no different from any other business – you either answer to what the market wants or die out. If that means accepting/embracing homosexuality, that’s what they need to do. If they choose not to, it’s pointless to complain about dwindling membership.
Ultimately it’s the churches’ own fault if they choose to remain increasingly irrelevant.

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Charlie's Church of Christ

posted October 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I live in one of the most unchurched states in the US (Oregon), so I thought the 17% claim no affiliation was low. But I’d agree that politics can be one of the root causes, not a progressively more liberal society of sex and drinking, turns people off to the church. No one likes a hate group, and the church can border on that.

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Ryan Paige

posted October 18, 2010 at 12:24 pm

“I guess I get frustrated because I don’t understand when attending a church suddenly started to mean that you are in lockstep with everything they believe.”
I don’t expect my church to be in lockstep with what I believe, necessarily, but it does become difficult to continue to attend a church when the sermons, etc. are contradictory and hypocritical. When the gluttonous preacher waddles up and gives a sermon about how we’re all sinners and all equal in God’s eyes… except for the gays who are going to hell and not welcome anywhere near the church, or when they continually say that the Bible is the literal Word of God and must be followed literally… except for the parts we don’t agree with or find inconvenient, it can get tiring and make it difficult to take any sermon seriously.
It took a long time for me to find a church where I felt comfortable. The church I am now a member of is still officially anti-homosexuality (as a Southern Baptist church, they pretty much have to be), but they don’t make a big deal about that stance.
As hard as it was to find a place where I felt like I fit in, I can imagine a lot of people giving up on the whole thing before finding that place, especially if they aren’t in a big city like I am.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I don’t expect everyone to have the same politics at church. I don’t think they should have to. But, for me, it comes down to the nuts and bolts of community within a church. Going to Bible studies or small groups and finding everyone there to be overwhelmingly conservative and talking about what Beck or Limbaugh said lately… it is hard to fit it and feel part of that community. I have tried and usually just stop going; but I do believe in Jesus as savior–it’s just not enough commonality to allow me to fit into a church community on an interpersonal level. I’m still looking though. I just haven’t yet found one yet where Jesus is more important than politics.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 1:21 pm

quote Dustin:

This is nothing new. This is just the “I’m ok, you’re ok” ideology that has been plaguing our churches and young people for the last 20 years. Im glad there are actually churches that are willing to take a stand on politics and be the moral compass that this country so desperately needs right now.

According to the article:

But a majority of the Millennial generation was liberal on most social issues, and above all, on homosexuality.

Let’s take the “above all” social issue that is apparently driving away us 20-30ish people — what about homosexuality is so morally bad that the church must take a political stand on it and be this moral compass? Because to me the moral compass that the church is being, in general, on the issue of homosexuality has had a magnet taken to it and it totally pointing in the wrong direction.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Hmmm… Good questions to ponder and a difficult topic to disect in this medium.
First, one has to define church. If the definition of church is an institution broadly referred to in general terms, then, yes the church has been hi-jacked. Segments of the “church” have become parts of political parties – on both the right and the left. The Right has hi-jacked some of the more outspoken Evangelical talking heads and points that are associated with the “church”. The Left has also done this with some of the more Liturgical branches and highly publicized some of their stances and issues too.
If one defines church as the body of Christ and the true believers in such, then hopefully this hasn’t been hi-jacked and politicized. Maybe all that is taking place is a whittling down of those who attend church for various reasons who were never truly committed in the first place and were looking for a chance to jump ship. Maybe… If you want to attack after reading this point, please wait and keep reading.
Second, I think a question needs to be addressed that this topic brought up and many “commenters” somewhat addressed. To me, these are issues of pop-culture and politics being brought into and influencing the church. The church has allowed itself to be influenced more by outside issues than it has by taking a stand on it’s core issues. Why is that? I believe the church has lost it’s effectiveness because of this and that is why people are leaving. If what one hears from the church sounds like everything else going on outside the church, then, why bother? If the church were to stick to doing what Christ said to do “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and Love your neigbor as yourself.” then the church might actually become attractive to people once again. Yes, it would be polarzing to many – because Christ himself was a polarizing figure, but we would serve the purpose we were meant to serve.
Is it easy for all of us to discuss politics and pop-culture today? Sure, because everyone is aware of them, they give easy talking points, and if you know your audience – one side or the other – than you can pander to your audience.
I think it’s much more difficult to address issues and examine them biblically for fear of stepping on toes or being called a heretic. Can we as a church easily stand up and say, maybe you shouldn’t go to that anti-abortion rally today because by going to the rally you are portraying more hate than love in those that see the rally? Or can we say maybe you shouldn’t go to to the pro gay marriage rally today because maybe that’s a political issue and biblically gay sex is a sin and you’re condoning the sin even if you are showing you love the sinner?
So, yes the church is being pulled and politicized and used by all sides. Maybe we’re all, both sides of the political spectrum, doing what Romans 12:2-3 says we shouldn’t do – “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

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posted October 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm

I don’t like to attend church because it often feels like a waste of time that tears down my ability to worship and love God instead of build it up. I wouldn’t call this a cop-out, I would call it self-protection and efficiency.
I am still involved in small groups outside of church that feed my soul, but they are not necessarily closely affiliated with a church or part of an actual church ministry. Para-church group or complementary group would be a better description for them.
I often feel like people are trying to control me at church and that they will be very disappointed and lose interest in me when they find themselves unsuccessful, or they will just worry and be sad about me whenever they see me. I feel pitied. I hate to feel pitied.
At the same time, I am very uncomfortable with what feels like churches with no standards, so I avoid very liberal churches as well.
I hope someday to go back to church, but I feel like keeping my distance is more helpful to my spiritual health, at least for the time being. I do go to a young adult service sometimes at a church that I occasionally can stomach (I actually am an occasional volunteer for the service; they don’t know about my doubts because they haven’t asked. Volunteering gives me something to do while I’m there so it doesn’t seem so much like a waste of time. I love that other people get a lot out of church so I enjoy supporting that). I go because I want to believe in church, and I want to go and enjoy it. I keep hoping I will.
I find the idea that avoiding church is by nature a cop-out, and that I am not going because I’m lazy, to be insulting. We all have our reasons for our actions. I’m glad some enjoy their time at church more than I do right now, and hope they cherish their time there. I miss church, but in this time in my life I often can’t swallow it.
P.S. I know I will be discounted because I posted anonymously, but I am not ready to come out of hiding. Thanks for understanding.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 5:18 pm

The only thing that is constant is change. We change our hair, our minds, and our clothes. In the mid 90s I was a democrat. Than as I got older, now 35, I became more conservative. It happens all around us, all the time. I have seen the most stern men become putty the first time that they see their grandchild. Having said all that, the Church must learn to deliver the message in a way that relates to change. Businesses do this all the time when their target markets start growing older they need to adapt to the clients ever changing worlds. I really do not think that the Homosexual topic has driven the youth from churches. I think it is there parents…Think about it kids whose parents smoke are more likley to smoke, parents who are over weight are more likley to have children who are over weight. Just the other day there was an article about how teens who are bad drivers learned to drive that way from their, wait for it, parents. I am not saying that it is all the parents fault for their kids shortcomings. At the end of the day God Blessed us with free will, and it is up to each individual to choose his/her paith in life. Remember though Jesus came down from Heaven to save us from ourselves. Just like a parent would save his/her child from making the wrong choices. He did not put a sword to peoples heads and say you will believe me and thats it. He teaches us why we should believe, and how it will make a difference in this world. Parents need to explain to their children why church is important, and they need to go with the kids on Sunday. Sadly most parents have stopped going to church, and the children then stop. The fast paced life style of this world has worn people out, and they just do not realize anymore that church could be the energy drink that they are looking for. The leaders of the church must find a way to bring people back. Jesus had the Holy Spirit come down on His apostles so that they could speak in tounges. Why?? So that people would understand what they were saying. The Church speakes the same language as their people, but the people do not understand them. Change goes for everyone it is what it is…

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Anon 2

posted October 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Well said, Anonymous; thank you. I am also more than a little gun-shy on this topic. BTW, this is not just a “young people problem.” I poured my time & talents & energy into the ministries of the church for over 3 decades & yes, some of those efforts were trying to change things that needed to be changed. I, too, have felt controlled & intimidated to “hold to the party line.” And yes, I have now been alienated by organized religion – & yes, extreme conservative political activism was a major factor. I have not abandoned my faith nor given up on the true church (the body of Christ) but I have long been saddened to see people being un-welcomed by the institutional church. I never dreamed that I’d be one of them.

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posted October 18, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Sad to see the state of
indifference in modern
youth. I was raised to
believe you are put on the
planet to make a difference,
to contribute something of

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Jason Boyett

posted October 19, 2010 at 12:00 am

I appreciate your willingness to comment and I usually tolerate your statements, but in this case I can’t let it go. You’re wrong. You’ve misunderstood the whole point of the post (and the original commentary). “Modern youth” aren’t leaving because they are indifferent. They are leaving for the exact opposite reason: because they care too much to attend a church that is at odds with their social and political beliefs. That’s absolutely NOT apathy. Just because they may come to different conclusions than you doesn’t mean they are not contributing anything of value or making a difference. To think otherwise, as you do, is self-absorbed and ungracious, and I don’t mind saying so.

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posted October 19, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Martin S.,
The problem is that the older generation has whored its faith to preemptive war, reducing taxes, and spitting on gays. The older generation’s faith isn’t Christian, it’s Republican, and that faith has used the younger generation as canon-fodder by making the military the only option for getting an education, using stop loss orders to force the young into multiple deployments, and refusing to provide decent care for young veterans suffering from rates of traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder never seen before in any America war.
The older generation has betrayed the younger generation and they politely refuse to follow your bad example. The younger generation chooses to spend its Sundays at the barricades rather than the altar rails. Who can blame them?

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posted October 20, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Anonymous said “I wouldn’t call this a cop-out, I would call it self-protection and efficiency.”
Where in the Bible does it tell us to be concerned with self-protection and efficiency? To me this goes against the very core of what the Bible is about.
The key to my growth as a Christian has been church. Love it or hate it, it puts me in a position to learn and challenge what I am taught and what I think I understand.
To me, not going to church because of politics like saying you aren’t going to learn addition and subtraction because you don’t like calculus. It is just a nonsensical leap to me. The vast majority of the activities and people in churches aren’t focused on politics. Maybe the “formal” face of the Church has gotten way too tied in with politics. But millions of people with varying political and social beliefs are going to church every week and just doing the best they can to build their faith and build relationships. I stand by my original “cop out” statement. Young people are throwing out the baby with the bathwater (and I am only 31, so I don’t consider myself ancient just yet).
As a nation, we are pushing so hard not to write off all Muslims for the bad actions of some of the extreme- why doesn’t that apply to Christians as well?
I know there are probably quite a few church that have sold their souls to the Conservatives, but they should be really easy to spot.

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posted October 21, 2010 at 11:44 am

Jessica, as a 49 year old with a doctorate in mathematics and twenty years of post-doctoral academic and industrial experience, I’ll demonstrate your statement is a breath-taking piece of illogic.
Leaving the church of one’s birth is not equivalent to obstructing the building of new houses of worship (as Christians are doing to Muslims). Ex-Christians do not persecute Christians.
As a religious group, Christians are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from discrimination in employment, housing, education, etc. These are the very rights that Christians routinely deny gays and lesbians. In 30 states it’s legal to fire me or deny me a job merely because I’m gay. No proof of action is required, which makes my “crime” in the eyes of American Christendom a status crime. I’ve even been asked about my sexual orientation by a federal employer using a lie detector test to exclude me from employment when I was the most qualified student for the job on campus (I was the best, most advanced math undergrad in a top 20 school.).
My own church, the Catholic Church, is the most politically powerful religious institution in the world. It perverted its doctrine and psychology for political expediency so that it could more easily persecute gays by calling them “objectively disordered.” It opposes anti-bullying legislation to prevent gay teenage suicide.
Now that church blames me for it child molestation scandal and spent millions of dollars in my adopted state of California to depict all gays and lesbians as corrupters of children to deny them marriage rights.
I am also a cancer patient and my church seeks to deny me equal access to health insurance because I am gay.
I seek to do nothing to my church other than to defend myself against its attacks on my reputation and human rights.
As for copping out, how is your keeping your mouth shut at your church an act of bravery when dead gay teenagers are stacking up like cord wood because of the hateful doctrines of Christianity and the ruthless actions of Christians?

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posted October 21, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I’m not sure how you know I “keep my mouth shut”. I said in an earlier post, I have no issue with gay people getting married. I have no issue if ADULT polygamists get married. Politically, I am a libertarian. I think the government should stay the hell out of all our business. I know a lot of other Christian who feel the same way. So to right us all off as “politically conservative” is as stupid as writing off all gay people.
And really? Dead gay teenagers are “stacking up like cord wood”? I think this is a GROSS overstatement- gay teenagers absolutely have a higher risk of suicide. But I’d be willing to bet it has more to do with some jackass posting things on the internet or saying hateful things in the hallway than the practices of a religious organization. Hating the church isn’t going to fix anything for those kids out there getting bullied. But plenty of people like me are trying our best to bridge the gap between their religious and political beliefs. We are just trying to live our lives.
I doubt many teenagers are sitting around at night wanting to commit suicide because of policies and doctrines of the Catholic church. I bet plenty are sitting around thinking about the {Baptist, Catholic, atheist, Methodist, Muslim} kid who is going to taunt them in school the next day and say horrible things about them on Facebook.
And all I can say is that I am here, doing the best I can to be a Christian and teach my children that we don’t treat ANYONE badly. The loudest voice I have is to raise my daughter and son to treat people with respect and dignity. You can call that an act of cowardice if you want, but I don’t think it is. The fact is that regardless of the fact that it is illegal, people get passed over for jobs for being fat or ugly or black or female all the time- and if they add being gay to that list, it won’t change the fact that it will still happen. It doesn’t make it right but whatever we want to believe, no law is going to the change the hearts of people. So I feel like I am doing the bravest thing I can do- help to shape and guide the people I have the most influence over- my family and my friends.
So go on and say I am not brave. Just remember that I don’t deserve your sweeping judgment of me as a human being. It seems to me that should be EXACTLY the type of behavior you would want to avoid.

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posted October 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm

As is prone to happen, huge assumptions are being made in comments about other comments – and lots of talking past each other.
I may or may not be speaking for others, but I at least was simply answering the question that was originally posed: “Have you seen this shift in your life and/or church affiliation? Do you know people who are abandoning the Church because of their politics (or its politics)?”
Yes, definitely, I have seen it and I know many people (of all ages) who are not welcome in churches – and a major factor is the “intolerant, hypocritical, judgmental” dogma of those within the church. However, my making this statement does not mean that I hate the church. Far from it, my heart is broken to see the body of Christ get so distracted from the Good News of the Gospel by the political rallying that happens in many church settings. Therefore it is painful to be accused of hating the church for pointing out ways that she is acting contrary to Scripture.
Jessica, it seems that you are making some pretty big (& inaccurate) assumptions about those of us who are no longer in the institutional church. It feels like you are making light of the agonizing decisions that have been made without really having any idea of the kind of manipulation that we have dealt with. The church is not a safe place for many people who are desperately seeking God – & the seekers should not be the ones blamed for that.

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You said you had a big announcement coming today. What is it? The announcement is this: Right now you are reading the final post on this blog. Ever. Ever? Ever. So you're shutting this blog down? Well, I'm going to stop writing any new posts for it. But the blog will still be here. Th

posted 6:11:49am Jun. 01, 2011 | read full post »

My Introvert Interview
On Monday, author Adam McHugh delivered a guest post about the "snarling 8-headed monster" of the writing process. Today I return the favor -- sort of -- via an interview at his blog, Introverted Church. We talk about how my introverted personality has impacted my faith and doubt, and how the extrov

posted 3:05:36pm May. 25, 2011 | read full post »

Harold Camping: "Invisible Judgment Day"
When the rapture didn't occur as predicted on May 21, 2011, Harold Camping had a few options. Here is how he could have responded to the failed prediction, in descending levels of crazy: 1. He could announce that he was wrong. This is the most reasonable option and was therefore unexpected. I wou

posted 9:06:24am May. 24, 2011 | read full post »

The Phases of Writing (Adam McHugh)
If you've ever felt out of place among all the exciting, expressive, emotional enthusiasm of a contemporary church service...or an evangelist's demands that you need to constantly be sharing your faith boldly to strangers...if it simply wipes you out to be surrounded by people all the time,  then y

posted 7:46:00am May. 23, 2011 | read full post »


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