Mainline Protestants

Decline Of Religiosity In America A Sign Of The Future In America

In the past few decades, we have seen the deleterious influence of the Christian Right in America, promoted in the 1970s and 1980s and beyond by the likes of the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

They and other preachers have utilized their influence to attempt to dominate American politics, and promote a right wing agenda that promotes intolerance and hate.

This includes opposition to women’s rights to control their own bodies (misogyny); opposition to gay rights and gay marriage; the repudiation of science for the teachings of the Bible; the rewriting of American history to make it seem that the Founding Fathers wanted a national religion and a theocracy to govern us; advocacy of war overseas against Islamic civilization; promotion of nativism on the issue of immigration; belief that school prayer will somehow change America in their direction; and attempts to legislate morality limits through control of government.

Originally known as the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition, many of these preachers have become super rich and gained the following of millions who have stopped using their brains, and just accept the unethical, hypocritical utterances of charismatic figures.

Despite this, there is now evidence that more Americans, particularly the young and disaffected, have abandoned organized religion and its narrow minded tenets. The Pew Research Center describes this group as the “Nones”, and they are 22.8 percent of US adults, up from 16.7 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, those who identify as Christian have declined nationally from 78 to 71 percent, including not only evangelicals but also Catholics and mainline Protestants and Mormons. There has also been growing disillusionment with the Catholic Church, mainline Protestant sects, and the Mormon Church.

The “Nones” outnumber Catholics (20.8 percent) and mainline Protestants (14.7 percent), demonstrating a constant decline in adults who identify as being Christians. “Nones” include those who have no religious affiliation, as well as those who say they are Atheists and Agnostics.

Evangelical Protestants still are the largest group at 25.8 percent, but they have declined, and it is clear that the “Nones” will eventually surpass them in the adult population of America over the next couple of decades, as many of the Evangelicals are older and will die off over time, as young Americans reject their divisive ideology!

The Evangelical Right And The Republican Party Future In 2016

The evangelical Right has an important impact in the Republican Party, but it also is a guarantee of failure for the GOP in the Presidential Election of 2016.

The evangelical Right can affect the results in the Iowa Caucuses and the South Carolina Primary, and in much of the South and the Great Plains and parts of the Midwest, but its candidates cannot win the Presidency.

Out of all of the potential and real GOP Presidential candidates, the following would have the ability to appeal to the evangelical Right:

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Retired Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson

Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry

NONE of the above six will win the GOP nomination, and the majority of the nation’s people (including mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Jews) believes in just the opposite of what the Evangelical Right believes:

They support gay rights and gay marriage as acceptable.

They support gun control laws of some kind.

They support abortion rights for women, possibly with restrictions, but the basic right of women to control their own bodies and future.

They are against religious interference in government policy making.

They support immigration reform, although disagreeing on details.

They support Obama Care, possibly with changes and modifications.

They support protection of the environment from the power of powerful energy companies.

They support a higher minimum wage and other labor reforms.

They are against corporate domination of the campaign finance system.

They are concerned about right wing extremism of all kinds.

The average American is much more tolerant and open minded than the evangelical Right, which, at most, might be able to gain backing of about one third of all Americans, and also of actual voters.

So appealing to the evangelical Right is NOT a path to victory for the Presidency, or even the nomination!

Rick Santorum Attacked Mainline Protestantism Four Years Ago: The Fight Against Satan!

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, the frontrunner in many polls for the Republican Presidential nomination, is now revealed belatedly to have issued a harsh attack on mainline Protestantism–meaning the Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist and other churches who have, at least in portions, accepted the growing role of women and of gays and lesbians in church affairs–in a speech at Ave Maria University in Florida in 2008.

Santorum, a conservative Catholic, who is appealing to many evangelical Christian groups, condemned the mainline Protestants for having given in to Satan by liberalizing their approach to the Gospel.

Since mainline Protestants are a very large group as a whole in American religious life, this revelation should have a dramatic effect, and become a new issue in American politics. Many mainline Protestants have already abandoned what they consider the hardline, narrow minded view of the Republican Party since the 1990s, and have often been described as “progressive” in their social views.

So we may be witnessing a new religious “war”, in which evangelical Christians, conservative Catholics, and Orthodox Jews are pitted against mainline Protestants, liberal oriented Catholics, and Conservative and Reform Jews, in the struggle for the spiritual support of Americans, in a country that was created based on separation of church and state, but has been pushed toward a theocratic vision by right wing religious advocates, which clearly include Rick Santorum as their present day “savior” from reform and modernization!

Religion And Same Sex Marriage: Not Uniform In Opposition!

The general impression that most Americans have is that all organized religious groups condemn the idea of same sex marriage, but nothing is farther from the truth!

Certainly, in a broad sense, the following groups DO oppose gay marriage with great vehemence: Evangelical Christians, the Catholic Church, Mormons, Orthodox Jews, African American Protestants, and Hispanic Pentecostals.

However, at the same time, the following groups often support the concept of gay marriage as legitimate: Mainline Protestant groups, including Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, United Church of Christ, and Lutherans, although all have splits on the issue; some rebel Catholic groups; and Reform Judaism.

It is clear that clergy were intimately involved in the passage of gay marriage in the New York State legislature, convincing a few Republicans to switch over to support, which would make the difference between victory and defeat.

Religious groups are divided on the subject, so one cannot say that those who speak for God are uniformly opposed, and progress has been made over the past decade in changing many religious groups to have an open mind and a tolerant view of promoting commitment and love outside the mainstream!