Which I guess for us means not only are we going to lose now, we’re going to lose big time in the future!
The bad news:
Their alarm has been stoked by a highly suspect claim that if current trends continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be “Bible-believing Christians” as adults. That would be a sharp decline compared with 35 percent of the current generation of baby boomers, and before that, 65 percent of the World War II generation.
The good news? The poll’s ten years old. If we’ve got both houses of Congress and the White House with only 4 percent onboard a decade later, then there’s no place to go but up. “Traditional values,” i.e. sexual circumspection, appear to be making a comeback too (at least in the UK), which also sounds promising electorally.
On the other hand:
A nationwide poll of 1,500 registered voters released yesterday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of white evangelicals are inclined to vote for Republican congressional candidates in the midterm elections, a 21-point drop in support among this critical part of the GOP base.
Even before the Foley scandal, the portion of white evangelicals with a “favorable” impression of the Republican Party had fallen sharply this year, from 63 percent to 54 percent, according to Pew polls.
Moran puts a little lipstick on that pig by noting that most of those disaffected voters don’t appear to be crossing the aisle, just staying home. So it’s not a worst-case scenario.
It’s just really, really bad.
I leave you with Benjamin Netanyahu telling American Jews to get out while they can. 230 years of tolerance and we’re still on probation, huh? I guess you can never be too careful.
Update: KP e-mails to say that the Times article about declining enthusiasm for religious among teens is nonsense, and points me to her latest blog post and this lengthy article she wrote a few months ago for the Washington Spectator on the subject. Quote:
According to a 2005 study by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, which has been surveying college students for 38 years, today’s students rank spirituality and religion as high as getting a job or doing well economically. The study found that three-fourths of college students say they are “searching for meaning or purpose in life,” more than three-quarters believe in God, and three-quarters say they pray. Bull sessions on the meaning of life are nothing new, but the existence of a charismatic and organized religious movement dedicated to changing American culture is.
This is happening despite the decampment of many evangelicals to Christian schools. According to the Department of Education, total fall enrollment at member campuses of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) grew more than 70 percent from 1990 to 2004. In the same time frame, all public four-year campuses grew only 12.8 percent; all independent four-year campuses grew 28 percent and all independent religious four-year campuses grew 27.5 percent.
Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are Changing America, says students graduating from religious colleges are determined to influence American culture from the inside. Rather than retreating to red-state safety, they want to be around people who don’t share their beliefs. Riley describes this “Missionary Generation” as a savvy group who are seeking the same kinds of careers as those who attend secular schools. A contributor to the Wall Street Journal and National Review, Riley says that the students at religious colleges are “red through and through.” Since she surveyed only 20 schools, it’s hard to know if this assertion is fact or wishful thinking.