As the nation grows less religious, the 116th Congress is reported to be the most religiously diverse in its storied history. According to Pew Research, 80 percent of Americans may believe in God, but nearly one-third say the “deity” in whom they believe in is not the God of the Bible, but “a higher power.”
One curious aspect of the Pew report was that those who believe in the God of the Bible find him to be far more relevant in their lives than those who do not. Pew also reported that 58 percent believed that “churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship” help solve social problems. While 39 percent said that they contribute little or nothing.
Since 1990, Americans with no religious affiliation has grown from 8 to 22 percent. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 38 percent of those under age 30 have no religious affiliation, labeled “nones” who will outnumber Catholics by next year, and Protestants by 2035.
A recent Gallup poll revealed those who attend church “less often” believe faith to be outdated and old-fashioned. Perhaps what they fail to realize is that as religion – Christianity in particular – declines, the fabric of American society will continue to fade and deteriorate.
This paradigm shift in religious ideology should concern everyone, believers and nonbelievers alike. From well before 1776 to the middle of the 20th century, 98 percent of Americans believed the nation’s moral values were rooted in the Bible. And from 1900 until the late 1950s, such an unyielding faith would witness the construction of more churches and synagogues than at any other time in the nation’s history.
Fast forward to a span in just two generations, nearly one in four Americans claim no religious identification. Another 50 percent acknowledged only a moderate or intermittent concern for religion in survey after survey.
Even our courts treat religion as an impediment to liberty rather than an essential component that a free society must protect and defend.
When faith retreats the ripple effect is far reaching. For one, charitable giving and volunteering decreases. Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once pronounced the U.S. as “the most magnanimous, the most generous country in the world.” Such generosity has always been linked to faith.
As that faith fades so will the charity associated with it.
Religious institutions have always been the main driving force behind American philanthropy. Between 2000 and 2014, Nonprofit Quarterly reported that the share of American households donating to charity fell from 66 percent to 55.5 percent. Despite that according to Pew, monetary donations total over $44 billion per year, surpassing the humanitarian aid provided by Uncle Sam by $11 billion.
Volunteering has also taken a hit from fire companies to civic and veteran’s organizations despite the fact that nearly half of churchgoers volunteered within the past week.
Even with such Christian giving and according to the University of Maryland’s “Do Good Institute,” the proportion of Americans volunteering dropped to 24.9 percent, which is a 15-year low. When these statistics are juxtaposed with the shrinking of the American Christian community, they should hoist a red flag of concern.
There is a growing trend where people are not just turning away from Christianity, but against it. Congressional Democrats’ recent demands for religious litmus tests for political nominees – all unconstitutional – underscores this. Moreover, the Democratic House passing The Equality Act. It may sound reasonable, but in actuality would undercut religious freedom, free speech, and faith-based hospitals.
Vice President Mike Pence’s wife Karen was ridiculed because she works at a Christian school, while a healthy dose of fake news reports claimed a group Catholic school boys harassed a Native American at the March for Life. Gone are the days when Leftists pretended to view faith as something relegated to homes, churches, and parochial schools.
The reigning Culture of Death, so aptly labeled by Pope John Paul II, is not just a political fight, but a spiritual war for the souls, not only for the American nation, but for all of Western Civilization.
Christianity has prevented America from turning into the socialist utopia that folks like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other 40 new Democrats in the House would like it to become.
Judeo-Christian values have made America free and prosperous and the greatest force for good in the world.
Without such charitable tenets, all of that will forever change.
Greg Maresca is a freelance writer who lives in Elysburg, Northumberland County.