Thursday, May 10, 2012

Destroying the Christian Brand

The exact numbers in this Rachel Held Evans piece, which show that almost all young American non-Christians and even most self-identified young American Christians think that the primary tenet of Christianity is hating on the gays, are a little higher than I've seen from other public opinion surveys. But the general shape is the same. The Millenial Generation has broadly equated Christianity with the political project of conservative Christians at the national level. Which is to say, opposition to abortion and gay marriage, with little room for anything else. Locally, this or that Catholic Parish or mainline Protestant congregation may try to insert itself into issues such as homelessness, or even at the national level we might see the Catholic Bishops might criticize Paul Ryan's budget. But these efforts are being drowned out by the homophobia and antiabortion rhetoric.

This should really serve as a wake up call to church leaders. The once near-universal brand of American Christianity is being associated with an ever-shrinking size of the American public. Like Burger King and Axe Body Spray, you may wake up one day and find that the overwhelming majority of the public has simply tuned out everything you have to say. Now, it's always possible that the leaders of the major American churches may want it this way. But for those who don't, the window of opportunity where people might be willing to consider a more relevant form of modern Christianity is closing.

(hat tips to Amanda MarcotteJamelle Bouie).
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