When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)
What makes this all the more fascinating is that the Barna Group is a pro-Christian research firm. They exist to provide data with an eye towards growing and strengthening Christianity. These aren’t a bunch of rowdy atheists saying, “So there.” Neither are, I would add, Jamelle or Rachel. Both are Christians and both are deeply disturbed this information, and by the results:
Later research, documented in Kinnaman’s You Lost Me, reveals that one of the top reasons 59 percent of young adults with a Christian background have left the church is because they perceive the church to be too exclusive, particularly regarding their LGBT friends. Eight million twenty-somethings have left the church, and this is one reason why.
Close to 60% of teenagers who go to church drop out after they leave the nest. Obviously, as an atheist, I can’t see this as a bad thing. I appreciate that liberal Christians like Rachel and Jamelle find spiritual solace in having faith, but by and large, the historical purpose of religion is not to comfort but to control. Religion’s primary function is, if you look at the whole of history, about creating rationales for unjust power hierarchies. Kings have used “god” as their excuse for absolute power, and religion is the primary reason that men in a diverse array of cultures over cite as the reason they should be the lords of their wives and daughters. Even liberal Christians are tied to the long history of power-grabbing through religion, using the language of submission and calling believers a “kingdom”. When it comes to fighting against gay rights and feminism, the church is functioning as it was designed to do: Support existing power structures, guilt and shame people considered inferior, and demand the right to ultimate control. This fits in neatly with, oh, all of history.
It’s also worth noting that situations like this undermine the religion apologist argument that states that morality comes from religion. It clearly doesn’t. Instead, what you see is that people have an existing moral system and they evaluate their religion by it, rejecting the faith if it conflicts with their morality or embracing it if it’s conducive to their morality. People whose moraly systems are built around establishing strict power hierarchies, and stomping out sex and other forms of pleasure they see as subversive, well, those folks fucking love religion. It’s a self-perpetuating system, but one thing it absolutely demonstrates is moral decision-making isn’t something granted us by religious power, but something we do for ourselves, based on input from a variety of sources, including internal ones.
Situations like this demonstrate, however, that while the appeal for many to most ardent believers in a faith is that it gives them power and control, that power is not, in fact, absolute. The church needs people in the pews to survive, and while those people are constantly told their role is to submit and obey, if they just decide they don’t want to, the church is shown to be an emperor with no clothes. Thus, religion throughout history has had plenty of takebacks. The churches that used to preach segregation and white supremacy don’t do so anymore, at least as openly. A lot of churches, especially more mainstream ones, are giving up on the argument that women are just support staff, and many are even letting them be ministers and priests. Either they get with the times on gay marriage, or they find their ability to exert power diminish. Since churches are about power, most of them will adjust over time. That’s why they’re freaking out now; they know what’s coming.
In the meantime, every time a situation like this arises, where progressive change is demanded and churches resist mightily before giving in, a chunk of believers walks away, never to return. I think that’s great. Good to see people realizing that in a fight between morality and faith, morality should win.
Here’s why Trump contradicted his own White House on the Supreme Court rulings
Following the Supreme Court's pair of 7-2 decisions rejecting President Donald Trump's claim to have absolute immunity from subpoenas, he blasted the ruling on Twitter, claiming he being unfairly targeted and the victim of "prosecutorial misconduct." However, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany released a statement saying that "President Trump is gratified by today’s decision."
‘They deserve it’: Republican strategist tells GOP it’s their own fault for going down with Trump because ‘they know better’
Republican strategist Susan del Percio said that there is no excuse for GOP members who failed to do the right thing and fight back against President Donald Trump when they had the opportunity.
Speaking to MSNBC's Joy Reid Thursday, del Percio called Trump "the anchor" around the GOP's necks, "dragging them down."
"But, you know what, they deserve it," she continued. "There are Republicans out there that deserve this because they know better. They should have been better on impeachment. They should have been holding him accountable all along. Now they are scared and worried about themselves. Well, boohoo, you brought it on. there's no excuse."
‘The monarch has taken a body blow’: Ex-prosecutor explains why Court ruling is devastating for Trump
On MSNBC Thursday, former federal prosecutor John Flannery broke down the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling against President Donald Trump on immunity from subpoenas.
"I think what it says is that the monarch has taken a body blow as a result of what will be an historic decision, as we've indicated," said Flannery. "I think that the position of the DA in New York is very special, because he can speed this up in a way that the House can',t and has a specific strength, I think, in this case, that it is criminal."
"The most significant thing about it is this is the first Supreme Court case in which there's ever been agreed that a prosecutor could subpoena a president," added Flannery. "Prior prosecutions have been federal, that have been treated by the Supreme Court. So this is a big difference. The majority of the court, 7-2, basically said, from 1740 on, the public is entitled to the testimony, to the evidence of any person. They said that the documents — the question is the character documents, not the character of the person. In this case, what we have is a situation which I bet that the DA is going to go to the court as soon as possible, move to compel an appearance to their subpoena, and going to have the discussion as to what if anything may be limited or excluded and get production as quickly as possible."