If there’s one thing the Millennial Generation is known for, it’s their love of everyone regardless of their differences. Perhaps that is why they see the turn Christianity has taken to intolerance and has become far too conservative.
The generation born between 1980 and 2000 is the most diverse generation in history and was raised during the rise of the LGBT rights movement and strive for equality. So, seeing anti-choice, anti-LGBT white evangelicals co-opting Christianity and supporting President Donald Trump to the tune of 75 percent, isn’t exactly good for the religion’s branding.
According to surveys by the Pew Foundation, 23 percent of Generation X (born before millennials in 1965-1980) claim no religious affiliation. That number shoots up to 34 percent of older millennials (born between 1981-1989). It’s even higher, 36 percent for younger millennials (born between 1990 and 1996). The Washington Post conducted their own survey in 2017 that had similar results.
The shift didn’t happen with Trump, however. There was a time that former President Bill Clinton had a strong relationship with the late Rev. Billy Graham, whose son Franklin Graham has taken his father’s somewhat compassionate conservatism and turned it into rants about morality while justifying Trump’s adultery.
An important moment in the life of millennials came during the 2004 election, when Karl Rove and the right-wing collaborated to put nearly a dozen initiatives on the ballot to outlaw same-sex marriage during the 2004 election. It mobilized 10 million evangelicals to the polls and ushered in a wave of Republicans. Churches across the country railed against the immorality of homosexuality, bumping up against pop-culture icons coming out of the closet and anti-bullying campaigns aimed at teens.
White evangelicals have coopted mainstream Christianity, and an entire generation has never lived in an world without hypocritical pastors worshiping the almighty dollar and begging the poor to send Jesus their retirement funds.
Then there is Christianity’s science problem. Rather than embracing science and finding new ways to frame religion around kindness, humility or service, the evangelical movement has fought tooth and nail to ban science. From textbook lies to biology rewrites that demand teaching a religious text next to religious text, the right wing has tried to turn an generation into being science-stupid. They might win small battles with Baby Boomers but they’re losing the long-term war with the largest generation in history also being the most educated in history.
Global, the decline in Christianity has been steady over time. Western European countries, Australia and New Zealand have all seen declines in religious affiliation. The United States has historically maintained it’s stronghold. Until now. The Beast points out that the decline in the U.S. is unprecedented in American history. “Until the last decades of the 20th century, they fell in line with the denominational attachments of their parents.”
While millennials share very close relationships with their parents, they’ve formulated their own ideas and opinions. Today, millennials have now become key influencers in changing the culture and the minds of Baby Boomers along with it.
The days of Focus on the Family and Pat Robertson warning you about the evil homosexuals coming to take your soul are coming to an end — and they might take the majority of Christianity down along with it.