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The Death of American Religion
Townhall.com ^ | November 21, 2012 | Ben Shapiro

Posted on 11/21/2012 1:25:48 PM PST by Kaslin

In the aftermath of the re-election of President Barack Obama, conservatives searched the heavens and the earth for answers. Some suggested that Mitt Romney lost because Republicans didn't reach out more to Latino voters; some suggested that Romney lost because his "get out the vote" system fell apart on Election Day. Romney himself said that he lost because President Obama separated voting groups with particularly calibrated "gifts" designed to curry their favor.

In truth, Mitt Romney lost for the same reason that traditional marriage lost on Election Day: America is becoming a less religious country. And that bodes ill for the future of the United States.

It's not that religious voters didn't turn out for Romney. They did in droves. Fully 26 percent of voters -- 3 percent more than in 2004 -- were white evangelicals who supported Romney 79 to 21. Fifty-three percent of the electorate identified as Protestant; another 25 percent identified as Catholic.

But a full 40 percent of voters attended church or synagogue rarely; 17 percent of voters never attended church or synagogue at all. Indeed, 12 percent of the voting base didn't report a religious affiliation at all. That adds up to 69 percent of the population. And this population broke for Barack Obama.

This isn't to argue that secular people can't be good, hard-working Americans; the vast majority of them are. It isn't to argue, either, that they don't vote Republican; many of them do. But the increasing secularization of America means the increasing importance of the state in American life. For generations, the religious community looked to two sources for inspiration and support in times of crisis: God and fellow members of the community. The secular community looks to one source: the state. Where the religious believer understands that it is immoral to deprive someone else of their property by force, even when such stealing is given legal cover by the state, the secularist believes that the morality of redistributionism takes precedence over the morality of respect for the rights of others. The same folks who voted for gay marriage and abortion voted for a broad expansion of the state and for higher tax rates.

That's not because Republicans are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage; even if Republicans ignored the issues -- as, indeed, Mitt Romney tried to do -- secularists would still link a larger state with a pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage position. That's because the same position that rejects the sanctity of unborn life tends to reject the sanctity of private property; both are based on the John Locke-ian premise that man is special in the universe, and that the product of his labor is an extension of his special place in the universe. Ignore man's Godly origins and his property becomes a dispensable commodity rather than a fulfillment of a divine mission.

More than that, the religious society rests on two fundamental principles: personal responsibility and belief in responsibility to future generations. Secularism rejects both principles. Personal responsibility becomes societal responsibility in the secular view; we are all shaped by our genetics and our environment, both of which are out of our control. How, then, can we be held responsible for our actions? As for responsibility to future generations, the prophet of modern day leftist economics, John Maynard Keynes, summed it up best: "In the long run, we are all dead." Tap out the public treasury now, and grab your redistributionist cash for there is no kingdom of heaven -- and you won't be around to reap the consequences of your decisions.

Perhaps libertarianism is a solution. But historically, it hasn't been. Every godless society has turned radically to the left. There are religious societies that turn to the left, too -- Islamic societies tend toward Marxist economic schemes -- but the traditional Judeo-Christian philosophy has forwarded capitalism.

So, can American society survive its turn to secularism? It can, but only in a different form -- a more European form. The best hope for a return to fundamental American principles is a return to the fundamental American philosophy embodied on our coinage: E Pluribus Unum on one side, In God We Trust on the other.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012election; barackobama; death; faithandfamily; mittromney; religion

1 posted on 11/21/2012 1:26:02 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
America is finished. There is no way to stop the destruction that the communists black Muslim King Obama will hand Americans.
2 posted on 11/21/2012 1:28:38 PM PST by Logical me
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To: Kaslin

When mainstream Christians allowed the socialists to corrupt their churches the end was inevitable.


3 posted on 11/21/2012 1:29:31 PM PST by SWAMPSNIPER (')
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To: Kaslin

Once sex, drunkenness, perversion of all kinds are no longer considered bad or evil by society, but rather accepted - it’s game over man.
I think that happened more than 4 years ago tho - just sayin


4 posted on 11/21/2012 1:34:53 PM PST by WorkerbeeCitizen (we are so screwed - ^_^)
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To: WorkerbeeCitizen

Sex isn’t bad or evil.


5 posted on 11/21/2012 1:37:50 PM PST by Borges
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To: Kaslin

The problem is not the death of religion in America, it is that religions for too long tried to imagine they had greater numbers of congregants who were *nominally* religious, rather than people who actually embraced their faith, who are their actual numbers.

Take Catholicism, for example. Despite instruction from their bishops and priests, slightly less than half the total number of people thought as Catholic actually *were* Catholic.

The rest are “secular” Catholics, who for what ever reason still call themselves Catholic, or even imagine themselves as Catholic, but who clearly are not.

And every religion in America could be divided this way.

In truth, America is much, much more secular than it lets on. But if religions could brace themselves and purge those who are not religious from their ranks, they would find that the true faith of those remaining is much greater.

Such a purge would be good for all concerned. If people are truly not religious, then they should not burden their lives with religion, burdening also religious people who do believe.

But at the same time, it forces those who are secular to reexamine their lives. Many of them need to be “out in the cold” to realize that they actually need to be religious, and should be religious. That they have been remiss in their faith and spirituality.


6 posted on 11/21/2012 1:40:34 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (DIY Bumper Sticker: "THREE TIMES,/ DEMOCRATS/ REJECTED GOD")
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To: Logical me
America is finished. There is no way to stop the destruction that the communists black Muslim King Obama will hand Americans.

I have a question. It is an honest question. I don't want an argument, just to understand.

If you believe what you wrote, why do you waste time reading and posting on a site such as Free Republic?

7 posted on 11/21/2012 1:42:14 PM PST by RobinOfKingston (Democrats--the party of Evil. Republicans--the party of Stupid.)
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To: Kaslin
based on the John Locke-ian premise that man is special in the universe

I thought that was established by David in Psalm 8, not Locke.

8 posted on 11/21/2012 1:46:29 PM PST by lightman (If the Patriarchate of the East held a state like the Vatican I would apply for political asylum.)
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To: Kaslin

marxism is atheistic materialism. The country is more than half way there.


9 posted on 11/21/2012 1:49:21 PM PST by I want the USA back
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To: lightman

This is part of the problem, Americans are too obsessed with the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment had some of its merits, but it’s also the same intellectual wellspring which totalitarianism and the French Revolution emerged from.

Western Civilization is far older than the Modern Era, and we should be proud of our history prior to the 18th Century.


10 posted on 11/21/2012 1:49:41 PM PST by Shadow44
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To: Kaslin
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:13, 14, NIV).

I'm thinking not being in the majority was expected. I voted for Romney, but I can't say I was surprised by the result nor by the follow on call for the R party to jettison its remaining moral positions and chase the mob.

11 posted on 11/21/2012 1:55:48 PM PST by throwback (The object of opening the mind, is as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.)
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To: Borges
Sex isn’t bad or evil.

If you do it right, it's not.

12 posted on 11/21/2012 2:01:54 PM PST by Graybeard58 (What G.O.P.e. candidate is in store for us in 2016?)
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To: lightman
I thought that was established by David in Psalm 8, not Locke.

There's nothing new under the sun.

I think about that when I see, "A nation divided cannot stand", attributed to A. Lincoln. He may have said it but he certainly did not originate it.

13 posted on 11/21/2012 2:11:58 PM PST by Graybeard58 (What G.O.P.e. candidate is in store for us in 2016?)
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To: Kaslin

Romney lost because the GOP turned its back to conservatives.
The Republican Party will lose next election if they fail to run a conservative candidate.


14 posted on 11/21/2012 2:26:42 PM PST by SECURE AMERICA (Where can I sign up for the New American Revolution and the Crusades 2012?)
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To: Borges

once sex is brought out of the bedroom, publicly displayed and perverted it is


15 posted on 11/21/2012 3:12:58 PM PST by WorkerbeeCitizen (we are so screwed - ^_^)
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To: Shadow44

I watched a fascinating movie last night. It was called The Separation. It was about a Muslim family and centered around a civil/criminal dispute conducted before a Sharia arbitrator.

What came through to me was how a fear of God or Allah pervades their legal system and society. This movie was not about Muslim extremism just two supposedly typical families dealing with a heart wrenching dispute.

Whatever one thinks about Sharia law, the movie brought home that theme of divine retribution and how America no longer fears God. The Separation was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s at Netflix.


16 posted on 11/21/2012 3:49:35 PM PST by A'elian' nation (Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. Jacques Barzun)
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To: RobinOfKingston

He sees nothing left to do but vent and lament?


17 posted on 11/21/2012 4:15:47 PM PST by Trod Upon (Obama: Making the Carter malaise look good. Misery Index in 3...2...1)
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To: Borges
Sex isn’t bad or evil.

Only if done with the same gender, which is getting more popular daily.

18 posted on 11/21/2012 4:19:24 PM PST by itsahoot (Any enemy, that is allowed to have a King's X line, is undefeatable. (USS Taluga AO-62))
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To: WorkerbeeCitizen

Not just accepted but celebrated and promoted, as in public schools. We are a lost nation.


19 posted on 11/21/2012 4:23:33 PM PST by ilovesarah2012
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To: Kaslin
white evangelicals who supported Romney 79 to 21.

Apparently evangelicals didn't have a problem with Mitt's Mormonism as some predicted. I wonder, though, if non-religious moderates and independents may have been spooked by it.

20 posted on 11/21/2012 4:25:26 PM PST by Yardstick
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To: Yardstick

If I were planning to destroy a country the first thing I would do is destroy its belief in its God.


21 posted on 11/21/2012 4:34:32 PM PST by Robwin
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

As I once heard a minister who was no longer on a payroll that he could risk being cut from he stated, “There is a difference between the visible church and the invisible church”. It was a reference to Jesus’ comments regarding the wheat and the chaff.


22 posted on 11/21/2012 4:39:11 PM PST by MachIV
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To: Yardstick
[OP:] white evangelicals who supported Romney 79 to 21.

Apparently evangelicals didn't have a problem with Mitt's Mormonism as some predicted. I wonder, though, if non-religious moderates and independents may have been spooked by it.

It is misleading - It is derived from exit polling... It isn't the Evangelicals who voted that matter here (which would be tallied in an exit poll), It is the ones who didn't.

23 posted on 11/21/2012 4:40:26 PM PST by roamer_1 (Globalism is just socialism in a business suit.)
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To: roamer_1

From what I’ve read, the overall evangelical turnout as a percentage of the electorate was an all time high in this election, and the percentage of them who voted for Romney was an all time high as well. It was the same percentage as Bush got in 2004 and better than McCain in 2008.


24 posted on 11/21/2012 6:30:16 PM PST by Yardstick
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To: Yardstick
From what I’ve read, the overall evangelical turnout as a percentage of the electorate was an all time high in this election, and the percentage of them who voted for Romney was an all time high as well. It was the same percentage as Bush got in 2004 and better than McCain in 2008.

Two things:

First, statistics can be read to mean anything... it is all about the interpretation. For instance, Since most exit polls are conducted in big cities or suburbs of big cities, and folks that live there are more inclined to swallow a big government liberal like Romney, it is perhaps likely that even evangelicals living there are more susceptible to liberalism. But by and large, if one gets to small town America, Evangelicals are much the same as they have always been. And that is where Evangelicals are in great numbers. Don't measure the Bible Belt according to Kansas City.

In that same vein, it depends upon who exactly is calling themselves Evangelical - there is a big push from left leaning protestant churches to recapture the term (my own sister among them in her conversations with me). A person from liberal mainline protestantism can consider themselves 'evangelical' in the politically neutral case of the term, but Mainline Protestantism is *not* part of the Christian Right, and is more likely to inhabit those same big cities and their suburbs. I have no doubt whatsoever that Romney got big numbers among 'Prebyterian USA' members, and from other churches of that ilk... Depending upon the choices given at the exit poll, these could easily be lumped in with proper Evangelicals.

And lastly, I don't think Bush 2k4 is much of a bellwether wrt measuring the gross numbers possible out of the Christian Right - nor even Bush 2k... McCain certainly is no bellwether at all. What one can do is understand that around 2k4, The Christian Right (through Falwell's claims, I believe) was thought to be capable of an average of 30m votes, but could, at that time, swell to 60m votes if properly energized. Then add a reasonable number for growth, as Conservative Christians tend toward big families, and The Christian Right via churches is the fastest growing portion of the entire 'Christian' ball of wax (by far)...

Without allowing for that growth one can brag that 'Bush got more evangelicals than Reagan', but still be in a lower percentage of actual turnout v actual possible turnout. The same case is now being made for Romney, as it was for McCain.

For those reasons, I really don't believe the numbers presented. Romney didn't get the Chick-Fil-A folks to turnout.And while his Mormon religion is a pretty big strike against him in itself, it is his extremely liberal record wrt abortion and gay rights that did him in. I guarantee it. But far be it from the PTB to let that info out. The GOP has been moving left on those issues for almost a decade (and never really wanted to support the Right on them in the first place).

If the Christian Right turned out big for Romney, then that means they are buying into that leftward lean, and because of that, the GOP is free to lean ever leftward. I don't buy it. Not for one minute.

25 posted on 11/22/2012 1:10:22 PM PST by roamer_1 (Globalism is just socialism in a business suit.)
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