GOP’s failed ideologies reason for loss of faith and decline in White Protestants?
Number of Protestant Americans Is in Steep Decline, Study Finds
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: October 9, 2012
For the first time since researchers began tracking the religious identity of Americans, fewer than half said they were Protestants, a steep decline from 40 years ago when Protestant churches claimed the loyalty of more than two-thirds of the population.
A new study released on Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that it was not just liberal mainline Protestants, like Methodists or Episcopalians, who abandoned their faith, but also more conservative evangelical and ‘born again’ Protestants. The losses were among white Protestants, but not among black or minority Protestants, the study found, based on surveys conducted during the summer.
When they leave, instead of switching churches, they join the growing ranks who do not identify with any religion. Nearly one in five Americans say they are atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular.’
This is a significant jump from only five years ago, when adults who claimed ‘no religion’ made up about 15 percent of the population. It is a seismic shift from 40 years ago, when about 7 percent of American adults said they had no religious affiliation.
Number of Protestant Americans Is in Steep Decline? I think I know why - anecdotal on my part and why its affecting whites and not minorities and black Protestants.
I think a large part or significant part of American Protestant movement had been co-opted over the last 30 years since the 1980s by the Republican party. The Protestant movement has for the last 30 years plus been a cocktail of ideologies and theologies that somehow got linked to Republican conservative ideology.
Within this movement you had the end timers first and foremost. They were the ones that figured out that the USSR was probably linked to the anti-christ and the endtimes. Their theology grew up hand in hand with the Cold War and the Evil Empire rhetoric of Reagan and the GOP.
Then the Cold War ended and the fantasy end time scenario did not happen. That disappointment, I feel took a toll. I have several books before and after the fall of the USSR, where the same authors try and explain away why their scenarios did not happen (the Gog/Magog types are still out there but there are less of them).
Not to worry though, here comes Saddam Hussein and the Gulf War and that kept the end times scenario alive for a while for these Protestants but still nothing happened. Then 9/11 and al-Qaeda and they were back in business and then President Obama’s gets Bin Laden. That also did not fit into a scenario they had.
Then another tenet of Protestant-Republican faith got challenged, the collapse of the deregulated and low taxed economy under Bush. The Protestant movement had adopted to the GOP so well that their faith resembled the prosperity bible, where if you have faith, God rewards you with earthly riches. Yet here we have the economy robbing the American people of their jobs and savings no matter how faithful and prayerful they were. That took a toll on faith.
Last but not least, rejection of evolutionary science and other science rejection rooted in religion also took its toll.
I am not saying people who were Protestants will become atheists in the near future but I think maybe we are seeing the end of the white GOP/Protestant religious fundamentalist base. A lot has been written about the cognitive dissonance of Republicans when their theories prove unworkable or fail so maybe this is not so. That the failure of the GOP ideology is having results out there and maybe the linking of religion to the fortunes of a political party’s failing and outdated ideology is taking a toll on those faithful?
Also, I would love to see if I could chart the decline of these Protestants with the decline in GOP party membership and see if they line up.