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The decline in Christianity among Democrats is bringing steep polarization

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(Photo: Unsplash/Andy Feliciotti)

A telephonic poll by The Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports has given a shock to many Republicans about the views of average Democrats regarding basic rights.

Around half of Democratic voters (48 percent) believe government should be able to imprison and/or fine those who question the efficacy of vaccines, while only 27 percent of all Americans would support such infringement of free speech.

Though 58 percent of American voters would oppose government fines on the unvaccinated, 55 percent of Democrats support such measures. Disturbingly, 59 percent of Democratic voters support confining the unvaccinated to their homes at all times, while the vast majority of American voters oppose such a draconian infringement of rights.

Almost a third of Democrats (29 percent) even support removing custody of the children of the unvaccinated, and 47 percent support forced tracking devices on the unvaccinated.

Republicans, vaccinated or not, have been shocked, while Democrats generally don’t see the problem. Most Americans are starting to wonder about the source of such divergent values and worldviews and the lack of understanding. This dangerous polarization has followed an increasingly steep trend with the Democratic Party becoming secularized in recent years.

First, the secularization of America is picking up steam and bringing profound change in values. A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that between 2007 and 2021, the number of Americans identifying as Christian plummeted from 78 percent to only 63 percent. During that same period, the percentage of religiously unaffiliated almost doubled from 16 percent to 29 percent.

In 2007, 58 percent of Americans prayed daily, and yet that number is now 45 percent, while those who hold religion as “very important” in their lives sank from 56 percent to 41 percent. The percent of Protestant Americans fell 10 percent in the past ten years to only 40 percent today.

These numbers seem to be increasing, as the numbers of Americans who attend religious services at least monthly fell 2 percent (33 percent to 31 percent) last year. By some estimates, around a third of Churches will be shutting down from the start of the pandemic to today.

Though alarming, this decline in Christianity is primarily a dynamic of the Democratic Party. Pew Research finds that the number of Republicans who believe in God has remained relatively consistent at 73 percent, while Democrat believers dropped to 55 percent. Republicans are double (58 percent to 28 percent) the number of Democrats who identify as Evangelical. The number of Republicans who attend church weekly is substantially higher than that of Democrats (44 percent to 29 percent).

For those who hold religion as “very important” in their lives, Republicans outnumber Democrats 61 percent to 47 percent. Most important when it comes to the connection of religiosity to worldview about rights and values, Republicans are significantly above Democrats in two key areas.

According to the Pew polls, Republicans look to religion for moral guidance over Democrats by a whopping 44 percent to 29 percent. Further, Republicans believe in absolute standards of right and wrong at over double the numbers of Democrats (47 percent to 23 percent).

Going back several decades, both parties showed comparative numbers of those who looked to religion as a source of moral guidance and believed in absolute standards of right and wrong. In the American experience, both parties generally agreed with the importance of individual rights as being from God or “endowed by our Creator” as we told King George III.

Religion provided firm moral guidance on the respect for each individual and individual rights that political majorities should not infringe. The Christian belief in original sin, and therefore the danger of corruption of power, has driven the value of limiting the power of government.

The more secularized the Democratic Party has become, the more Democrats appear willing to infringe on previously held sacred rights in deference to government power. The more faith they have placed in government (over God), the more willing Democrats have been to wield power against individual rights. Republicans generally put faith in God over government and therefore put primary value in the rights of individuals.

The way out of the polarization appears to be with the Democratic Party moving back from secularization and to the unity of values. Alternatively, the Republican Party can begin repudiating God as a source of moral guidance, but most Americans would agree that’s the way to ruin.

Americans have a choice to make with our values. Is it government control over individual liberty? Does the value of the “collective” outweigh the value of individuals? Religion is at the root of the answers. For me, I stand with Joshua when he reasoned with his people about these issues and concluded: “as for me and my house, we choose the Lord.”

Bill Connor, a retired Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has been deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book Articles from War.

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Christians urge PM to take radical action on climate change after IPCC report

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(Photo: Unsplash/Markus Spiske)

Christian groups are urging the Prime Minister to use the UK’s Presidency of COP26 this year to do more to address climate change and support communities already being impacted.

The call follows the release of the latest research from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which warned of “a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity” to avert disaster.

The grim report says that the world is already living with the consequences of climate change, with heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires intensifying across the globe.

The panel says that over 40 per cent of the world’s population are now “highly vulnerable” to climate change and that many consequences cannot be reversed.

Responding to the report, Catholic aid agency CAFOD said it was imperative to keep “1.5 alive” as it called on governments to increase their commitments to net zero.

It is calling on rich countries to make good on their promises at COP26 and double the amount of funding for climate adaptation.

Neil Thorns, Director of Advocacy at CAFOD, said that for some communities, it was too late to adapt.

“How many crystal-clear red alerts on the climate crisis do we need before we take the urgent and meaningful action?” he said.

“Keeping warming below 1.5 degrees is the only way to avoid the huge destruction that failing those entails, especially for those living on the breadline across the world.

“We are also sadly seeing communities in East Africa and small island states where that destruction has gone beyond the ability to adapt, and they now urgently need funds to compensate for the destruction caused by a climate crisis they did not create.”

He added that while some success was being seen in initiatives to restore mangroves, tropical forests and other coastal and land ecosystems, support for these projects needs to be “massively scaled up”.

“Money to fight the climate crisis cannot be a bargaining chip to be played fast and loose with, this is about the survival
of all of us and the planet we love,” he said.

“In the lead up to COP27, it is vital that Loss and Damage and Adaptation are top of the agenda – it’s now or never for planet Earth.”

Peter Kihara Kariuki, Bishop of Marsabit in Kenya, said the region was facing “severe” drought, forcing people to trek up to 17km for water and leaving many dependent on aid from the church, government or NGOs for basic necessities.

“We must raise our voices and call for ambitious action from world leaders to bring about climate justice by enacting the strongest measures to keep the global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees or below, commit to binding agreements to cut global carbon emissions, and increase support to communities like mine in Marsabit to adapt to the effects of the climate crisis,” he said.

“Climate change is real for us in Marsabit. As churches, as communities, we must make sure that our voices are heard. We have a saying in Swahili: ‘Kuja pamoja ni mwanzo, kukuwa pamoja ni maendeleo; kufanya kazi pamoja ni mafanikio,’ which translates as ‘coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success’.”

Nushrat Chowdhury, Climate Justice Advisor at Christian Aid, is based in Bangladesh. She said the country was already on “the frontline of climate change” and that those in poverty, women and children were being impacted the most.

“This report is a wake-up call to the world that those on the front lines of this crisis need much greater support if they are going to cope with climate impacts they have not caused,” she said.

She said that more funding was needed to help the vulnerable adapt and to support communities living with permanent damage.

“As COP president throughout 2022 the UK government has a vital role in leading global efforts to tackle climate change,” she said.

“The main thing lacking from the outcome at COP26 was robust financial help for the world’s most vulnerable, despite repeated promises from rich nations that it would be provided.

“It is now vital that the UK Government spearhead efforts to mobilise much greater funding to help the climate vulnerable adapt and to set up a fund to deal with the permanent loss and damage which cannot be adapted to.

“Only then will they have a legacy as COP26 president to be proud of.”

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Several Coptic Monasteries Left to Crumble in Egypt

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03/01/2022 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – Several Coptic monasteries in Egypt are facing renovation and reopening issues, including Saint Paul’s monastery near Egypt’s Red Sea. The 4th-century monastery suffered serious flood damage earlier this month, resulting in collapsed walls and access roads flooded and closed off. In January another Coptic Orthodox 5th-century monastery also experienced crumbling walls. The monastery of Anba Samuel has been closed since a terrorist attack in May 2017 for security and renovation, but now monks are struggling to find a concession with authorities to open the building again.

Saint Paul’s monastery was closed off from access roads for some time as a result of the flooding and is built around the cave that its namesake lived in. Both Saint Paul’s and the 5th-century monastery reportedly were left crumbling by the Egyptian authorities. Under Egypt’s non-Muslim worship laws, pre-existing churches and monasteries are allowed but require special permission for rebuilding, repairing, or refurbishment.

In the past several years, security and renovation have been the primary focus at Abna Samuel Monastery, where authorities allowed the renovations after terrorist incidents that resulted in the martyrdom of 35 Copts. However, monastery and local officials struggle now to agree on the reopening of the monastery to the public.

For interviews, please contact [email protected].

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