I watched a reporter on a big city street in America stop folks and ask a few fundamental questions about Christmas and the Lord. It was sobering to say the least with a good number of folks not having a bit of knowledge about the origins of Christmas and Christianity. As a career police officer and combat veteran, I have seen folks embrace the Lord virtually every time a death has or is occurring. Unfortunately, for many, it is their only association with Christianity. It is Christmas Eve and I think it is fitting to comment on the state of Christianity as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ…….in an age where the significance of our faith is being relegated to second or even third class status. Why, you ask, is this happening?
Trumps victory was driven in large part by white Christian men who overwhelmingly supported his candidacy. Some 85% of white Evangelicals voted for Trump, who championed “Religous freedom” in his platform, really a cover for a large segment of the electorate. He and his followers have been under perpetual attack from day one of his Presidency, bruising both entities significantly. A recent poll of pastors across America showed that churches are riven by political conflict within the congregations, resulting in shrinking memberships. Crime across America is a Christian concern as is abortion. The latest push is to change the wording in old Christmas hymns to reflect a woke perspective, which is not playing well with Christian Conservatives. Politics, in general, do not lend themselves to Christian principles and we, as a people, exist in a very political atmosphere. Churches across America are splitting as a result of disturbing trends related to homosexuality, same sex marriage and abortion up to the moment of birth. Each of these issues has figured prominently in recent elections. The indoctrination of very young children into the world of gender change politics is a decidedly anti-Christian concept.
In 1980, nearly 90% of Americans claimed to be Christians. Today, 43% of Americans claim to be Protestants, and some 20% adhere to Catholicism. To illustrate the trend, in 2009, the numbers were 51% and 23% respectively. The big drop, according to Pew Research has occurred since 2012 as professed Christians have declined by some 12%. It should be noted that over this same period, the number of “nones”, folks who have no faith, has increased by some 12%. In the world as a whole, Christianity trumps all other religions, claiming some 31% of the earths 7.3 billion people. Christians still have the numbers but their influence is shrinking. There are many factors with politics being only one of them.
Another influence in the decline of Christianity is our media, which openly disdains organized religion, often explicitly ridiculing the concept. The influence of today’s media and social discourse is incredible. This power is particularly destructive in the younger generations. Our so called silent generation, those born before 1945, is comprised of 84% Christians. Next up, the baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, are comprised of 76% Christians. Generation X, from 1965 to 1980 see a 67% Christian population with Millennials, 1981 to 1996 enjoying a 49% grouping of Christians. The older populations saw a favorable view of Christianity fronted by the media with the youngest group seeing a generally unfavorable image of Christianity portrayed by the media. The youngest generations are being immersed in the political world as well.
It is Christmas Eve, a joyous time in America with family and generosity taking center stage. As we approach the big day, ask yourself what it all really means. It matters not if you are a saint or a sinner, we mustn’t lose sight of what this Holiday really represents. It is not just another day off with food and revelry taking center stage. It represents a celebration of a way of life that is falling out of favor. We can’t keep sliding away from the Christian tenets of honesty, caring and commitment that has shaped this country from the beginning. This piece is a thumbnail sketch of where God lies, generally speaking, in the business of living in America. Don’t be a household that fails to even mention the Lord on this most Christian of holidays. Most importantly, do not be one that ridicules those of us who are, indeed, Christians. History has shown that we should not be trifled with…….