Monday, June 8, 2015

Time for Christians to stand up for religion

A recent Pew Research survey showing that Americans identifying as Christians has dropped significantly since 2007 says the decline is deepest among mainline Protestants and Catholics, and other studies say church attendance in general is dropping. If true, what might be causing the decline?

For one, it’s no surprise, but progressives have been on a warpath against religion for decades, and where they’ve succeeded in removing God from the public square, political correctness and moral relativism have swooped in.

The problem with this is that Americans are being trained to be meek – and not in the Christian sense. Rather, we’re being taught that the worst thing one can do is offend a person or a particular group by expressing ideas that may be contrary to everyone else’s.

Because such contrarian thoughts are considered judgmental, bigoted and hateful, some good-hearted people who don’t want to be seen as any of these things might likely remain quiet – or worse, believe the rhetoric and eventually renounce their own beliefs.

At the same time, while Christians are repeatedly mocked in areas like television and are getting slaughtered around the world, we increasingly hear that they are somehow the offenders because they live by the moral guidelines set forth by God.

In other words, Christians are “imposing” their beliefs on non-believers simply by believing, so the accusation goes. And as more citizens are indoctrinated into thinking that God has no place in America and that morality should be defined by little more than how something makes us feel, Christians who believe otherwise are progressively perceived as hateful. No doubt, standing strong against such perceptions is not for the faint of heart and who knows how many fall by the wayside as a result.

But where are Christians getting reinforcement to stand their ground? Certainly not from our current government, which has begun to punish those who try to publicly live their beliefs. And even more disturbing, in today’s houses of worship – Catholic and Protestant -- many religious leaders have bought into the politically correct notion that distinguishing between right and wrong is somehow offensive or exclusionary. Many think religious services should be fun or at least safely bland so as not to offend and keep the crowds coming. We’re often taught how to be “nice”, but not about the importance of avoiding evil. We’re taught that, yes, God’s love is unconditional, but we rarely hear about the fact that salvation is not.

Despite the laxity in proper instruction, some still claim the “exclusionary” tone of church is a key reason for religious decline. I wonder though which churches, if any, these accusers are attending. I have visited many, many Catholic churches around America, for instance, and whether they leaned conservative or liberal, I have never once seen a sinner excluded. If sinners weren’t welcome, in fact, every church would be empty. The truth is, though, there are few places where I hear about sin and its peril to the soul at all.

That could partially explain the decline in Christian identification and church attendance. It’s not because churches are exclusionary, but because many are indiscernible from any other part of today’s society. Why should anyone, especially if not strong in his faith to begin with, sit through a religious service when, in his mind, he can get the same thing at the local bar or neighborhood barbecue?

Regrettably, many religious leaders today are so concerned about offending sinners that they turn a blind eye to the sin itself. Rarely do we hear about the sins of abortion, sodomy, contraception or other practices that have been packaged as "choice" by a society eager to sanitize evil. But it’s the sin, not the sinner, that’s hated, and despite the narrative that’s been set, it’s not hateful to encourage people to turn from their sin. It’s actually the loving thing to do, and fundamental to the clergyman’s duty. But as long as people aren’t being taught about sin and how it endangers salvation, what use is church in their view other than it being just another innocuous community event?

Perhaps if more churches did offer something clearly different from what the world offers, they’d see a rise in attendance. As the Pew study notes, the greatest decline is among mainline denominations which are often politically liberal – e.g., similar to the secular world. But interestingly, Pew found one area not experiencing a decline is the conservative evangelical church.

While not itself an evangelical church, the Catholic parish I belong to could be considered “conservative”. It not only acknowledges the blessings God has showered on our country, but it clearly differentiates between worldly emptiness and the fulfillment, freedom and salvation that can only come through obeying God. It does this without judgment or fire-and-brimstone fear tactics, but rather through an uncompromising and reverent presentation of God’s truth – and people flock to this parish and others like it in droves. Maybe that’s what people are hungering for: Enlightenment over entertainment; absolutes over anything goes.

Concerned Christians wishing to stem the exodus should encourage their religious leaders to shun political correctness in favor of objective moral truths. It’s the PC, morally relativistic churches that fail to offer anything meaningful, while they see their poorly instructed people lured away by a non-religious world. In contrast, the more steadily attended “conservative” churches seem to be offering the concrete answers rooted in God that people truly need.

Ultimately, every Christian should boldly stand for the faith in the public square and fight the cultural drive to silence moral teachings lest our country be stripped of such teachings altogether. As Christians, there is a time to be meek, and now is not that time.


  1. So true. People who dont go to church are offended by the fact that churches would dare to say their behaviour is wrong, but when you go to church you never hear that anything is wrong so it tells me i don't really need to go (but I know i need to go am just saying that in general it is the message given). Ministers have become wussified by the hard core left. they need to get courage. Christ is on their side - what is there to fear.

  2. you are correct, Julie. the more we are politically correct, the more our supposed religious leaders are pc, the more silent we remain, the bullies will take over like they are taking over now. it's because we have been too silent and afraid to offend anyone that this is happening and if we dont stand up for religion and fight pc bullies it won't be pretty to see how bad it gets. thanks for posting.