Americans are losing confidence in several different areas of community life and media, including religious institutions, banks, television news, public schools, and Congress, according to Gallup’s most recent confidence survey.
This lack of confidence, the lowest since the Gallup poll began in 1973, is hardly surprising, with several of these institutions drawing unwanted attention through corruption, sex scandals, and a strengthening alliance with partisan politics. Religious institutions inspired the least confidence in Americans, mostly due to the perception that Christian churches are often allied with the Republican party.
Author Jonathan Merritt says, “I have concluded that religious leaders need to understand the importance of avoiding partisan politics or they will literally end up preaching to the choir” (Deseret News).
Americans leaving churches that are too political
Other research supports the idea that church-goers will turn their backs on a religion that they believe is too politically involved. While it is common for adults to change religious affiliation at least once in their lives, the largest percentage of adults who change religion are now becoming unaffiliated, rather than joining a new religious group.
The Deseret News illustrates this claim:
“For example, 56 percent of Catholics who are now unaffiliated say they left the faith because of its teachings on abortion and homosexuality. Another 48 percent drifted away because of the church’s position on birth control.”
While the idea of the separation of church and state may make Rick Santorum want to vomit, many Americans resent the invasion of political agendas into their religious lives, and they are not afraid to take action to prove it.
Share your thoughts
Do you have confidence in the integrity of organized religion? How can we work to make politics and religion coincide peacefully? Is a complete separation of church and state the answer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.