For many, the post title should probably be reversed. However, I recently came across an article that explains how politics have actually influenced religion.
Three Decades Ago, America Lost Its Religion. Why?
A line from the article:
Religion has lost its halo effect in the past three decades, not because science drove God from the public square, but rather because politics did.
I think you may also want to read the article linked in the above quote. It goes into more detail on why people’s political ideology is affecting their religious identity.
What do you think? Are politics and religion having a parting of the ways?
For those who can’t access The Atlantic article, here are some snippets:
Deep into the 20th century, more than nine in 10 Americans said they believed in God and belonged to an organized religion, with the great majority of them calling themselves Christian. That number held steady—through the sexual-revolution ’60s, through the rootless and anxious ’70s, and through the “greed is good” ’80s.
But in the early 1990s, the historical tether between American identity and faith snapped. Religious non-affiliation in the U.S. started to rise—and rise, and rise. By the early 2000s, the share of Americans who said they didn’t associate with any established religion (also known as “nones”) had doubled. By the 2010s, this grab bag of atheists, agnostics, and spiritual dabblers had tripled in size.
The obvious question … what the hell happened around 1990?
America’s nonreligious lurch has mostly been the result of three historical events: the association of the Republican Party with the Christian right, the end of the Cold War, and 9/11.
Meanwhile, during George W. Bush’s presidency, Christianity’s association with unpopular Republican policies drove more young liberals and moderates away from both the party and the Church. New Atheists, such as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, became intellectual celebrities …
A gap has opened up between America’s two political parties. In a twist of fate, the Christian right entered politics to save religion, only to make the Christian-Republican nexus unacceptable to millions of young people—thus accelerating the country’s turn against religion.
Although it would be wrong to call Democrats a secular party (older black voters are highly religious and dependably vote Democratic), the left today has a higher share of religiously unaffiliated voters than anytime in modern history. At the same time, the average religiosity of white Christian Republicans has gone up.
American politics is at risk of becoming a war of religiosity versus secularism by proxy, where both sides see the other as a catastrophic political force that must be destroyed at all costs.