“My country ‘tis of Thee, sweet land of Secularity” will be our new national hymn as America enters the uncharted territory of a post-Christian era. Long known as “a Christian nation,” the U.S. has turned sharply in a secular direction, thanks to the trickle-down influence of elites and handed-down dictates from courts. This historic shift will affect everything from elections to education to ethics and beyond.
How can a nation be Christian (or post-Christian) in the first place? America has never been a theocracy, following the direct rule of God in the manner of the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Vatican (or Israel in Old Testament times). Rather America has been referred to as a Christian nation because of the core beliefs and world view of a majority of its people and an acknowledgement of God by its public leaders and symbols. But as Americans, especially the young, move away from faith in large numbers, and courts systematically dismantle religious symbols and influences, the post-Christian era has arrived.
Recent polls confirm the increasing secularization of our people, especially the young. A poll by the Pew Foundation shows that the number of Americans describing themselves as Christian has declined by about 10% between 2007-2014. Meanwhile, those professing no religion grew by 50% in that same time frame. Fewer than 6 in 10 millennials (ages 18-33) affiliate with any branch of Christianity. A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that 66% of those age 65 and over believe being Christian is an important part of being American, while only 35% of those ages18-29 agree. These numbers are changing remarkably quickly as Americans are seemingly losing their faith and becoming more like secular Europeans.
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