Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wisconsin: Losing Its Religion

WSAW-TV had a report last week that highlighted the fact that more people in Wisconsin are reporting that they claim no religion and are becoming more secular. Tied to that is that the number of self-proclaimed Christians have dropped considerably:
It says 76 percent of Wisconsinites identify as Christian, down from 91 percent in 1990. Fifteen percent claim no religion, up from 6 percent in 1990.
The report also states that the number of Catholics has dropped some 10% in the same time frame.

This, I'm afraid, does not surprise me.

There will be some that will try to blame this on the Clinton years, and his unfortunate and stupid choice to be unfaithful to his wife. There is some credence to that, but not enough to count for such a large drop.

I personally believe that the last decade had more to do with it than Clinton's infidelity. There has been example after example of a supposed religious person, either a politician or even a religious leader that have proven themselves to be mere charlatans and hypocrites.

From Jim Bakker to Ted Haggard to the Catholic priest sex abuse scandals, people have seen religious leaders that disregard what they preach. This is not a way to draw and keep members to a congregation.

There are so many politicians that claim to be religious, but they also betray their statements by either getting caught up in their own scandals, or by setting policies that do not reflect their stated beliefs.

George Bush alone probably caused a lot of people to lose faith when he claimed that God told him to invade Iraq. You have other people like New Gingrich, who has been less than the perfect family man, telling us that greed is good, and then claiming to be a good Christian. Ann Coulter even wrote a book calling liberals Godless. With the hate and lies she spews, I can't imagine many people being more godless than her.

There are others that use their religion to promote their own agendas of hate and fear. This can include anything from the various anti-gay rights movements to the KKK who bastardize the Bible to try to defend their racism. And I won't even get into the whole Phelps clan in Kansas.

Now, I can hear my friend Bill screaming that all of these people aren't "real" Christians. To a point, he is correct. They are not following the Bible as it is written, per se. They are only cherry picking the parts that will suit whatever their agenda might be, just like bin Laden cherry picked and misinterpreted the Koran to justify his hatred.

Unfortunately, as the saying goes, perception is reality. These haters, con artists and hypocrites do claim that they are Christians, and so the general public will see them as such. This would tend to turn a lot of people away from religion, if this is what they see it to mean.

There are many truly religious people out there, but the vast majority of Americans are more of the kind that just go through the motions. They might attend church or temple or mass every week, but then they go out and do whatever they feel like doing. Well, going to church makes one a Christian no more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

I know many people who are avowed atheists that show more Christian values than some of the hardest Bible-thumpers around. As long as people who are claiming to be Christians continue with their hedonistic, greedy, hateful and hypocritical ways, but tell you that your not supposed to, they will only serve to act as a wedge between the general population and the church.

1 comment:

  1. I'd argue that we atheists display humanistic values, not Christian values. :)