Church No Longer Cool? Blame the Republican Brand, Say 'Experts'
A piece this week from ChristianPost, reveals that young people are running away from the church for a very clear reason...uncool Republicans (Rick Santorum as their accompanying photo, of course) and their totally judgmental conservatism. According to a study by "experts" Professors David Campbell (University of Notre Dame) and Robert Putnam (Harvard University), this "intolerant" and "homophobic" Republican brand is chasing our youth away. Their suggestions?
"The reason this is important for clergy is these are not people who are lost completely to religion. It's almost like they're an untapped constituency, or untapped market, that could be brought back to a different kind of religion, or a religion that they thought was stripped of politics," Campbell argued.
There is a trend among nondenominational evangelical congregations that attract younger Christians to avoid involvement in politics. Campbell believes that the pastors of these congregations understand more intuitively what his data is showing more crudely – that young people dislike their religion mixed with politics.
Oh, so there is a way to save our youth? As a conservative, all you have to do is shut up about politics and any values that the Left may deem offensive in any way. If you don't, you can consider yourself responsible for losing the next generation for Christianity. Apparently, the culture, media and school indoctrination has absolutely nothing to do with it; it is clearly the intolerant Republican who has caused this problem.
Looking further into the work done by these two experts, you may not be surprised to know they were the same duo that put together a "study" on the Tea Party last summer, finding that the Tea Party is even less popular than atheists and Muslims, defined by "low regard for immigrants and blacks." According to Newsbusters:
Putnam and Campbell couldn't more perfectly align themselves with the secular leftists at the Times. We'll try not to question why a professor from Notre Dame would be championing the get-God-out-of-our-politics Left.
Their original piece entitled "Crashing the Tea Party" stated:
So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.
Once again, these two seem to have a major issue with conservative thought and will come up with the data they need to justify it. What we need to know is whether or not the professors have any reason to approach these studies with an ideology of their own.
Taking a look at some of their other work, it is interesting to note a few of the recommendations for a book they penned together, "American Grace." Here are a few:
"American Grace is an instant canonical text. It is indispensable for any grasp of our pluralistic religious culture. And it inspires us to deepen our ecumenical democracy!"
-- Cornel West, Center for African American Studies, Princeton University
"In American Grace, Robert Putnam and David Campbell analyze survey data and congregational profiles to give us a comprehensive look at religion in our country, and reach conclusions that will provide much thought for reflection. For those interested in the role of religion in society, this is an important book to read. It will be the topic of much discussion."
-- Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners and author of God's Politics and Rediscovering Values
A book recommendation does not necessarily mean much in itself, but close ties do. Putnam has apparently known Barack Obama and Jim Wallis for some time and quite well. Obama, while an Illinois senator, was part of Putnams' Harvard based "Saguaro Seminar", meeting over a period of several years to discuss his "building social capital" theories. Among the other participants, we found Jim Wallis, George Stephanopolous, Vanessa Kirsch and many others with ongoing connections to the current administration.
Touchstone Magazine had this to say about the Saguaro group:
Participants have enjoyed influence. Both Stephen Goldsmith and John DiIulio, intimately involved with the White House faith-based office under George W. Bush, attended the seminar. And now Obama has filled top White House posts with Saguaro alumni. Wallis and Caldwell are now close spiritual advisers.
Christianity Today had more to add:
It was a Harvard seminar in 1997 on social capital—the human equivalent of greenbacks. Compared to the 32 others in the room, Obama was pretty broke in that regard; the seminar helped turn his little pile into a fortune.
Though the Saguaro Seminar, which met every few months from 1997 to 2000, remains an unfamiliar chapter in Obama's well-thumbed biography, over the last decade, he has continually built on relationships, ideas and political skills gleaned from or reinforced by those meetings.
Obama has hired fellow Saguaro alumni for top White House posts; solicited two more, including Wallis, to be close spiritual advisers; and implemented a host of ideas kicked around those tables 10 years ago. In ways large and small—from extending an olive branch to Muslims overseas to revamping the White House faith-based office to seeking common ground on abortion, Obama has echoed themes straight from the Saguaro playbook.
In later years, Putnam (along with other contributors) actually put a book out for a UK audience called "The Age of Obama", discussing how the likelihood of a "British" Obama was greater now due to social changes and diversity.
Finally, we find the inevitable connection to George Soros. In 2006, Putnam was the keynote speaker for the 11th Open Society Forum hosted by the Open Estonia Foundation, which is, of course, supported by "Hungarian-born American philanthropist George Soros." and is a member of the Open Society Institute.
Considering the source, it would be advisable that pastors don't make a quick move to wipe out "offensive" doctrine and remove any traces of conservative opinion in a frantic attempt to save their youth. In fact, they may want to begin some serious studies of their own, taking a look at just what direction today's "experts" are pointing them in.