Religion is now the primary American divide, but scripture can bring us together
By Bill Connor
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the already widening chasm between the political left and right in America has grown to historic proportions. As I have noted previously, during the pandemic progressives began recommending that fellow liberals socially ostracize conservative friends or family. That has only increased. After Joe Biden was announced the Electoral College winner, progressive celebrities immediately threatened “accountability” projects against conservatives.
Polling since January shows that liberal Americans believe the greatest threat to America is from the “extreme” political right; on the other hand, conservatives view China, immigration and COVID-19 as the top concerns. Though the divisions appear to be over political and economic differences, the primary divide in America is actually due to religion. This division shows no signs of slowing down, and it threatens the unity of the nation if not reversed through scripture. Let me explain.
Political liberals are leaving religious affiliation and cutting ties with religious institutions, particularly during the past 30 years, and this explains the divide. It is not due to a change in the number of religious conservatives, which has remained basically static. From 1990 to today, the number of liberals who never attend church has more than tripled. Astoundingly, from 1991 to 2018, liberals who claim to believe in the existence of God has dropped from 53 percent to only 36 percent and continues to plummet each year. This trend is much worse among the younger cohorts of liberals.
The nonreligious nature of the new left goes beyond the sheer numbers of liberals leaving religious institutions. Liberals show an increasingly negative view of religion as it relates to the welfare of society. According to 2018 Pew Research Polls, the percentage of liberals who believe churches and religious organizations contribute to society in a positive manner dropped from 49 in 2010 to only 33 in 2018. According to a Voter Study Group poll in 2016, only 11 percent of people who are very liberal say that being Christian is at least fairly important to what it means to be American (this compares with 69 percent identifying as very conservative). The prevailing view now among liberals is that religion is more of a danger to what they value in society and that religion is likely to hinder positive advancement of society.
These alarming trends are expected to grow. The prevailing nonreligious ethos among liberals perpetuates further secularization and the demonization of the religious through group pressure. As far back as 2012, the Democratic Party removed any mention of “God” in national convention platform documents. In 2020, Democratic leaders omitted “under God” in the pledge at the convention. Democrats in Congress recently lambasted a Republican congressman for quoting scripture in his arguments against the “equality” bill forcing biological men into women’s sports and forcing doctors to perform abortions. Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler condemned any scriptural argument and said, “God’s will is no concern of this Congress.”
Nonreligious liberals are also statistically more likely than moderates or conservatives to marry the nonreligious and therefore nurture liberal families that are less likely to pray or send their children to Sunday school. From MSN.com: “Research shows that formative religious experience as a child plays a crucial role in structuring an adult’s religious beliefs and identity. It’s no coincidence then that the youngest liberals — who never lived in a political world before the Christian right — are also the most secular … As more liberals become nonreligious, the Democratic Party’s base is growing more secular, complicating the party’s efforts at reaching more religious voters.”
Previously, religious political liberals could help others on the political left understand how extreme progressive ideology conflicts with religious values. For example, scripture like Psalm 139:13 states God “knitted me together in my mother’s womb,” giving scriptural authority against abortion. This goes against the progressive value of the right to abortion. The religious are not motivated by “hate” or “extremism” in opposing extremes of the progressive agenda but by sincere fidelity to God. Religious liberals could help with bridging the conflicts, but they are becoming increasingly scarce. Today’s liberals generally don’t know scripture or only know other liberals’ claim about scripture. This results in sincere progressive assertions of “hate” and “extremism” against those who held biblical views of gender roles, sexual relations and life. It also allows for demands that the “hateful” religious be kept from public life.
It’s important for conservative believers to understand this dynamic and go on the offensive to reverse it. The left demands that scripture be kept from public life to solidify their numbers and control — as evidence by liberal Democrat Nadler’s comment of God’s will having “no place” in Congress. From the beginning of the United States and through all the tough periods of the nation, scripture has held a primary place to most Americans. Even liberal icon Martin Luther King, Jr. constantly quoted scripture as his authority for nonviolent civil disobedience that integrated American life. Americans on the left need to hear and see scripture whether or not they object. Let scripture bring us back together as one nation under God.
Bill Connor is a 1990 Citadel graduate, 30-year Army infantry colonel and combat veteran. He is a writer and attorney and lives in the Charleston area.