Young Nones: The religiously unaffiliated will reshape our politics

By

Opinion

April 22, 2019 - 10:07 AM

The connection between faith and politics is unavoidable. From the freethinking deists that made up a good portion of our nation’s Constitutional Founders, to America’s periodic evangelical revivals, to the roles of Judaism, Catholicism, and other faiths among the waves of immigrants that have transformed America, our history, politics, and faith cannot be easily separated.

Kansas has often been right at the center, from the abolitionist movement and Bleeding Kansas, to the 1991 anti-abortion Summer of Mercy, through the Brownback governorship to the present.

In recent times, the connection between religion and politics shows up in election returns. White, evangelical Christian voters backed President Trump by over 80%, while the religiously unaffiliated went overwhelmingly for Hillary. Recent Republican missives to Jewish voters regarding Israel do not appear to be working — Jewish Americans still go strongly for Democrats. Catholics are split, in large part by ethnicity, with those of European heritage going Republican, while Latin Americans favor Democrats. American Muslims — many of whom might seem predisposed to support Republicans due to shared, conservative cultural values — now see the Republican Party as unwelcoming and trend heavily Democratic, as do other small-but-significant groups like Buddhists and Unitarian Universalists. Mainline Protestants are declining dramatically, but some churches have found new life by embracing social justice and diversity. However, there is only one large group showing major growth: the “nones.”

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