AMERICANS LEAVING CHURCHES AMID PANDEMIC, SCANDALS AND ANTI-GAY RHETORIC
So I went to church a fair amount when I was a kid. To be honest, it always felt like a chore. Mostly because I had to go, pretty much every Sunday. But I don’t really go anymore. Mostly because it seemed like a lot of work to find one with a community and culture that I’d like to be a part of. But people leaving churches has been a thing for a number of years now. Like, the last 2 decades. But things change, you know? Like, gays increasingly being an inclusive part of society? What’s with all that anti’gay rhetoric? And, well, there have been scandals. Just think: Catholic Church, little boys and priests.
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FOR 60 YEARS, AMERICAN CHURCHES ENJOYED 70% MEMBERSHIP RATE, NOW PLUMMETING
So scandals don’t help. And a lot of Christian groups seem to be waaaaay slow on including the LGTBQ folks in their ranks. Actually, they’ve been espousing a lot of anti-gay rhetoric, for a long time. And most younger people don’t really like that too much. Go figure. And since the year 2000, that has had quite an impact. For 60 years before the year 2000, US churches enjoyed about a 70% membership rate. But before the year 2010 rolled around, that number had dropped to the upper 50 percentiles. And it hasn’t gotten better, as you might assume.
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YOUNG PEOPLE DON’T LIKE ANTI-GAY RHETORIC, SOCIAL CONSERVATIVE TALK, SKIP CHURCHES
The most recent number is 47%, which represents a LOT of people who don’t go to church anymore, or especially are members. And no, the pandemic isn’t helping things for churches at all. In fact, a lot of churches that defied any social distancing rules or mask wearing turned into super-spreader sites of Covid in their local communities. And yes, a lot of older people tend to go to church, and they got hit hard. But scandals, anti-gay rhetoric and the pandemic together have really killed attendance at churches.
Maybe we just need new, inclusive places of worship that don’t say gays are going to hell and maybe stop having sex with the kids? Hey, it’s an idea.