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Millennials in US turning away from religion due to rightwing politics

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo New York. (Photo by AP)

Less than half of the population in the US are members of an organized religious group, reveals a new study, even as Christianity continues to have far-reaching influence in US politics.

According to a new survey by Gallup, just 47 percent Americans are affiliated with church, mosque or synagogue, down from 70 percent two decades ago, and 50 percent two years ago.

Gallup, a Washington-based research and polling organization, asks Americans a volley of questions on their religious attitudes and practices twice a year.  

Documenting religious membership in the US since 1937, it has noted gradual decline in religiousness since 2000, sliding below the 50 percent mark first time this year.

Over the past two decades, the percentage of Americans who do not identify with any religion has grown from 8 percent in 1998-2000 to 13 percent in 2008-2010 and 21 percent over the past three years, reveals the study.

The drop in religious affiliation of people, experts say, is the result of millennials in the US gradually turning away from religion as well as the growth of hate-driven, rightwing politics in the country.

According to the study, 66 percent of those born before 1946 continue to be members of a religious school compared to 36 percent millennials.

The decline in church membership, the survey notes, is primarily due to increasing number of Americans expressing no religious preference, a surprise development.

The championing of Christianity by the Republican Party, which has been at the forefront of hate crimes in the US and has attempted to impose its version of Christianity on public, appears to have backfired.

The contrast between Church-going Republicans and Democrats is also remarkable, with latter marking 25 percent drop over the 20 year period and former only by 12 percent.

A report in Guardian quotes David Campbell, professor and author of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, saying that a reason for the decline among these groups is political – an “allergic reaction to the religious right”.

“Many Americans – especially young people – see religion as bound up with political conservatism, and the Republican party specifically,” he asserted.

An independent research conducted by Campbell reveals that Americans are turning away from religion because politicians – particularly Republicans – have mixed religion with their hate-driven politics.

“I see no sign that the religious right, and Christian nationalism, is fading. Which in turn suggests that the allergic reaction will continue to be seen – and thus more and more Americans will turn away from religion,” he remarks.

Pertinently, hate crimes and white supremacist violence has alarmingly spiked in the US in recent years, particularly targeted at Muslims and Blacks.

During the tenure of former US President Donald Trump, religious intolerance and racist violence was not only not condemned but cheered on by the ruling elites.

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