Amanda Marcotte thinks that the “Christian Right” have correctly identified their adversaries, and that the religious reaction—increasingly, she thinks, played out in the public square–amounts to the death throes of an old order. Some of her arguments are historically ill-informed and others just plain risible.
An example of the former:
The research also found that more than one in four Millennials have no religious affiliation at all, the largest of any generation, though only by a small margin, as one in five Gen Xers is also irreligious. The percentage of unaffiliated Americans has grown gradually over the generations, but with the Millennials, we’re seeing a new trend emerge. There is now a large group of Americans who have a faith, but separate it from public life, keeping it in the private sphere.
For most of the 20th century, “fundamentalists” withdrew from public life. Privatized religion is hardly a “new trend.”
An example of the latter:
Most importantly, the religious right sees the Millennials as a special threat requiring most of their attention. Abstinence-only education, the attempted defunding of Planned Parenthood, creationism in the schools, and the growth of the home-schooling movement are all aimed at the youth of America. In some cases, as with TLC’s Duggar family, the religious right is going so far as to step up baby-making, hoping to create enough religious youth to curtail the power of the growing cohort of secular youth.
We homeschoolers (at least some of us) have large families because we see Millenials (our children) as a threat. Right. Contrary to what Marcotte thinks, the personal isn’t always the political.
There’s more to quarrel with, but I’ll leave that to you, dear readers.
Joseph Knippenberg is Professor of Politics at Oglethorpe University.