Corbin: Religious disconnect, growing political discord in America | Opinion
In 1564 – 56 years before the departure of the Mayflower – French pilgrims settled in Fort Caroline, near Jacksonville, Florida, in search of European religious freedom. While Pilgrims and Puritans arrived in New England in the early 1600s promising that no religious belief or political persuasion would separate people from one another, the sermons, fights, and laws that followed proved opposite.
In Massachusetts, only Christians could hold public office. Catholics were banned from serving in New York. Jews did not have full civil rights in Maryland. Delaware required an oath to Christianity.
The mix of religious beliefs and politics continues to this day, causing a major disconnect. It is well known that there is a large generational divide in American politics: most Millennials, Gen X and Gen Z favor the Democratic Party while the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation primarily cater to the GOP.
As a baby boomer with grandchildren born during the Gen Z era, I think more and more about young people and their future than the fate of my older peers. The values ââof Gen Z, born after 1996, may be the best group to focus on when predicting the future.
The Springfield Research Institute, a non-partisan nonprofit, found that â50% of people between the ages of 13 and 25 don’t think religious institutions care as much as they do about issues that matter to them deeply. Â»Issues such as racial justice, gender equality, immigration rights, LGBTQ, income inequality and gun control are rarely addressed in religious institutions and cause young people to disconnect in relation to spirituality.
Many would argue that these are the same issues that separate many supporters of the Democratic Party from the hardline GOP. In the world of politics as well as in faith centers, we have learned from the Holy Bible from the mouths of babies – who are honest and innocent – come truth and wisdom.
A January 2020 Pew Research Center study found that only 22% of 13-25 year olds approved of the actions of former Donald Trump and the Republican Party, while 77% went against their peers. Gen Z individuals represent the vanguard of the country’s changing racial and ethnic makeup. They are on their way to becoming the most educated generation, and 70 percent think the government should do more to fix the problems.
Robert P. Jones, founding CEO of the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute, while speaking about the religious and cultural divide between Democratic and GOP voters, said “if current trends continue. “. . Republicans (will) look like America in the mid-90s, while Democrats (have) look like the country in a decade. “
Imagine the reaction of a 25-year-old teenager or adult reading an Oct. 25 article in Vice News that states: â25% of all white evangelical Protestants agree that the government, media and financial world in the United States United are controlled by a group of devil-worshiping pedophiles, a key QAnon conspiracy.
Or imagine a 13-25-year-old listening to a religious leader or politician support conspiracy theories, brag about disinformation about critical race theory, same-sex marriage and transgender rights, and claim that the 6 January at the Capitol was appropriate.
If the leaders of organized churches, synagogues, temples and mosques as well as the leaders of political parties wonder why there are divisions, conflicts and disconnection between the young and the old, they have not. need to look beyond what their respective group preaches, teaches and embraces.
It is time for both political parties, centers of faith and their respective believers to begin to heal America; it starts with them.
Steve Corbin is Professor Emeritus at the University of Northern Iowa at Cedar Falls. He can be contacted at [email protected]