The religious landscape of America is changing, abrupt changes. Studies show that the “millennial generation” is less religious than their parents were. And that’s a concern among many leaders of America.
Despite the Judeo-Christian roots of America, fewer Americans identificeret themselves as Christians, while the number of non-religious Americans is growing at a record pace. In 2007, the Pew Center for the first time, interviewed more than 35 thousand Americans about their religious views, and seven years later had a re-survey. During this time the number of those who call themselves Christians fell by almost 8%, driven by a reduction in the size of the main Protestant and Catholic congregations. Non-Christian religions has grown quite a bit — a little more than 1%. At the same time, the number of Americans who consider themselves atheists, agnostics, or so-called religious “non”, jumped more than 6%, and it means that now “nony” account for almost 23% of the population.
Recently, three Christian US senators — two Democrats and one Republican — have discussed these changes and the role that faith plays in their work as elected leaders.
“The last 22 years, being a public figure, I was trying to figure out how to be a religious person in the world, and I decided that I should just be myself — the way I am when they talk about “Kansas city chiefs” or love of baseball and camping trips, said Tim Kane, a Democrat Senator from Virginia. — If I am willing to tell others that I am married and have three children, why don’t I tell them about yourself the most?”
According to the Republican Senator from Oklahoma James Lankford, people are less willing to Express their faith: “I always tell people that faith is faith only when it permeates your every cell. If your faith is important to you only on weekends, it’s actually not faith, but a hobby. Of course, you can have a hobby, that’s fine, but if it’s faith, it affects how I treat my wife, it affects our relationships, it affects how I drive the car, it affects how I interact with other people. I don’t have to hide it just because I was elected”.
While religious people and legislators are working to address these issues, the senators agree on the need for open dialogue.
“People will say: you are either religious freedom or same-sex marriage. Or do they say: “if you stand for religious freedom, then you are against gays”, and they want to seize this opportunity to tear you to pieces. But it’s so unusual for our country. I find it very dubious path leading to the restriction of freedom of speech,” said James Lankford.
According to Lankford, such actions stifle the voice of the faithful and interrupting an important discussion. Representatives of the “generation Millennium” choose life without faith, and democratic Senator from Delaware, Chris coons is worried about religious literacy among non-believers. According to him, the human right to practice their religion should be respected the same as individual freedom: “as long as we continue to realize the importance of freedom of expression of religion on the individual, and that in civil society, this freedom is as valuable as the freedom of the individual, we, at least, asking the right questions,” he says.
And, fortunately, research proves the validity of these principles. Today, pious Christians read the Bible, talk about their faith to others and pray together more than it was seven years ago. According to Senator McCain, Americans are blessed to live in a country where both sides can a civilized way to discuss these issues. Due to this, America remains a beacon for that part of the world, where supporters of different religious beliefs cannot peacefully coexist.