Decline of Christianity, According to Catholic Online

From Catholic Online, we have another opinion about the decline of religiosity, and the causes for that decline. 

I'll tag quotes from the article.

Article: The Pew Research Center has released a report which states, "When it comes to the nation's religious identity, the biggest trend during Obama's presidency is the rise of those who claim no religion at all."

The article wants to blame this on Obama's presidency, and hopes that the Trump "administration" does better. The Pew Research Center had this to say, emphasis mine:

The U.S. has largely avoided the secularizing trends that have reshaped the religious scene in recent decades in European and other economically developed nations – but not entirely. The Landscape Survey documents, for example, that the number of Americans who are not affiliated with a religion has grown significantly in recent decades, with the number of people who today say they are unaffiliated with a religious tradition (16% of U.S. adults) more than double the number who say they were not affiliated with a religion as children (7%).

Except... this was from 2008, before Obama was even elected. This was an already existing trend, in other words. 

Religion thrived by creating an information-bubble, where "outside influences" couldn't penetrate. With the existence of the Internet, people have access to a lot of information that they didn't before... such as the infamous pederast cover-up scandal of the Catholic Church. In the past, that would have never been known... or even stopped, if the common person couldn't know about it.

So, right off the bat, we know this article is problematic.

Article: The number of Americans who pray daily and who attend regular church services has dropped. The number of Christians in America dropped from 78 percent to 71 percent during the past eight years.

Yes, because of an already-existing trend? Not to mention, Islam is growing (literally). As with most humans, they also reproduce.

Article: There is no clear reason why this shift has occurred.

You could... you know... ask, or do a study. Oh, wait! Pew Research Center did that too (2016). They gave several reasons (scattered through the various pages):

  • About half of current religious “nones” who were raised in a religion (49%) indicate that a lack of belief led them to move away from religion.
  • ... fully half cite practical issues as the reason. This includes one-in-five who say they are too busy to attend religious services regularly (e.g., because of their work schedule) and one-in-ten who say attending church is not high on their list of personal priorities (e.g., because they have “gotten out of the habit” or are “too lazy” to attend regularly).
  • About half of current religious “nones” who were raised in a religion (49%) indicate that a lack of belief led them to move away from religion. This includes many respondents who mention “science” as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said “I’m a scientist now, and I don’t believe in miracles.” Others reference “common sense,” “logic” or a “lack of evidence” – or simply say they do not believe in God. 
  • An overwhelming majority of atheists who were raised in a religion (82%) say they simply do not believe, but this is true of a smaller share of agnostics (63%) and only 37% of those in the “nothing in particular” category.
  • One-in-five (20%) religious “nones” who were raised in a religion say they came to dislike or distrust religious institutions or organized religion in general.

... and so on. We do actually look into these things, instead of just numbly and incoherently blaming The Government.

Back to the original article,

Article: It is widely agreed that the Obama administration viewed religion as an adversary, often taking hostile positions on the question of religious freedom.

Is it "widely agreed"? One of the things the atheist community has lamented was Obama's expanded "Faith-based initiatives". He himself was quite religious and quite Christian. I cringe a little every time he (or any other president) oozes "God bless America" after every speech.

Article: His administration fought against the Little Sisters of the Poor, Hobby Lobby and other Christian entities. 

First, let's get one thing straight. "Religious freedom" does not mean "total immunity from the law". Christians still have to obey the same laws as everyone else. That's not persecution. That's fairness.

In the past, corporations have abused their employees. They had the power - both politically and financially - to do almost whatever they wanted. The people have since fought back, and secured certain rights. One of those rights is non-discrimination on the basis of religion. It is illegal for an employer to even ask you about your religious affiliation.

We do make exceptions for explicitly religious organizations, such as churches. I've argued that a literal implementation of the Frst Amendment is impossible... but we can do our best. One of those approaches is to try for "reasonable accommodation". It's reasonable for a religious organization to hire only fellow religious members. It's not reasonable to allow open-access public companies to do the same. There's too much harm on society, to allow it.

Hobby Lobby is not a church. It's a commercial retail chain. They have to follow the same laws as everyone else. 

Health insurance is compensation. It just comes in a different form than the legal tender we call "money". Your employer cannot prohibit you from spending your income on pork, for instance, if the employer is Muslim. 

It doesn't make sense that your employer can tell you what you can't buy with your insurance compensation, but cannot tell you what you can't buy with your money compensation. Both Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court were in the wrong (they ruled in Hobby Lobby's favor).

... which just really shows that religion does grant people special privileged status, after all. 

I'm not sure what any of this has to do with the "decline of Christianity", though... let alone what it has to do with the Obama Administration (other than he happened to be President at the time). 

Article: In the popular media, Christians standing for their faith were labeled as homophobes, sexist or racist. 

Can you name an instance when those Christians were accused wrongly? There's a difference between called out on doing something wrong, and being tarred/feathered by a mob.

I don't doubt that there are instances where people jump the gun with the accusations, however, I can't believe that your objection here would be that people are calling Christians out on things they're actually doing.

Article: Rather the repudiate this anti-Christian rhetoric, the Obama administration continually doubled down.

I'm not sure what you're expecting here. That's not the President's job, specifically. Virtually every time he opened his mouth, he was religion-friendly. The rest of us citizens have our First Amendment rights too, and he couldn't prevent us from speaking our minds. The Administration has the duty to prosecute and defend the freedoms of everyone, not just Christians. It just happens that the examples brought up are examples of Christians trying to oppress others.

If a religious organization is breaking the law, prosecuting them isn't persecuting the religion. It's enforcing the law. Most Christians are fine citizens, but there's the occasional bull-Christian, or Christian organization, who crossed the line.

Article: By inventing rights for some subsets of the population, Obama stripped rights from Christians.

I really think this is the most telling statement.

In order for Christians to have rights, others' rights must be denied. Others must be oppressed for the "religious freedom" of Christians.

That explains the apparent mindset of this author, perfectly.

I'm curious which "invented rights" the author thinks should be rescinded. We "invent" rights all the time. That's why we have any. The only question is whether it makes sense for a particular right to exist, and whether it's right and just. As I occasionally point out, it's possible for different rights to conflict, and we have to figure out how to resolve that. And no - specifically granting Christianity total immunity from the law, above all others, is not the solution.

This is the test - if two rights are in conflict, and are mutually exclusive, we tend to side with the oppressed over the oppressor.

Employees wanting to spend their duly earned compensation how they wish, but are denied - they are the oppressed. Hobby Lobby would be the oppressors.

Article: There's little wonder why people have left religion, it has been maligned in pop culture, eschewed and attacked by our president, and mocked by militant atheists. 

As usual, atheists are the only group on the planet who earn the "militant" label without any violence or weapons. We have voices. Terrifying!


The author may want to blame the Obama administration, and "militant" atheists for the decline in Christianity and religion in general, however, I look forward to continued efforts to have an open and fair society for everyone, where the non-religious aren't second-class citizens to the elevated and privileged religious class.