If a weakened Christianity invites an aggressive Islam, what is the prognosis for America?
The rise of Islam in Europe has been linked to a decline in Christianity and to a resulting loss of population. Does that mean that the U.S., a churchgoing nation with a healthy birth rate, is relatively immune to Islamization? Are we protected by our demographics?
Before answering that question, let’s review the situation in Europe. Church attendance in some European countries is down to five percent of the population. Polls in Denmark reveal that only nine percent of Danes say that religion is very important in their life. In Spain, 46 percent of Spaniards between the ages of 15 and 24 consider themselves atheists, and a poll of self-described Catholics in France found that 45 percent of them are unable to say what Easter celebrates. Meanwhile, in contrast to the empty Christian churches, the European mosques are overflowing.
The loss of faith seems to have brought with it a loss of cultural confidence. Increasingly, it is Muslims who dictate what can be published, what can be taught, and what can be said—even what works of art can be displayed. Now that the sign of the cross has been replaced by a relativistic shrug of the shoulders, the culture no longer seems worth defending. As Mark Steyn puts it, “You can’t help noticing that since abandoning its faith in the unseen world, Europe seems also to have lost faith in the seen one.”
There is also, of course, a direct link between loss of faith and loss of population. People who don’t believe they have anything meaningful to pass on to the next generation tend to stop generating—with the result that much of the next generation in Europe is being produced by people who are fond of naming their boys “Mohammed.” In a nutshell, the Islamic faithful were quick to fill the spiritual and population vacuums created by the decline of Christian faith.
If a weakened Christianity invites an aggressive Islam, what is the prognosis for America? On the surface, Americans seem to have a strong Christian commitment. And on the surface America doesn’t seem to have a population problem. But below the surface there are problems aplenty.
Here’s one indication of the problem: a recent study conducted by Georgetown shows that Catholic college students are less likely to pray and attend Mass after four years of exposure to a Catholic education. The study showed similar results for non-Catholic private religious colleges. Four years of education at Christian colleges and universities produced graduates who were less inclined to attend church, to pray, and to read scripture than they had been before college entrance.
The study is reinforced by several recent polls which reveal that America is less Christian than it once was. According to a Newsweek poll the percentage of self-identified Christians in the United States has fallen from 86 percent of the population in 1990 to 76 percent today. In the same period the number of those who say they have no religion has nearly doubled from 8 to 15 percent. Among younger Americans, ages 18 to 29, a fourth classify themselves as agnostic, atheist, or of no religious faith.
How about that 76 percent that remain identified as Christians? Judging by the Georgetown study, you might not want to count on all of them, or even many of them, to stand shoulder to shoulder in resistance to cultural Islamization. In addition to cutting back on prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance, Christian students seem to acquire a more positive attitude toward activities—such as abortion and same-sex marriage—that were traditionally considered violations of the Christian moral code. Nowadays, the surest sign of your faith is a display of sensitivity to diversity. Education today—whether denominational or non-denominational—is mainly about learning the rules of relativism, and non-judgmentalism. It seems safe to say that if they think about the matter much, students will tend to be non-judgmental about the Islamic faith, as well. Of course, a multicultural education more or less guarantees that people won’t give much thought to the matter because if all cultures, religions, and opinions are equal, what does it matter what people believe. Why bother to be better informed when you already know that all belief systems will turn out to be as innocuous and well-intentioned as your own?
This formation in relativism (which cuts across all age and class levels) also explains why the healthy American birth rate is not as healthy as it appears. Yes, it’s holding steady at the magic 2.1 replacement figure, but 41% of those births now occur out of wedlock. When applied to sexual morality the practice of non-judgmentalism produces tangible demographic results, and produces them in a relatively short period of time. About 35 percent of white children are now born out of wedlock, as are 55 percent of Hispanic children, and 70 percent of black children. And, as any cop, or school teacher, or single mother can attest, these trends quickly translate into trouble. As they grow up, the boys in these fatherless families are particularly prone to school failure, delinquency, and gang activity. Sociologists say it has to do with the difficulty of establishing a masculine identity when there is no father in the home. Another way of putting it is that father absence tends to create an attraction to distorted masculine ideologies. Consider that the Nazi rise to power took advantage of the fact that a whole generation of German fathers had been lost in the First World War. Fatherless boys and young men growing up in the twenties and early thirties would have had a natural attraction to the exaggerated masculine ideology and trappings of the Nazi party.
Masculine identity, of course, is something that Islam specializes in. Sooner or later all these fatherless boys are going to notice that there’s a lot of hyper-masculine activity going on down at the local mosque. If you are going to join a gang, why not join the biggest, most powerful “gang” in the world. So, in the absence of traditional families, America’s respectable birth rate may only translate into more potential converts to Islam. Islamic activists, who are very savvy about such things, will no doubt devise ways to capitalize on rising illegitimacy rates—maybe something along the lines of:
Send your boy to Shaheed Summer Camp. We’ll teach him discipline and give him a sense of purpose. Your boy will learn stealth infiltration, media intimidation, paramilitary maneuvers, and other exciting activities, all in a structured environment. Thanks to a generous donation from the Wahabbi Summer Camp Foundation we are able to offer free tuitions.
Meanwhile, many Christians seem to be caught up in a pre-9/11 time warp in which gender experimentation is still thought to be on the cutting edge of progress. Thus, at Catholic Seattle University last year the first week of Lent was “Transgender Awareness Week” featuring a “Criss-Cross Day.” Cross-dressing exercises are also not uncommon in religious classes for Christian middle-schoolers. On a more mundane level, Christian children tend to get their religious education mainly from women—many of whom are still stuck in the tell-me-about-your-feelings method of pedagogy. In other words, the Christian churches aren’t offering much that might appeal to a boy in search of his manhood.
But that’s OK. Apparently there’s nothing to worry about out there, nothing that might require a little masculine assertiveness. Another finding of the Georgetown study was that students were much more likely to favor cuts in military spending as a result of their college education. Arms are for hugging, after all. In the world view of the modern multicultural Christian there are no enemies out there, only people who haven’t yet realized how much we respect their diversity.
It may be that 76 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians, but how many of those would be willing to take a stand against the Islamization of America? How many would even realize there is a threat? How many would understand that Islam requires the eventual subjugation of all other religions, and that resistance is therefore something of a Christian duty?
There are a lot of indications that the answer to both questions is “not many.” America has high rates of divorce, illegitimacy, and abortion. Popular entertainment is beginning to resemble the Roman circus, and sexual experimentation has become a national pastime. You would think that if the 76 percent were serious about their faith it would be reflected in the larger culture. Obviously, the numbers who are willing to resist the cultural tides must be fairly small. The question is, if American Christians can’t successfully resist abortion activists or the relatively small number of gay activists, and if they are unable to counter the steady sexualization of their children by the entertainment industry, how likely is it that they will be able to resist the efforts of dedicated and well-funded cultural jihadists—especially when those stealth jihadists know how to play on the typical American’s compulsive need to demonstrate his tolerance for differences?
In contrast to Europe, America has plenty of practicing Christians. It also has freer speech and a freer press. But not many of those Christians seem to feel a need to use their free speech rights to raise awareness about the threat from Islam. If Christian bookstores are any indication of their frame of mind, Christians seem more concerned about weight loss than loss of freedom. A remarkable number of Christian books are devoted to explaining God’s plan for you to shed your extra pounds—thus giving a whole new meaning to the term “Christianity Lite.” At the same time—once again, judging by the shelves full of books on the subject—God has plans for you to beef-up your finances, improve your marriage, and succeed in business. Islam, on the other hand, seems to be well down on the list of things that American Christians worry about.
I recently attended a seminar on the threat of cultural jihad sponsored by a large Jewish community center. The presentation contained some fairly scary information. Afterward, in the crowded foyer, I overheard a woman asking, of no one in particular, “Where are the Christians?” Answer: look for them on the treadmills in the gyms or in the diet aisles at Whole Foods. Well, not all of them, of course; a growing number of Christians and Christian leaders are waking up to the Islamic threat. Still, in regard to Islam, most Christians seem to be living in a comfortable dreamworld.
William Kilpatrick’s articles on Islam have appeared in Front Page Magazine, Jihad Watch, Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, World, and Investor’s Business Daily.