For the first time in 1,400 years, England and Wales are no longer majority Christian. The UK’s Telegraph reported Tuesday that “Christians now account for less than half of England and Wales’ population for the first time in census history, government figures reveal.” This is an indication of what happens when the Left attains cultural dominance in a society and is likely a harbinger of things to come for the U.S. as well unless there is some massive cultural shift in the next few years. And there could be.
Right now, however, the trends are unmistakable. “The Office for National Statistics (ONS),” says the Telegraph, “results show that 46.2 per cent of the population (27.5 million people) described themselves as ‘Christian’ in 2021. This marks a 13.1 percentage point decrease from 59.3 per cent (33.3 million people) in 2011.” The trend is the same in the United States, although the numbers are higher: in 2019, according to the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans identified themselves as Christian, down 10% from 2009. The number of those who said they were “nothing in particular” grew by 4%, to 16% of the total population.
In England and Wales, this was not just a matter of religiosity declining across the board: “The census data also shows that every major religion increased over the ten-year period, except for Christianity.” The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, tried to put a good face on this fiasco, saying that the new figures were “not a great surprise,” but insisted that Christianity still remained “the largest movement on Earth.”
That’s great, but what happened in England and Wales? What is happening in the United States? The decline is the result of a number of factors. Journalist Daniel Greenfield observed that “What you’re seeing is the result of cultural programming that has all but eliminated Judeo-Christian religiosity as a source of values and identity among the young and replaced it with pop culture and politics.”
That’s certainly true. The elimination of Judeo-Christian religiosity, however, has not been solely a matter of cultural programming by exterior forces. The very people who were supposed to be the guardians of Judeo-Christian religiosity are in all too many cases the very ones responsible for the decline of its influence. This is a result of the fact that the Left’s Long March Through the Institutions didn’t just take over and destroy our colleges and universities, as well as the entertainment industry and the establishment media; the churches and other religious institutions were targeted as well.
This targeting was extraordinarily successful, to the extent that in the U.S., virtually all of the old mainline Protestant denominations have become what has been summed up in one indelible quip: “the Democrat Party at prayer.” Go into the average Episcopalian or United Methodist or Presbyterian church, and you’re liable to see an LGBT rainbow flag, and even if you don’t see one, the sermon will be about how we can save the planet from climate change or systemic racism or Trump or insurrectionists or transphobes or whatever the Left’s villain du jour may be.
The distinctive aspects of Christianity that make it what it is and has been for two thousand years may or may not be paid lip service, while the commitment to “diversity and inclusion” will be front and center. The situation is hardly any different in all too many Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches today as well, as well as in Reform Jewish congregations. All too many reflect the spirit of the age rather than the Spirit of God, and people don’t need to go to a synagogue or church to hear about the spirit of the age. We are inundated with it everywhere as it is.
It isn’t that congregants are turning away from the churches because they’re more conservative than the pastors and preachers, although that is certainly true in many cases. They’re turning away because the churches and other religious institutions aren’t offering them anything different from what they get everywhere else, so why bother? Leftism has conquered the religious establishment in the United Kingdom as well as the United States, but since it has conquered everything else as well, it’s all the same to stay home on Sunday morning and enjoy a waffle and the morning chat shows rather than sit in an uncomfortable pew and hear more of the same.
The churches, in short, have failed their people, and that’s why people are leaving. They will continue to leave as long as this keeps up.