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Millennials: faith and values not key ingredients to America’s story

Millennials: faith and values not key ingredients to America’s story

A study by the Pew Research Center for the People & Press contends that the Millennial generation just isn’t all that into religion when it comes to what makes America America.

There is much less consensus over the importance of “our religious faith and values.” Fewer than half of Millennials (46%) say religious faith and values have been very important in America’s success. This compares with 64% of Xers, 69% of Boomers and 78% of Silents.

At Good Politics, Nona Willis Aronowitz says this is more than a footnote.

This … could fundamentally change who we elect and how we govern. There are periodic news stories about how many Americans think President Obama is a Muslim, and countless surveys about whether Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith will get in the way of his chances to become president. But only about 40 percent of Americans can identify Romney’s religion. Among the younger generation, the question may be whether we care about a candidate’s faith at all.

I’m part of the 26 percent who isn’t religious, and for me, how religious candidates are matters more than to what religion they subscribe. Do they use their faith to prop up bigoted views about gay marriage or reproductive rights? Will they use government funds to favor one religion over the other? The less religious they are, the more likely I am to vote for them. When the Christian right was squawking about Obama’s less-than-showy commitment to Christianity, I was ticking it off as a plus, and I wasn’t alone. As younger generations become progressively less devout, we may tilt back to a timeworn but often-ignored core American value: the separation between church and state.


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Alissa Goudswaard

Hm. Despite considering myself pretty “devout” insofar as I’m deeply committed to living my Christian faith, I seem to fit pretty nicely in the Millennial category as seen here.

I would be more likely to vote for a nonreligious candidate committed to issues of social justice and peacemaking than for a religious candidate who appeared as if s/he would use the presidential office to further ideals I see as contrary to the Gospel mission. Ideally, a “Christian” candidate would be committed to social justice and peacemaking, but I think I can safely say that that hasn’t always been the case.

So in a sense, I’d say I care quite deeply about the candidate’s religious faith, but my caring looks different than it might for someone of my parents’ or grandparents’ generations.

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