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Secularization and its discontents

March 15, 2017

Peter Breinart writes an insightful article on how secularization is affecting the shape of today’s political camps. An important point he makes is that, on both the left and the right, the religious are divided between those who regularly attend church and those who don’t. That divide reflects how well they are doing economically and socially, how likely they are to follow a politics of greivance, and what prejudices they expose:

According to PRRI, white Republicans who seldom or never attend religious services are 19 points less likely than white Republicans who attend at least once a week to say that the American dream “still holds true.” But non-churchgoing conservatives didn’t flock to Trump only because he articulated their despair. He also articulated their resentments. For decades, liberals have called the Christian right intolerant. When conservatives disengage from organized religion, however, they don’t become more tolerant. They become intolerant in different ways. Research shows that evangelicals who don’t regularly attend church are less hostile to gay people than those who do. But they’re more hostile to African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims.

Some researchers see a rise in hate crimes this past year.

Pakistan, sadly and unsurprisingly, still punishes blasphemers. And everyone who writes secularly is a blasphemer.

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