The defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama has been widely portrayed as a loss for the Republican party, Donald Trump and even the political sideshow that is Steve Bannon.
But long after they are all forgotten … or at least put way behind us in terms of politics or even history … there is an even GREATER and LONG-TERM loser that will suffer from what the world witnessed in Alabama: RELIGION.
That Moore could have even been nominated … and despite a catalogue of convicted lawlessness, contempt for Court and openly proclaimed bigotry and extremism … still be supported by almost half the state (up to 90% in some areas) of supposedly RELIGIOUSLY faithful Christians … spoke volumes about the state of BELIEF in the American “Bible Belt”.
And that was BEFORE all the revelations and multiple accusations surrounding his pathetic pursuit of teenage girls when he was a prosecuting Alabama state attorney in his 30s ….which alone should have seen him sent packing as a potential Senator by anyone with ANY semblance of moral compass or religious faith.
And yet, more than FIFTY Alabama pastors signed a Declaration supporting Moore as candidate for the US Senate!
No wonder Moore still won more than 48% of the vote in Alabama….most of them OLDER voters, while younger, better educated voters, ignored the pastors’ plea:
“And the younger the electorate got, the worse Moore did. Among those 18-44, he got walloped by 23 points. Moore’s loss was particularly pronounced among voters aged 30-39 where he took just 32% of the vote as compared to 66% for Jones,” CNN analysis showed.
His opponent Doug Jones’ apparently unforgiveable “sin” for the religious right … supporting a woman’s right to choose, in certain circumstances, whether to have an abortion. And that is WORSE than alleged REPEATED cases of child sexual assault? Someone whose TARGETING of legally under-age girls was so egregious, mall management in his own local community asked him to stay away!
Those pastors and people of Alabama not only disgraced themselves by standing by Moore, they unthinkingly contributed to the continuing decline of RELIGION among young, educated people in our society.
When religious faith is associated with bigotry, ignorance, shallow and even false morality on such a large scale in such an open forum …watched so closely around the educated world … the long-term damage should not be under-estimated.
Especially in light of the clear decline in religiosity the Western world has witnessed over the past 50 years.
In the US a report published in September by a nonpartisan research organization, the Public Religion Research Institute catalogued the decline in religious affiliation:
” There are 20 states in which no religious group comprises a greater share of residents than the religiously unaffiliated. These states tend to be more concentrated in the Western U.S., although they include a couple of New England states, as well. More than four in ten (41%) residents of Vermont and approximately one-third of Americans in Oregon (36%), Washington (35%), Hawaii (34%), Colorado (33%), and New Hampshire (33%) are religiously unaffiliated”, the researchers found.
And that was before so many in the Bible Belt openly declared their lack of real moral backbone.
So much for “In God we trust” … or at least so many of those who PURPORT to represent, cherish or follow religious values/precepts … but whose actions do not.
Religious principles and professed morality were pushed aside by 80% of the white Christian vote in the even the Bible belt in the vain pursuit of extreme right wing ideology, bigotry and tax cuts.
And I would contend the bigotry and hypocrisy of so many supposedly “religious” people and groups have contributed to this decline … and the willingness of so many “believers” in Alabama to accept and vote for Moore will further TURN OFF even more people … especially those with higher education.
Many Alabaman’s tried to defend their support for a multiple-alleged teenage girls pursuer/dater, saying it all happened many years earlier and, after all, forgiveness is a important component of Christianity.
Let’s keep it real: does anyone reading this believe if Moore had been accused of approaching/dating teenage BOYS, those voters would have applied the same Christian forgiveness factor and still supported him as a candidate????
In fact, I’d bet a revelation of him having even a ADULT gay relationship “way back” would NOT have been “forgiven” by those same Alabama voters.
The world is watching … or at least more and more of the young, educated voters in our Western world … and religion is LOSING in terms of credibility, influence and importance … and “believers” have only themselves to blame.
And not just in Alabama.
The trials and tribulations surrounding so many pedophiles among the priestly ranks of the Church over DECADES have been well-documented … and the most damning aspect, I believe, was NOT the fact that such offenses occurred … but how, for decades, the Church looked the other way, covered up the guilty and even attacked those brave enough to come forward with their tearful tales of abuse.
And no religion has been without its extremists and hate peddlers who have sowed bigotry, even violence.
Who could blame many for turning away. And they are.
In Canada the disassociation from or practice of organized religion is a trend that began decades ago … and has been steadily growing.
” Secularization in Canada has been growing since the 1960s. In 2011, 23.9% declared no religious affiliation, compared to 16.5% in 2001,” a study attached to the 2011 Census reported.
And nowhere has that been more pronounced than in Quebec … a province where the Catholic Church once wielded enormous influence and power.
“The most overwhelming change occurred during the Quiet Revolution in Quebec in the 1960s. Up to the 1950s, the province was one of the most traditional Roman Catholic areas in the world. Church attendance rates were high, and the schools were largely controlled by the Church. In the 1960s, the Catholic Church lost most of its influence in Quebec, and religiosity declined sharply. While the majority of Québécois are still professed Latin rite Roman Catholics, rates of church attendance have decreased dramatically. Since then, Common law relationships, abortion, and support for same-sex marriage are more common in Quebec than in the rest of Canada“, Wikipedia says.
In BC, 44.1% of the population now describe themselves as “non-religious”.
Right across the “educated” world, as empty pews testify, more and more people are turning away from devout religious belief at a whopping rate … especially among Catholics, Protestants and Jews. And even educated and economically successful Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhists are becoming more secular … although more reluctant to declare so publicly.
Sure … we use the “institutions” to get us through the rites of passage: birth, milestones, marriage and death … but fewer and fewer REALLY shape our lives to fit or meet most religious laws and the attendance at services.
Figures now showing religion as being “unimportant” include: Sweden, 82%; Norway 78%; Japan, 74%; United Kingdom, 73%; France, 70%; Australia, 68%; Germany 60%; Canada 57%.
Among countries where religion is still considered “important”: Bangladesh, Yemen, Indonesia, 99%; Egypt, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Thailand, 97%; Saudi Arabia, Uganda, 93% etc.
In the US, 69% surveyed previously said religion was important, while 31% said it was unimportant.
No doubt in my mind, the 650,000 Moore voters in Alabama did NOTHING to reverse that growing trend when the next survey is done.
Maybe that’s why … sadly … more and more who say Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah these days are thinking just in terms of gifts, food, partying and extra days off work than the real religious messages they represent.