American Christianity is in danger of becoming a rich man’s religion, complete with a preferential option for the affluent. On the other hand, the social issues that used to fire up working-class Christians are now being pushed to the side. I believe we are witnessing the ultimate poisoned fruit of Fusionism, the largely failed attempt to combine right-libertarian economics with social traditionalism. Fusionism is destroying American Christianity.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Fusionism vs. Christianity
Lisa Miller writes for Newsweek on the conflict between the Religious Right and the Obama Administration. As Miller notes, what is interesting about this particular battle between the Religious Right and a Democratic president is that the focus seems to be largely on economic matters and not the traditional social conservative causes like marriage and abortion. While the ailing economy is certainly a major factor working here, I wonder if there is something else afoot. Recently released statistics showing the decline of marriage and family life among less affluent Americans also reveal a decline in church attendance among those same working-class people who used to be the backbone of American Christianity. Not surprisingly, the decline of marriage, family life, and church attendance all seem to have begun in the 1970s, right around the time most Americans saw their real wages begin to stagnate or decline. It was the beginning of the era of neoliberalism.