Are elders contributing to an erosion of faith among young?

Americans  — well at least some Americans — are awfully concerned about religion lately, judging from the e-mails and faxes that rain down on our office almost daily.

Today, the Liberty Counsel (whatever that is) is imploring me, through the internet, to fight the ACLU's attempt to criminalize Christianity. They don't go into specifics —other than mention that something is going on in Santa Rosa County, FL. They don't elaborate.

I received another e-mail today from a woman whose name I recognize. It's a "chain" e-mail — a friend sent to it a friend, who sent it to another friend, and eventually it was sent to this woman, who evidently thinks I'm her friend. Or I need to know the contents of this e-mail.

It claims that Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan were all religious and patriotic, designating a national day of prayer in this country.

As you scroll down, you eventually come across this tidbit of information, set in large enough type to be screaming at you:

"BUT… On September 25, 2009

From 4 AM until 7 PM,

A National Day of Prayer
FOR THE MUSLIM RELIGION  Was Held on Capitol Hill, Beside the White House. There were over 50,000 Muslims In  D.C. That day."

I suppose I could do a bit of digging and find out if this information is true. I have a feeling, like so many other things that are passed from one to another over the internets, that it isn't. But even if it is true, I guess, this woman thinks I need to hear that Muslims are, well, you know. Those people. Foreign. Different from us. And, they kill Americans, don't they?

We may have a better idea after the new census figures are out, but it is estimated there are only about 2 million Muslims in the United States. They are Americans, like us. And when I say us, I mean the peaceful, hard-working, freedom-loving people who wake every morning and go to their jobs and school and try to seek the good life that this country offers every one of its citizens.

In other words, they quietly go about their business and practice their faith. Or try to anyway. Despite the so-called Ground Zero mosque controversy in New York City. Or Terry Jones, the nutty Florida pastor who threatened to burn Qur'ans outside his church on Sept. 11.

Or every other certifiable crazy "religious" person that is constantly doing something weird. Nearly every day, we get a fax from the hate-filled Westboro Baptist Church. Guess what? They are on tour. Oh joy.

As we all seem to be steeped in "religion" these days (or more accurately, trying to prevent some Americans from practicing their faith) — with many people noting that the only true American is a Christian American — there certainly must be an overwhelming renewal in Christian churches throughout our great land.

According to a survey conducted by Pew Research, young people in the United States, when compared to older Americans, are much less likely to affiliate with any religious tradition or to identify themselves as part of a Christian denomination. Fully one-in-four adults under age 30 (25 percent) are unaffiliated, describing their religion as "atheist," "agnostic" or "nothing in particular."

This compares with less than one-fifth of people in their 30s (19 percent), 15 percent of those in their 40s, 14 percent of those in their 50s and 10 percent or less among those 60 and older.

About two-thirds of young people (68 percent) say they are members of a Christian denomination.

In other words, the religious landscape in America, at least among our younger generation, is looking a bit rocky. I'm sure there are a lot of factors that can be cited as reasons for this trend.

When considering the "religious" behavior of some members of the "older generation," one can't help but wonder if our nation's elders are contributing to the erosion in faith among young people.

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