When President Obama made the statement that America is not uniquely a Christian nation, there were no surprises about how the Christian community reacted. The fundamentalists, in holding with their predictable trend, abandoned analysis of Obama's statement. Instead, we saw the same kind of dull demagoguery that we have grown accustomed to from that group during this last decade. But other Christian religious leaders used Obama's comment to make the point that Christians in America should not take their majority status for granted. North America is home to more than 8 million Muslims. Their numbers are growing while the number of new Christians converts is at a decline.
Unlike hellfire paranoid pulpit preachers, progressive theologians are trying to understand the reasons for the trends. For example, they want to understand why a 30-year old might join the church of scientology where that "religion" is based on the following beliefs: An alien galactic ruler named Xenu flew thousands of cosmic aliens to earth, to colonize the planet. But galactic rulers with names like Xenu cannot be trusted. Xenu dropped all of his alien passengers into a volcano and blasted them with hydrogen bombs. Now scientologists tell us that the souls of those betrayed aliens inhabit our souls and the only way to remove them is through scientology. They brag that they have 8 million followers worldwide. So how does a 30-year old become turned off about Christianity to where scientology looks like the wise alternative? Enlightened theologians are also trying to understand why Moony converts have abandoned Christianity to hand over all their worldly belongings to a convicted felon named Sun Myung Moon who tells them to disregard the Bible and take direction only from him. The Moonies claim they have a worldwide following of 3 million. Christian theologians who spend less time as demagogues in denial have the best chance of reversing the damage that has been done to their religion this last decade. Dozens of books are being written by insightful Christian leaders who believe they understand what is threatening America's Christian majority.
Here are a few of the ideas they want their brethren to consider: Stop preaching politics from the pulpit and begin preaching the gospels again. The success or failure of a church that is too intertwined with politics of the day will rise and fall with those same politics.
Distance the mainstream church further from the fringe that has become so closely associated with the events like murdering abortion doctors or even murdering each other when fellow parishioners were perceived to be too liberal. Encourage fundamentalists to accept people who are ideologically and culturally different from themselves. Focus more on Beatitudes and less on brimstone. Return to the day when organized Christianity was prone to encourage peace rather than war. Return to the day when organized Christianity was more likely to identify with the least of our society rather than the vulgar affluence and power symbolized by money machine mega-churches that are now a Christian norm. Be more willing to adapt to the realities of a changing world. Like the reality that if Christian leadership doesn't do a better job, a non-Christian American majority is almost inevitable.