A very interesting and astute article.
Thank you to Chris for bringing it to my attention, and thank you to Gloria for getting me to check my email spam file – where for some reason, Chris’s email had been dumped by my email account.
This article reflects MUCH more than a perception of the degrading of Billy Graham’s legacy. It is a reflection of the increasingly sorry state of “evangelical Christianity” as a whole.
Billy Graham Built a Movement. Now His Son Is Dismantling It.
If you want to understand the evangelical decline in the United States, look no further than the transition from Billy to Franklin Graham.
By STEPHEN PROTHERO
During World War II era, European churches were hurt badly by the affiliation of Christianity with right-wing political movements. During the 1940s and 1950s, the United States persisted in its religiosity as European countries secularized. In fact, the Americans witnessed a powerful religious revival after the war, thanks in part to Billy Graham.
That revival is over. Religion is now declining in the United States, and evangelicalism with it. In fact, over the last decade, the portion of white evangelical Protestants in the United States declined from 23 percent to 17 percent.
The most significant development in American religion in recent years is the shocking rise of the religiously unaffiliated (otherwise known as “nones”), who now account for roughly one quarter of all Americans. This increasing distance from religious institutions is accompanied by increasing distance from religious beliefs and practices. Today 27 percent of Americans describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious” and another 18 percent as “neither religious nor spiritual.” There are many reasons for this decline in religious believing and belonging. But the most important in my view is the increasing identification of the Christian churches with right-wing politics, [my emphasis in bold – Onesimus]