Saturday, March 18, 2006

Warmongers in the pews

According to a Gallup Poll taken early this year, "the more frequently an American attends church, the less likely he or she is to say the war was a mistake." (italics added)

While these statistics are nothing new, I never cease to find them incredible. Part of this stems from the overwhelmingly liberal/pacifist bent of students and faculty at Yale Divinity School, where I spend most of my time. Here, support for the war is tantamount to heresy (if they believe in heresy at all - which most don't). I seem to know precious few of this supposed myriad of Christians supporting the war. I'm also willing to admit my own misgivings about the war - and I stand to the right-of-center on a good number of political issues.

Are all these Christians wrong? It's easy from an intellectual standpoint to argue that they are products of their time/place - and either way, churches do a poor job of instilling a Christian worldview in most of their parishioners. Just look at the statistics. However, my heart believes that God is working in these people, transforming and changing their lives. It is not easy to simply dismiss them all as wrongheaded. In my dismissal I recognize my own elitism. When a high percentage of engaged Christians support something against secular society, I'm likely to err on the side of the faithful.

So which is more revealing: That the Americans most supportive of the Iraq war are also the Americans who most frequently go to church? Or that the Americans least supportive of the Iraq war are also the Americans who never go to church? Why does churchgoing seemingly make you more of a warmonger? Maybe Quakers and Mennonites just need to start more mid-week services...

Grace & Peace

analysis taken from The Washington Times here, and a summary by Christianity Today here.