From Peter Beinart in the Atlantic
“Over the past decade, pollsters charted something remarkable: Americans—long known for their piety—were fleeing organized religion in increasing numbers. The vast majority still believed in God. But the share that rejected any religious affiliation was growing fast, rising from 6 percent in 1992 to 22 percent in 2014. Among Millennials, the figure was 35 percent.
Some observers predicted that this new secularism would ease cultural conflict, as the country settled into a near-consensus on issues such as gay marriage. After Barack Obama took office, a Center for American Progress report declared that “demographic change,” led by secular, tolerant young people, was “undermining the culture wars.” In 2015, the conservative writer David Brooks, noting Americans’ growing detachment from religious institutions, urged social conservatives to “put aside a culture war that has alienated large parts of three generations.”
Perhaps the #NeverTrump debate among evangelicals may in fact boil down to this: should evangelicals be more worried about the nation or the church, the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of this world? Let’s be clear, voting for Trump, however purely strategic it happens to be, will result in a pro-Trump label for evangelicals (that’s how it will be uncharitably spun). So, how detrimental, shameful, consequential, to the church or kingdom of Jesus Christ will that be? If they reason it won’t be all that detrimental for the cause of Christ and reputation of his church, then a strategic choice to defeat Hillary may be prudent though painful. But if they think that it will be highly detrimental, then they will reason that a Hillary defeat gains little compared to the “mark of Trump” the church will have to bear in the aftermath of the election. Whatever an evangelical does, it seems to me that too few of them are worried about the heavenly kingdom’s reputation and goals and are singularly focused instead on the kingdom of this world.