Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Generation X Becoming Less Christian, Less Republican; Catholic and Baptist Losses feed Religious Polarization
Members of Generation X – the 35 million Americans born between 1965 and 1972 – have become less Christian and less Republican over the course of their adult lives, a new study by Trinity College shows. Striking declines in the number of Catholics and Baptists combined with sharp increases in the number of non-denominational Christians and those claiming no religious affiliation (Nones) show increased religious polarization in this generation, even as its political re-orientation towards the Democratic Party has been accompanied by modest growth in the number of political independents.
Born in the wake of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the Gen X-ers constituted the most Catholic generational cohort in American history, with fully one-third of them identifying as Catholics in 1990. But two decades later, approximately one out of five had fallen away from the faith. It was only thanks to the addition of approximately one million Latino Catholics their own age that the proportion of Gen X Catholics decreased to only 26 percent of the cohort.
In addition, shifts in religious identification since 1990 have resulted in the ranks of the Nones swelling by 67 percent (2.2 million persons) and those in the conservative, non-denominational Generic Christian tradition growing by 51 percent (1.8 million). Put another way, the percentage of self-proclaimed Nones increased from 11 percent to 16 percent of this cohort between 1990 and 2008. This increase is surprising since Americans have historically increased their religious identification between early adulthood and their mid-40s, as theymarry, have children, and become settled in their communities.
Those were among the key findings of a new report by Barry Kosmin and Juhem Navarro-Rivera at Trinity College, who looked at the religious and political affiliations of Generation X, whose members reached adulthood during an era when American society was much influenced by the Christian Right. The findings are important as predictorsabout the future of American society, particularly the relationship betweenreligion and politics, issues that have been front and center during this year’s presidential campaign.
The data are derived from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), a large, nationally representative sample of adults in the Continental United States. The surveys were conducted in 1990 and again in 2008, highlighting trends over an 18-year period. The 1990 ARIS involved 113,723 respondents, including 16,959 adultsbetween the ages of 18 and 25 years. The 2008 ARIS had an overall sample size of 54,461, with 6,407 respondents between the ages of 36 and 43 years.
“Generation X has shifted its allegiances to a surprising degree” said Barry Kosmin, director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC) at Trinity. “Many in this generation of Americans have abandoned their religious roots and political affiliations in adulthood. Historically and sociologically, that’s an unexpected development.”
In terms of political affiliation, Gen X-ers leaned Republican by 5 percentage points in 1990 (34 percent to 29 percent Democratic), but in 2008 they favored the Democratic Party by 7 percentage points (33 percent to 26 percent Republican) This partisan shiftaway from the GOP was even more pronounced among Generation X Nones. In 1990, Nones were evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, but by 2008, Nones leaned Democratic by more than 2 to 1 (33 percent to 15 percent).
“The fact that identification with religion declined among Generation X as they aged suggests that the secularization of Americans is not just about young people from today’s Millennial Generation abandoning religion because it has become too politicized,” said Juhem Navarro-Rivera, a research fellow at the ISSSC. “It is also an ongoing and wider process that involves older generations in American society, as exemplified by Generation X.”
The report’s religion data are based on responses to the question: What is your religion, if any? And the political party data are based on responses to the question: Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, Democrat or Independent?
Incorrect speech by whites is punished more severely than racial violence against whites
Back in 2001, Britain's political parties signed a fantastic pledge. They agreed to say nothing to "stir up racial or religious hatred, or lead to prejudice on grounds of race, nationality or religion."
This gag order did more than keep the parties polite. Vital issues -- from massive immigration and multiculturalism to their eradicating effects on British civilization -- were officially banned. Thus, such concerns became impermissible thoughts. Not that such issues weren't already thoughtcrime, as George Orwell would have put it. But this unprecedented pledge turned "violators" into political lepers.
I thought of that elite code of cowardice this week when a London judge sentenced a 42-year-old British secretary named Jacqueline Woodhouse to 21 weeks in jail. Her crime? An expletive-laden rant about immigration, multiculturalism and the disappearance of British civilization. Not in so many words. But that was the unmistakable gist of Woodhouse's commentary one January night on the London Underground.
This same week, another London judge ordered two black girls, 18 and 19, to perform community service after a savage physical attack on two white legal secretaries. "I am satisfied what you both did, you did that night because you were fueled by alcohol," Judge Stephen Kramer said, as though tut-tutting a child's unknowing apple theft.
A few months ago, another London judge freed four Somali Muslim women who set upon a white couple, yelling, "Kill the white slag," and other anti-white slurs. The gang beat the woman to the ground and ripped out a patch of her hair. Judge Robert Brown was lenient because, he ruled, as Muslims, the women were not used to being drunk.
Jacqueline Woodhouse was drunk, too, but that was no mitigating factor in her case. She harmed no one, but that was no mitigating factor, either. Judge Michael Snow invoked the "deep sense of shame" Woodhouse's display elicited, because "our citizens ... may, as a consequence, believe that it secretly represents the views of other white people."
"Thoughtcrime is death," as Orwell wrote in "1984."
And, thanks to YouTube, it becomes continuous spectacle. Woodhouse's court-deemed "victim," Galbant Singh Juttla, recorded and uploaded her display. After the six-minute clip went viral, Woodhouse turned herself in to police.
But what might she have confessed to?
I did it, mates. I said: "I used to live in England. Now I live in the United Nations."
That'll be 21 weeks in the clink?
Woodhouse said a lot of other things as she surveyed her fellow passengers, her squawky voice weirdly reminiscent of an Eliza Doolittle grown old without having met her Henry Higgins. "All bleeping foreign bleeping bleeps," she says. "Where do you come from? Where do you come from? Where do you come from?" She estimated that 30 percent of the train's passengers were in the country illegally.
Off with her head.
Expletives fly regarding England ("this bleeping country is a bleeping joke"), Pakistanis, illegals, pigs.
"I wouldn't mind if you loved our country," she said, lucid, to a Pakistani beside her.
"Long live Pakistan," he said twice in Urdu, later leading a chorus of the Pakistani national anthem.
Woodhouse then notices her "victim" recording her. "Oh, look, he's filming," she says. "Hello, government." She leans into the camera.
"Why don't you tell us your name, as well?" Juttla the "victim" says.
"Why don't you tell me where you're from?" she says.
"I'm British, I'm British, yeah? I'm British," he tells her.
"Right. OK," she says.
"So, what's your problem?" he says.
"Oh, what's your problem?" she says.
"Yeah, you should watch what you say."
"Watch what I say?"
"I used to live in England. Now I live in the United Nations."
"So keep your mouth shut then."
"Why should I?"
Twenty-one weeks in jail, folks.
Why, Woodhouse quite rationally asks, "am I not allowed to express my opinions?"
"We don't want to hear your opinions," Juttla replies.
This tears it. "Why is it all right for you but not all right for me?" She's shrieking now, her voice cutting the air like a ragged-edged razor.
There is background laughter, but nothing is funny. For a few, farcical minutes, a nation's tragedy, its unmarked passing, has taken the spotlight, the lead role played by a drunken secretary because there is no one else.
"Just keep your mouth shut," Juttla says for the umpteenth time.
"Why should you open your gob and I can't open mine?"
"Because you questioned me first," he says, which isn't true. Juttla questioned Woodhouse first, asking for her name. Surely, Big Brother would want to know.
"I'm sorry," she says. "Not one rule for you and one rule for me."
Oh, yes, Jacqueline. One rule for indigenous islanders. One rule for everyone else.
British-born doctor told she was 'wrong colour' to get job in Cumbria and to 'go back where she came from' by boss
Since she would have been perfectly familiar with the British language and customs and had successfully completed her training in Britain, there was no excuse for this
A senior doctor was told by her boss that she was 'the wrong colour' to get a top job in nursing, a misconduct hearing was told. British Dr Sarina Saiger, who has Indian heritage, was advised to 'go back to where she came from' rather than try to become a director of nursing in Cumbria.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council heard how Dr Saiger's boss, Bruce Skilbeck, made the remarks during a 2005 appraisal into her performance.
Dr Saiger, who has already been awarded £115,000 in damages at an earlier tribunal after being sacked in 2008, said: ‘After we did a brief resume of the work I had been doing, I remember clearly he said technically I was the most brilliant nurse he had ever worked with.
‘But I would never be a director of nursing in Cumbria because I was the wrong colour and wrong culture for the organisation. ‘He said I needed to go back to where I came from to get a director of nursing position.’
Skilbeck, who was the director of nursing for North Cumbria Acute Hospitals NHS Trust but has now retired, has been hauled before the NMC charged with two counts of misconduct against Dr Saiger which was allegedly ‘racially motivated’
Halifax-born Dr Saiger had been parachuted into the trust in 2004 to raise standards as assistant director of nursing. She had excelled academically and harboured ambitions of going on to the top job, but was shot down by Skilbeck in the appraisal meeting on November 3, 2005, shortly after he joined the trust.
Dr Saiger added: ‘I was just stunned, I have been a nurse since 1986 and I’ve faced many things in nursing. ‘It’s a difficult profession, but I never expected to hear that, not from someone who is supposed to be of an intellectually senior standing.’
A tearful Dr Saiger told the hearing how she was studying for her PhD and raising her son Michael while working in an increasingly hostile environment. She said: ‘I was finding things out after the event, excluded from meetings. My PA Maria was absolutely loyal and would get me information because I wasn’t kept informed.
‘I didn’t have an office; I was working out of the back of my car. Other nurses and senior managers who were appointed after me were given an office and a desk, and access to equipment. ‘I was actually quite lonely.’
Eventually, Dr Saiger launched a grievance against the trust, including the comments made by Skilbeck. But a prolonged investigation delivered a ‘whitewash’ which absolved senior managers of blame, she said. She said: ‘It was just a farce really. It completely and utterly absolved everyone and anything. ‘They would find reasons, excuses, policies - everything I was saying was completely untrue.’
Skilbeck is also accused of violently grabbing Dr Saiger by the arm and dragging her along a corridor, on May 31, 2007. Dr Saiger reported the incident, which left her with a badly bruised arm, to the police, but no charges were brought.
She was sacked from her £42,000-a-year post in 2008, but launched an employment tribunal case which ruled she had been a victim of a campaign of racially-motivated discrimination and harassment. The tribunal found she had been subjected to an ‘intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment’.
The tribunal upheld 16 of her 27 complaints and awarded her £115,000 in damages.
Skilbeck, who is now retired, did not attend the hearing in central London today, but emailed papers to the NMC to support his case. The hearing into his alleged misconduct continues.
My parents supported Enoch Powell - but that doesn't mean they were racist
Anne Robinson's very personal recollection of Britain's most controversial politician
My first awareness of the existence of Enoch Powell came, like many other things in my life, from my mother. She was fascinated by politics: a frustrating world away from her everyday life, even though in many ways her life was extraordinary.
In post-war Britain when it appeared the rest of womankind, who had enjoyed freedom and the right to work while their men were away fighting, had been firmly returned to their domestic boxes, my mother was doing the polar opposite.
In food-rationed Britain she’d created and was running a wholesale poultry business. Her alarming skill at money-making was sufficient to move her young family to the grandeur of a large mansion in Blundellsands, a suburb of Liverpool.
She naturally voted Tory. Not that she took any active role in local politics. Indeed she held most politicians in contempt.
But there were two exceptions: Michael Foot and Enoch Powell. A socialist and a Tory, but significantly both fiercely independent and hard to pigeonhole. She singled them out because they excelled in what mattered to her most — oratory and advocacy.
Powell and Foot’s flair, she would frequently declare, was second to none. Thus, their names reverberated around our home. The fact that these two men appeared to have little in common politically mattered not a jot to her.
They were the intellectuals of their day, with the skill to convey their views.
In the 1950s you’d have needed to have a keen interest in politics to follow Enoch Powell’s career. I was barely 14 when he first made headlines in 1958, having resigned from the government in protest at the level of public spending.
He was a rebel, or if you were looking on from our vantage point in Blundellsands, a hero — since, naturally, my mother adored Enoch even more for his magnificent display of awkwardness.
His next act of swimming against the tide left no one ignorant of his name. His immigration speech of April 1968 gripped the whole country. By then I was a young Sunday Times news reporter. A paper, which prided itself on its campaigning reputation. The paper’s condemnation of the speech was unequivocal.
Looking back, it is hard to think of a year as important politically as 1968. Every day seemed to produce a spine-tingling headline.
There were the assassinations of Martin Luther King and then Robert Kennedy, the Paris riots, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the continuing horror of the Vietnam War, and Richard Nixon’s election as U.S. president.
The new heroes of the decade were those who’d sacrificed their lives in the name of liberty. In contrast, Enoch Powell had become a figure of hate in the world of the London glitterati. A young journalist on a liberal newspaper had no reason to challenge this conclusion.
My mother, however, was under no such constraints. She believed Enoch had had the nerve to say out loud what everyone was thinking — except for the small political and journalistic elite in which her daughter now mixed.
Significantly, Liverpool was a city with a history of immigration going back far beyond that of the Midlands and Enoch’s Wolverhampton constituency.
The difference was that Liverpool’s immigrant population, referred to unashamedly as ‘darkies’, was almost exclusively confined to the city’s ghettoes.
The idea that my mother’s rather grand area of suburbia (Liverpool 23) — where there were ‘in’ and ‘out’ drives and plentiful employment for cooks and gardeners — might become akin to the downtrodden slum areas of Liverpool 7 and 8 would have been every bit as distressing to her as it was proving to be for the long-term white residents of Wolverhampton.
To make sense of that view, you need to remember what life was like 50 years ago. The now popular idea that the ‘Swinging Sixties’ heralded tolerance and free-thinking is an almost comically lopsided picture.
Much of what was regarded as acceptable and normal behaviour would today be judged as abhorrent; not just the language of Enoch Powell.
This was the decade when young boys — my brother Peter was one of them — were shipped off at the tender age of six or seven to the harsh regimes of prep school, where corporal punishment and bullying were the norm.
For women, there was no equality of pay or opportunity. The Pill was not available for unmarried women. Abortion was a luxury for rich girls. Babies were called illegitimate (or worse) if born out of wedlock.
It was normal practice to send unmarried mothers away to give birth, and within a few weeks to have the babies forcibly removed for adoption.
A woman yelling ‘rape’ could expect to be disbelieved or told she was ‘asking for it’. So much so that a woman who experienced rape would not have considered it anything other than her own stupid fault. Maternity leave was almost unheard of.
In 1968, a woman wishing to rent a television set required the supporting signature of a man. Any man! A woman requiring an overdraft or applying for a mortgage needed to have the conditions read aloud by her bank manager.
The Married Women’s Property Act of 1964, giving married women a legal share of the matrimonial home, was in its infancy.
There were remarkably few female accountants, estate agents, barristers or senior police officers. As late as 1980, BBC Radio 2 had a policy of never playing two female singers back to back.
The Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised homosexual acts in private between consenting males over 21, was less than a year old. Indeed, those in the 1960s who forecast new laws against racial discrimination and sexual discrimination were dismissed as scaremongers.
'I didn’t judge my parents as racists for supporting Enoch Powell. Like many others, they felt they hadn’t come through a war to see their neighbourhood transformed and property values threatened.'
Of course the above now seems barbaric and jaw-dropping. But it’s muddle-headed to suppose that all the politicians who accepted the status quo were ‘sexists’, any more than people like my mother were ‘racists’.
Equally, expressions that now are rightly regarded as racist were used without anyone having the foggiest idea they were offensive.
I didn’t judge my parents as racists for supporting Enoch Powell. Like many others, they felt they hadn’t come through a war to see their neighbourhood transformed and property values threatened.
Of course, when re-reading today the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in full (and how many do?), there is no doubt about the odious wording it includes.
Much the same could be said of Churchill in the 1930s, when on occasions he referred to African nations as ‘savages’.
Nevertheless, after the immigration speech, Enoch was entrenched in the public psyche as a formidable, forbidding creature; his dark aura assisted by the pencil-thin moustache, the mostly unsmiling countenance and the scary black homburg hat.
It was a few years later, in the mid-1970s, that I found myself at the House of Commons interviewing him for a newspaper profile. He was famous for not having an office in the House, and our chat was conducted on one of the green benches near the central lobby.
Anyone who met Enoch Powell remembers the first occasion. Those penetrating blue eyes and his clipped manner of speech were intimidating (even for a girl whose own mother was regarded as terrifying by most people).
The moment I mentioned ‘rivers of blood’, my tutorial commenced. The expression never appeared in the speech, he said. And he went on to explain from where the quotation ‘the Tiber foaming with much blood’ derived — Virgil’s Aeneid — and why, when viewed in its context, it should have hardly caused offence to any reasonable person.
It was a nerve-racking start. But the fact that he bothered to go into detail in a gentle, respectful manner convinced me that beneath the forbidding exterior he was actually courteous, kind, painstaking.
As I left, he asked if I’d bring my completed work to him to correct any errors of fact. Accordingly, a few days later I turned up at his house in Belgravia. He answered the door and led me to the basement, where we sat at a tiny kitchen table. Saying a private prayer, I handed him the finished profile. It felt like being at school again.
Thank goodness for the unexpected interruption of Pamela Powell, his wife. She bustled in with an apology for disturbing us. ‘Your lunch, Enoch,’ she said, ‘is in the fridge. There is apple pie to finish. The cream is in a jug at the top of the fridge. Do not spill the cream.’
The great Enoch Powell nodded meekly. For one who had grown up in a matriarchal home, the scene was reassuringly familiar. I relaxed. Mr Powell even smiled for the first time and then, having corrected only the grammar, said: ‘Very good. Thank you for coming along.’ I left his house much endeared to him.
In the early 1980s, I moved to Hampstead in North-West London, where Michael and Jill Foot were my neighbours, and like me besotted dog owners. We formed a close friendship to the extent that I came to regard the Foots as secondary parents.
Jill was an exceptional cook and endearingly hospitable both to young journalists and to her husband’s favourite political colleagues.
Thus to my great amusement I learned the Powells were frequent supper guests. Scholarship clearly took precedence over political views. And while Michael disagreed with Enoch on immigration, he never, ever believed Enoch was a racist.
How my mother, who had so often been ridiculed for her twin support of Enoch Powell and Michael Foot, would have enjoyed knowing there was nothing foolish in her choice of heroes.
I have one final memory of Enoch. Shortly after I’d made the transition to television as the presenter of the BBC’s Points Of View, I dipped my toe into the world of TV current affairs.
My chance came with Southern Television, which invited me to present a programme of a similar format to today’s Question Time. It appeared once a week in different venues along the South-East coast.
The series coincided with the First Gulf War of 1990. Enoch had ceased to be an MP. But he was still a very good booking. It was a coup to have him as a guest on the first programme. Another on the panel of four was the Daily Mail’s Ann Leslie.
Before the start, I wandered into the makeshift make-up room to say my hellos and found them deep in conversation. Not that I could understand a word. They were speaking Swahili to each other. I left them to it.
For a relative newcomer to television, ahead of me was the tricky task of conducting proceedings from the middle of the audience with a handheld microphone. The show was live. There was much to deal with. There was much that could go wrong.
On the way to the stage, I whispered to Enoch that I remembered him saying he always made it a point to perform on a half-full bladder to keep him on his mettle. ‘I’ve taken your advice,’ I hissed, ‘I’m petrified.’
The programme began and, to my relief, we got through the first question. Then from the middle of the audience, I caught Enoch — out of sight of the viewers at home — smiling, and to my utter astonishment he gave me a ‘thumbs up’. It was charming. An adorable gesture I’ve never forgotten.
Yes, Enoch was a controversial figure. His language in the 1968 speech was ill judged. To come to a satisfactory verdict on any of his pronouncements, you need to read the small print.
Enoch’s intellectual force, and his pig-headedness, meant he failed to make allowances for the fact that many people would not do so.
But to ascribe racist motives to a politician simply because he used language which, for many of his listeners was normal, is sloppy logic. Enoch deserves better. My mother was right. He was a worthy hero.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.