Sunday, February 26, 2012

The kids are all right

Rick Santorum famously declared that President Obama's desire to send more young people to college is part of an evil plot to make them lose their religion.

There's a slight problem with his solution, though. The study that most closely matches his claim (“62 percent of kids who enter college with some sort of faith commitment leave without it.”) also says that even more of those who don't go to college lose their faith.:
A study published 2007 in the journal Social Forces — which PBS reports that Santorum’s claim is based on, although his spokesman didn’t respond to TPM’s request for confirmation — finds that Americans who don’t go to college experience a steeper decline in their religiosity than those who do.

“Contrary to our own and others’ expectations, however, young adults who never enrolled in college are presently the least religious young Americans,” the journal concluded, noting that “64 percent of those currently enrolled in a traditional four-year institution have curbed their attendance habits. Yet, 76 percent of those who never enrolled in college report a decline in religious service attendance.”

The problem, I think, is one that some other religious people - like Fred Clark at Slackivist point out with some regularity.

People like Santorum have tied two or three factors to "Christianity" so closely that if you don't agree with them, you aren't really Christian, according to them. You have to be against civil (or any) rights for gays, against abortion, and - for Santorum, at any rate - against birth control. If you aren't, they shun and abominate you. By their definition you have lost your faith, whatever you may believe about Jesus, or charity, or love, or heaven.

Their real problem is that the younger generation is in total disagreement with them about several issues. But they're the ones labeling that "loss of faith".

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