The New York Times reports that both Kate Kelly and John Dehlin are being called for a disciplinary council. While their aims and methods are vastly different, both are politically more liberal than the majority of church members, and both are proponents of women’s rights and acceptance of homosexuals.
From Robert D. Putnam’s book American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us about the political polarization in religion since the 1990s:
“During the 1990s Americans of all ages became increasingly uneasy about mixing religion and politics. It is not surprising that younger Americans, still forming religious attachments, translated that uneasiness into a rejection of religion entirely. This group of young people came of age when “religion” was identified publicly with the Religious Right, and exactly at the time when the leaders of that movement put homosexuality and gay marriage at the top of their agenda. And yet this is the very generation in which the new tolerance of homosexuality has grown most rapidly. . . .
Instead the new nones* reported that “they became unaffiliated, at least in part, because they think of religious people as hypocritical, judgmental or insincere. Large numbers also say they became unaffiliated because they think that religious organizations focus too much on rules and not enough on spirituality. It is also unsurprising that the increasing opposition to religious influence in politics and government . . . is heavily concentrated among the new nones.”
- Are Kate and John cannon fodder for the left in the culture wars?
- Will the church come to regret this move?
- Is this local laity operating at their own discretion (despite the widely publicized support of local leaders for both John and Kate) or the church’s senior leadership taking action?
- What will the consequences be to the church and to those who agree with John and Kate’s views generally?
* “nones” are those who claim belief in God, but do not officially affiliate with any one faith. This is the fastest growing demographic in the American religious scene.