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This is like, Article # 3,477,899 on the topic of “Point: Churches Need to Liberalize to Stop Losing Members/ Counterpoint: The Most Liberal Churches Are Losing Members Fastest.” This particular argument has been going back and forth since membership in mainline Protestant denominations started nosediving back in the 70’s; around about the time the leftists began skinning the mainline protestant churches – wearing their hides and demanding respect – come to think of it.
Buried deep in the article is an interesting data point: Not even gay people like gay-friendly churches.
Research conducted jointly at Columbia University and the University of California at Los Angeles by scholars who are not shy about supporting gay politics found that gay- and lesbian-identified people are 2.5 times more likely to attend churches that took a more conservative view on Christianity (including homosexuality) than the so-called “welcoming and affirming” congregations that celebrate it.
Well… yeah. I mean, first of all, “welcoming and affirming” churches aren’t designed so much to welcome and affirm as they are for liberals to virtue signal about how welcoming and affirming they are. But the thing is, a lot of churches have abandoned any other message other than “We welcome and affirm you no matter what you are (Also, we have daycare)” and that lesson wears thin rather quickly.
There’s nothing wrong with the message “It’s nice to be nice to people,” it’s just that if that is the only message a church has, then the church isn’t really necessary. You can get that message from almost anywhere. (Anywhere except HBO, where literally every program is about people being horrible to each other.)
Spiritually-oriented people aren’t content with a banal message of “It’s Nice to Be Nice” endlessly repeated until it becomes a tiresome weekly lecture. They want to be challenged to be better than they are. They want to have a purposeful life. And they want to have a better understanding of the Great Mysteries. It’s very counterintuitive to liberals, whose instincts are to smooth away all the rough edges, wrap everything in padding, and make everything *easier* (because they want, at all costs, to avoid badfeelz); but religious seekers want to be challenged. It’s kind of the whole point.