A Century Ago Protestants Were Just as Pessimistic

A Century Ago Protestants Were Just as Pessimistic August 11, 2015

I recently blogged for Eerdmans about the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. I found that fundamentalists would not have been as surprised as we about the recent change of attitudes about homosexuality:

While finishing up my book on H. L. Mencken for the Eerdmans Library of Religious Biography series, I came across this description of America in the 1920s — the decade of Mencken’s greatest fame and influence — from George Marsden’s history of fundamentalism:

The fundamentalists’ most alarming experience was that of finding themselves living in a culture that by the 1920s was openly turning away from God. “Christendom,” remarked H. L. Mencken in 1924, “may be defined briefly as that part of the world in which, if any man stands up in public and solemnly swears that he is a Christian, all his auditors will laugh.”

The Christian saints among America’s Greatest Generation may pine for the 1950s as a time when decency and order prevailed, when the churches bulged, and when the nation was firmly under God. Their children, the Baby Boomers, might have a different perspective on “Leave-It-to-Beaver” America. But which Christian generation today after Obergefell v. Hodges — from the Greatest to Millennials — would think that the United States lost its Christian moorings in the 1920s?

The Greatest Generation’s parents — that’s who.

Those interested may find the rest of the post here.


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