Explaining decline

June 25, 2014

After the PCUSA vote to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola, numerous commentators have been happy not only to express their own opinions but to base them on their own facts. Rod Dreher, for example, is not impressed:

The United States government is complicit in the destruction of the ancient Christian communities of Iraq. Are the Presbyterians going to divest themselves of companies that sell military equipment to the US government?

Well, yes (pdf). Actually, not so much "going to" as "have been for many years." Sorry, I know it was supposed to be a rhetorical question.

Dreher (a writer I admire) does acknowledge that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complicated. His post is really about not the Middle East but American Christianity: while "all [American] Christian churches are facing decline now," he says, it's the mainline ones that are actively bringing about their own death by going all liberal.

It's a familiar argument, especially coming from people who aren't that invested in mainline well-being in the first place. The reality is a bit less straightforward.