Irreligious Millennials

By Bill Maher

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows the strongest support yet for gay marriage – 58 percent in favor. Ten years ago, around 60 percent of Americans were opposed to gay marriage; today, that’s completely flipped. Just a week ago, Pope Francis expressed being open to civil unions. When even the Pope is saying, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!,” safe to say it’s game/set/match.

Add this to the Attorney General in Kentucky refusing to defend the state’s gay marriage ban, a judge in Texas throwing it out, and Arizona’s Tea Party governor vetoing the law meant to protect religious liberty – which grinded momentum for similar laws in other states to a halt – and clearly, there’s been quite a sea change.

It’s conventional wisdom now that the main reason the gay rights movement has advanced so quickly is because young people are pro-gay, but what doesn’t get as much attention is that so many are also irreligious. In some ways, this is a bigger deal. It’s one of the reasons laws like the one in Arizona went down. Before Millennials could vote, you could use the Bible as an excuse for any kind of bigotry. Now, not so much. “Religious intolerance” doesn’t sound any better to this increasingly important voting bloc (now aged 18 to 33) than simple “intolerance.” To a whole bunch, it sounds worse.

America over the past decade has become more pro-gay, yes, but it’s also become less pro-religion. A new Pew survey of Millennials shows that 58 percent are still “absolutely certain” God exists, but that’s an enormous drop from the 73 percent of Baby Boomers and 69 percent of Gen Xers who are. Twenty-eight percent are not certain, and 11 percent are flat out atheists, about double the number for the previous generation (X).

Moreover, only 49 percent of Millennials say they’re patriotic, a big drop off from the 64 percent of Gen Xers and 75 percent of Baby Boomers who say they are. It would be nice to finally sever that silly link between religiosity and patriotism, wouldn’t it?

Conservatives used to want to make elections about God, gays, and guns. Soon, all they’ll have is guns.