Government Shutdown May Drive More Young Christians from GOP


How does one deem a government worker “non-essential”? It’s difficult to say, but 800,000 of them were sent home last week. The ripples of the government shutdown are far-reaching, affecting everything from the national parks to the IRS. Even the Centers for Disease Control, the agency tasked with detecting and investigating disease outbreaks, was forced to drastically reduce its workforce and has ceased to monitor flu outbreaks.

But in the face of so much chaos and calamity, the non-essential workers who are racking up IOUs may not be paying the greatest price.

According to recent polls, more Americans blame the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. On this one, it seems the public got it right. Senator Ted Cruz has reached celebrity status among Republicans for leading the charge and the party’s leaders are beside themselves with glee.

“We’re very excited,” House Republican and former presidential contender Michelle Bachmann told The Washington Post. “It’s exactly what we wanted and we got it.”

But the shutdown may be a classic case of getting what you want and then not wanting what you get. The polls indicate that the stalemate may further alienate Hispanic voters from the GOP, but the effects may be more deleterious than that. It may repel young Christians who have struggled to connect with Republicans in the way many of their parents did.

“Big-hearted youngsters looking to ‘do unto others’ won’t find their calling in today’s rancorous politics,” Matt Lewis stated in a column for The Week titled, “The GOP is losing young Christians.” 

He’s right.

As Lewis argues, the name of the game in Washington these days is mockery and relentless “eye for an eye” partisanship, things that repulse young Christians. There was a time when conservative Christians would have rushed headlong into the fray, fighting the culture wars with everyone else. But some of them — particularly the younger ones —seem to be taking a different approach.


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