Gen Z Christians are forging a unique path at the intersection of faith and politics, diverging from traditional Christian Right issues. Cynical of partisan politics, they prioritize causes like creation care, prison reform, and immigration over traditional hot-button topics like abortion and sexuality.
Many Gen Z Christians don’t align closely with either major US political party and express trepidation about expressing their views amid heightened political polarization.
Despite skepticism toward politicians, some Gen Z individuals are passionate about politics, viewing it as a powerful means of positive change. The generation’s diverse backgrounds and experiences, along with an increased focus on gender-related issues, contribute to a nuanced and varied political landscape.
Campus ministries, such as InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, see an opportunity to support and sustain the next generation of Christian activists and voters.
Christianity Today writes:
Gen Z Christians are creating their own playbook when it comes to the intersection of faith and politics.
Whether they’re growing more cynical of partisan politics or finding hope in the power of political change, this generation sees itself branching out beyond the issues that have long driven the Christian Right.
Younger believers are quicker to name creation care, prison reform, and immigration as the political causes most influenced by their faith, rather than abortion or sexuality. But even those who seek to get involved in politics don’t align as closely with the two major parties in the US and aren’t excited at the prospects for 2024.
At Calvin University, Micah J. Watson has noticed a shift amongst college students.
“I do think there has been a weariness among Gen Z in some of the ways their parents and grandparents did politics in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s,” said Watson, associate professor and director of the politics, philosophy, and economics program. “Some of the culture war practices have been seen as problematic.”
For young Christians who have the chance to vote in their first presidential election next year, the milestone comes with trepidation, knowing the political polarization that surrounded the races in 2016 and 2020.
“Having gone through COVID and Trump and Biden elections, students have seen parents’ relationships going down the tube,” Watson said, “and there’s a fear of expressing one’s views and being canceled.”
Growing up, Rachel Smith remembers her mother adorning the family car with political bumper stickers to reflect both their party affiliation and their Christian values. But Smith, now a sophomore at Wheaton College, isn’t eager to cover her car with candidate names and slogans.
She hasn’t voted before, but, looking at the political landscape today, she doesn’t believe that just one party or person represents the principles of her faith.
“While I always saw how the Democrats were wrong—and I still think they are wrong about a lot of things—as I got older and did more research, I’ve seen how Republicans have done a lot of harm as well,” said Smith, a psychology major and cabinet member of the campus chapter of International Justice Mission. “I’ve felt closer to God in that my views are not indicated by what is important to a party, but what is important to God.”
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