Faith beyond partisanship: the political journey of Gen Z Christians

The dome of a building is shown between waving American flags.

But on Christian campuses, first-time voters are still trying to find their own ways to engage the issues.
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, …Continue reading…