Monday, April 16, 2007

Reason for Optimism

Kids are getting smarter than us, you know.

We were talking the other day about how times have changed, how teenagers today just don't see what's the big deal, why they're supposed to fear gay people. Of course there have always been differences in the generations, not just that, but lots of things.

I just came across some data from the Pew Research Center that tell a story.

They say:
There is a clear generational divide on the issue of evolution: Nearly two-thirds (63%)of Gen Nexters believe humans and other living things evolved over time, while only 33% say all living creatures have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. Gen Xers share a similar perspective, though they are slightly more open to the idea of creationism. Here the generational divide is among those under age 40 and those over age 40, with Baby Boomers and Seniors closely divided over how the world came to be. 63% - Gen Nexters Embrace Evolution

Talking more about "Generation Next," if, I guess, that's what we call "the generation that came of age in the shadow of Sept. 11" (Pew's way of putting it), we also see that 58 percent of the 18-25-year-olds believe "Homosexuality should be accepted," compared to 50 percent of the 26+ geezers, and that only 32 percent of young people think "Homosexuality should be discouraged," compared to 39 percent of the toothless 26-plus population.

More to think about:
In their political outlook, they are the most tolerant of any generation on social issues such as immigration, race and homosexuality. They are also much more likely to identify with the Democratic Party than was the preceding generation of young people, which could reshape politics in the years ahead. Yet the evidence is mixed as to whether the current generation of young Americans will be any more engaged in the nation's civic life than were young people in the past, potentially blunting their political impact.

These data are consistent with my observations of the world around me, how about you?

When people are put in a situation where they have to choose between facts and faith, in the long run facts will win out. Faith can be adapted, has to be adapted, to new realities, as the horizons of knowledge continue to expand. This doesn't seem to portend any kind of spiritual vacuum or moral deterioration, there's no sign of that, but as the human race moves forward our attitudes will require frequent, if not constant, adjustments. And that's happening.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

β€œThe arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
β€” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

April 17, 2007 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MADISON, Wis. β€” The mayor and half the city council denounced Wisconsin's new ban on gay marriage Tuesday by adding a strongly worded statement to their oath of office.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and 20 city council members elected April 3 raised their right hands and vowed to uphold the state and federal constitutions and the city charter during a midday ceremony at City Hall.

But then Cieslewicz and 10 council members signed a statement saying they took the oath under protest because the ban approved by 59 percent of voters in November "besmirches our constitution."

They vowed to work to minimize the ban's impact and overturn it in the future.

"I cannot in good conscience take office without noting my strong opposition to the recent amendment that so blatantly discriminates against my fellow Wisconsinites who are gay or lesbian," Cieslewicz said to applause after being sworn in to a second four-year term.

Gay rights groups have said they believe Madison is the first city to allow elected and appointed officials to add a statement to their oath to protest a gay marriage ban.

The optional statement drew criticism not only from conservatives who oppose gay marriage but scholars and others who said it was inappropriate to tinker with the oath of office.

Cieslewicz said he respected the statewide vote that added two sentences to the constitution declaring that marriage is between one man and one woman and that the state cannot recognize other relationships.

But he said the same process would one day be used to reverse the amendment and "give all of us exactly the same right to marry, raise a family, and be full members of our communities." The mayor is heterosexual and married.

April 18, 2007 7:08 AM  

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