- - Tuesday, January 17, 2012


The subject line of the email from my daughter read, “I shudder.”

The text said only, “You won’t believe this,” and included a link to a video that my 14-year-old freshman, Amy, wanted me to see.

The video that prompted her concern was an episode of “Teens React,” a YouTube series from Fine Brothers Productions, the award-winning creators of the Web-based “Kids React” series.

The premise of the “React” videos is to show young viewers a clip of news or entertainment while videotaping their reactions to what they see. Then, producers conduct short interviews to dig deeper about the viewers’ opinions.

Amy promised that there was a column in this particular episode, and she knows we columnists take help where we can find it, so I clicked to see what caused her such a visceral response.

The video was “Teens React to Rick Perry’s Strong,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s December Internet advertisement in which he decried the waning faith of our nation, warned about an encroaching gay agenda and said he wants to be president, in part, to end Barack Obama’s “war on religion.”

For those who follow politics, the content of Mr. Perry’s video was unsurprising. He is a conservative Christian, and the views he articulated were consistent with those of roughly half the nation who identify as conservatives, as well.

Yet to the teens reacting to his ad, Mr. Perry was positively villainous.

That the youths in the “Teens React” video were overwhelmingly liberal probably should go without saying. (In the end, they unanimously opposed Mr. Perry and said his advertisement should have been taken off YouTube because it was likely to be perceived as offensive.)

What’s more troubling was the teens’ reaction to the very idea of religion itself and its place in society. The notion that people of faith might feel our nation’s religious heritage is under attack struck the teens as absurd, at best.

Yet this is likely a reflection of the “religionless” theology of our youngest generation. Youths think it’s cool to have faith - even to be strongly Christian - but somehow “religion” now defines for them what is wrong.

Last week, a video epitomizing this view took YouTube by storm. Titled, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” the spoken-word poem by Jefferson Bethke has been viewed more than 13 million times since it was posted on Jan. 10. Here is a sample:

What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?

What if I told you voting Republican really wasn’t His mission?

Story Continues →