A recent poll found of the non-Christians among us or those who may consider themselves Christian but rarely attend church have a very negative view of Christians. 78% say that Christians are too sheltered, 85% view them as hypocritical, 91% think religious people hate gays, and 75% say Christians are too political.
The 2010 book, American Grace, concluded that partisan politics was directly to blame for the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans. The writers, Cambell and Merritt argue "The growth of the nones is a direct reaction to the intermingling of religion and politics in the United States." And. "As American Evangelicals have become more partisan, American Christianity has suffered as more shy away from the faith."
Check out this months Atlantic for more on this, and how the Catholic right and other religious right groups are moving to box in the new "liberal Pope". I have a business associate who is an extreme Catholic, I tell him how much I like the Pope, he says he does too, but then proceeds to say that I and even most Catholics don't understand him, he is not changing anything, he is not going to change anything, he can't change anything because it is God's law and the Pope has no authority to change the Church's direction. It is easy to see, he does not like the new Pope at all, not harsh enough, he even says the Pope needs more PR people to clarify the message. What he cannot see is that this Pope could return the Church to how Jesus spent his life, fighting wealth, power and injustice.