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Bill O’Reilly blames rap music for the constant decline in Christianity and tells that youth generation is selfish today.

Over the past few months, the Pew forum have released several studies that have made notes of the decline to religion. The most recent of these studies drew the conclusion that the problem is due to millennials, however Bill O’Reilly announced on The O’Reilly Factor that the rap industry is the real culprit. He made his announcement on his Wednesday May 13 segment, noting the 2007 to 2014 decline in Christianity in America from 78.4% to 70.6%. With complete disregard to the positive influence of the up-and-coming hip-hop artists, O’Reilly denounced rap, claiming that it “glorifies depraved behavior” which “sinks into the minds of some young people, the group that is most likely to reject religion.” He added that the youth generation today is selfishly driven, thinking “what is good for me is good, period.”

Reverend Tony Lee disagrees, feeling that O’Reilly’s claims are not only flawed but “troubling.” He serves as the senior pastor for the Community of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church. After noting that the only music mentioned is rap, he says “we need to be very careful about some of the coded language in that, because in many ways that is kind of using black culture as a scapegoat for the decline of Christianity.” It isn’t uncommon for hip-hop and rap to receive the blame for a wide range of problems, and Lee says that “people will blame hip-hop for everything.” For example, Lecrae is a Christian, mainstream rapper who involves his faith deeply.

“For me,” Lecrae said, “my faith dictates everything I do, so no matter what I’m saying in my art, my faith is the drive for that.” He urges people to realize and understand that as they listen. “It’s distinct. My worldview bleeds through my music.” Reverend Lee agrees, and feels that Lecrae can “share the gospel past the confines of the church” in a language that is relatable to the younger generation. He says that O’Reilly wants to focus on the depravity, rather than noticing the real implications of the report and the challenges faced by the church today. He says, “Millennials are not finding their place within church because the boomer generation is continuing to express the gospel in a language that is theirs.”

Lecrae isn’t the only rapper making his faith known. Killer Mike has encouraged youths find positive role models, and Game spends his time performing random acts of kindness and charitable activities, such as the time he bought happy meals for all the kids in Ferguson following the Brown memorial. Rapper Bun B also teaches a religion and hip hop class at Rice University. Rev. Lee says “there is a much larger context of scapegoating hip-hop” and we need to find a better way to “reach back out to the younger generation.”

Monday O’Reilly was again in the news after accusations of domestic violence against his wife began circulating.

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