Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Slipping fast toward a godless nation

Culture, Religion, United States

Give Me That Ole Time Religion

The Washington Post reported yesterday on a new survey of Americans' religious affiliation. Among the highlights: "The percentage of Americans who call themselves Christians has dropped dramatically over the past two decades," and "The only group that grew in every U.S. state since the 2001 survey was people saying they had 'no' religion." It sounded like bad news for faith--until we looked more closely at the numbers. This survey has now been done three times--in 1990, 2001, and 2008, but the decline in people identifying as Christian and the increase in those with "no religion" took place between 1990 and 2001. From 2001 to 2008, the percentage of Christians dropped only from 76.7% to 76.0%, and the number with no religion increased only from 14.2% to 15.0%.

Thanks to the media sensationalism, a key fact of the survey was buried. Among Christians, 44% identify themselves as "born again or evangelical," including substantial numbers of "mainline" Protestants and Roman Catholics. The report says, "These trends also suggest a movement towards more conservative beliefs and particularly to a more 'evangelical' outlook among Christians," and it calls this an "important historical trend." Meanwhile, the biggest decline among Christians is found in the more liberal "mainline" denominations, which plunged from 17.2% to only 12.9% just since 2001. The biggest drop came in two of the most liberal denominations, the Episcopalian and United Church of Christ, and it's not unreasonable to suspect that their growing embrace of homosexuality and same-sex marriage is a big part of the reason.

The Washington Post: 15 Percent of Americans Have No Religion

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