Friday, September 26, 2014

72% of Americans See Religion Losing Influence and 56% Think It a "Bad Thing"

Pew Research Center has found that 72% of Americans think religion is "losing influence in American life". A solid majority (56%) think this is a "bad thing".
"Nearly three-quarters of Americans (72%) now say that religion is losing influence in American life, the highest share to hold this view in Pew Research surveys going back to 2001.
"As in previous surveys, most people who say religion is losing its influence in American life see this as a negative development, with 56% of the public as a whole saying it is a 'bad thing' that religion is losing sway in the U.S."
Interesting that 9% of White mainline Protestants and 9% of Hispanic Catholics think losing influence is a good thing. Also, strange is that only 50% of Hispanic Catholics think losing influence is a bad thing. Doesn't sound like Hispanic Catholicism is either deep or growing.

(Apparently Pew Research found Black Protestants for this poll, who they missed for a previous poll. However, there are now no Hispanic Protestants or Black Catholics. What's with Pew Research?)


MAX Redline said...

That's one strange survey, though it should be apparent to anybody who's paying attention that churches are losing influence; everybody's had that whole "separation of church and state" meme rammed into them for the past couple of generations - even though there's no such thing.

The Usual Suspects have been very successful, in many instances, of fostering the illusion that permitting a religious display on public property somehow amounts to "government establishing a religion". Of course, it's no such thing; it is, rather, a reflection of the tolerance for religions that the Founders envisioned.

The very folks who proclaim themselves to be "tolerant" are generally the most intolerant of anybody in any given town.

T. D. said...

You hit the central issue, Max. Instead of an establishment of religion (choosing one over all the others) we now have an establishment of secularism. Which unfortunately means that there is no appeal to higher values than one's own personal preferences. Right and wrong at best are only based on majority vote. There are no unalienable rights. Fortunately, opinion is not the same as truth. The Founders knew that. Most of our political thinkers today don't.

MAX Redline said...

Our nation's Founders were far more tolerant - and prescient - than many give them credit for having been.

Franklin perhaps said it best in response to a query from a woman who asked what they'd been given:

A Republic, if you can keep it.

T. D. said...

Interesting, Max, that Franklin called for prayer after more than a month of meeting at the the Federal Convention sessions when they were making almost no progress.

FRNAKLIN: "In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights, to illuminate our understandings—In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and by word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war and conquest. I therefore beg leave to move—that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."

Some thought it would look bad.

"Mr. HAMILTON and several others expressed their apprehensions, that, however proper such a resolution might have been at the beginning of the Convention, it might at this late day, in the first place, bring on it some disagree—able animadversions; and in the second, lead the public to believe that the embarrassments and dissensions within the Convention had suggested this measure. It was answered, by Doctor FRANKLIN, Mr. SHERMAN, and others, that the past Omission of a duty could not justify a further omission; that the rejection of such a proposition would expose the Convention to more unpleasant animadversions than the adoption of it; and that the alarm out of doors that might be excited for the state of things within would at least be as likely to do good as ill."

MAX Redline said...

That's a great look back, TD - and thanks for sharing it!

T. D. said...

You're welcome, Max. :-)