When I was a kid in the 80s, a politician wouldn't have said "God commanded me to run for office." The news wouldn't beg for people to pray for victims of natural disasters. Christians weren't constantly claiming their beliefs were being mocked and I don't recall all of the letter writing campaigns from them for things that they deemed offensive. When I look at things like old episodes of network TV or even Sesame Street, I'm amazed that they got away with it.
I think it's the internet. Most of the news we used to see was edited.
I grew up in the 70s and we didn't talk about religion. No one did. I grew up Catholic, went to CCD and all of that, church every Sunday and holy day of obligation, and no one talked about church or God or Jesus outside of Church or CCD, even in my own family. It wasn't even that it was private, it just wasn't worth discussing. You just did it and were a good Catholic.
It only seems we are becoming more religious. Statistically, its becoming less religious. The number of people who claim to be atheists, or have no religious affiliation increases every year. This is causing the Bible humppers to become more outspoken because they see the writing on the wall.
Parts of the country are becoming more religious, especially the South, Great Plains, and inner mountain West. The Pacific and Northeast have become more non-religious. The clash has caused many religious people to be more vocal and public about their beliefs.
It's called pandering, OP.
kill all fundies!!!!!
The country isn't getting more religious. The religious nutbags are just getting louder and more strident.
R7 is right. ANd as they get more strident politicians are more afraid of pissing them off, especially in the Bible Belt.
Also, until the 1980s, most religious people stayed out of politics. Now we have an entire national party made up mostly of self-proclaimed religious people.
Definitely getting more religious.
As the economy gets worse, more people are getting sucked into the craziness of Evangelical Christianity.
Religion has always preyed on people during bad times.
There's been plenty of polls and research that indicates less religious but as others have now pointed out, they are just louder.
No people are much less religious. The Religious Right has taken over the Repug party so they hold huge power they didn't have before. It's not about numbers - it's about money and power.
The percentage of Americans who claim to be religious is MUCH higher than in any other "advanced" nation. And THEY VOTE. They are dependable, very vocal Republican votes so politicians pander to them.
They exhibit a herd mentality that is appealing to advertisers, so the media panders to them as well.
They're also very organized and litigious so people fear offending them.
A lot of this comes from being from bumfucke and having no life/nothing to do outside of church.
[quote]And THEY VOTE.
And yet, they have nothing much to show for it.
USA = Nukes & Jesus
The Right-Wing religious nuts always get things wrong. They maybe louder but they don't have the numbers they claim.
Even conservative Christians admit church attendance is down by a lot.
[quote]Since the 1970s, the share of those who never attend religious services or attend less than once a year increased by 53 percent, while those who attend several times a year or weekly decreased by 29 and 26 percent, respectively.
though previously regarded as "fringe", the religious right was brought into the fold during the reagan years, the same time the fairness doctrine was lifted. the GOP starting pandering and including "god" to placate their gullible new religious friends, and now you have the sickening mess of large swaths of people supporting a state religion, and candidates, even liberal ones, being forced to proclaim their "faith".
it's disgusting and will only get worse once the supreme court rules 5-4 in favor of prayer in government meetings.
Certain opportunists figured out how much money there is in marketing "fundamentalist" religion to the gullible. All it requires is selling people affirmation for their fears and hatreds.
Cf. Pat Robertson, who is the living person most responsible for creating the modern US religion market:
[quote]When he was eleven, Robertson was enrolled in the preparatory McDonogh School outside Baltimore, Maryland. From 1940 until 1946 he attended The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he graduated with honors. He gained admission to Washington and Lee University, where he received a B.A. in History, graduating magna cum laude. He joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Robertson has said, "Although I worked hard at my studies, my real major centered around lovely young ladies who attended the nearby girls schools."
In 1948, the draft was reinstated and Robertson was given the option of joining the Marine Corps or being drafted into the army; he opted for the first.
In his words, "We did long, grueling marches to toughen the men, plus refresher training in firearms and bayonet combat." In the same year, he transferred to Korea, "I ended up at the headquarters command of the First Marine Division," says Robertson. "The Division was in combat in the hot and dusty, then bitterly cold portion of North Korea just above the 38th Parallel later identified as the 'Punchbowl' and 'Heartbreak Ridge.' For that service in the Korean War, the Marine Corps awarded me three battle stars for 'action against the enemy.'"
However, former Republican Congressman Paul "Pete" McCloskey, Jr., who served with Robertson in Korea, wrote a public letter which said that Robertson was actually spared combat duty when his powerful father, a U.S. Senator, intervened on his behalf, and that Robertson spent most of his time in an office in Japan. According to McCloskey, his time in the service was not in combat but as the "liquor officer" responsible for keeping the officers' clubs supplied with liquor. Robertson filed a $35 million libel suit against McCloskey in 1986. He dropped the case in 1988, before it came to trial and paid McCloskey's court costs.
Robertson was promoted to first lieutenant in 1952 upon his return to the United States. He then went on to receive a Law degree from Yale Law School in 1955. However, he didn't pass the New York bar exam, shortly thereafter underwent a religious conversion, and decided against pursuing a career in law. Instead, Robertson attended the New York Theological Seminary, where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1959.
Sound familiar at all?
r19 here. Sorry, that whole segment about Pat Robertson was a quote from Wikipedia. Here's the link.
Most of the numerical decline in religious adherence has been among the religious liberals and religious moderates. The religious decline has been a collapse in the religious liberal and mainline landscape. For many reasons, religious liberals have become non-religious or see no reason to be part of organized, committed religion. Additionally, a lot of people who once attended liberal or moderate churches have converted to more conservative religious bodies.
Cozi is running "Hopalong Cassidy" from the 50s.
At the end of episodes he tells kids to attend Sunday school.
Fridays on "Howdy Doody" the closing showed a church steeple with bell ringing. Buffalo Bob Smith told viewers to go to church.
r21, I have a friend who converted from liberal Methodism to Catholicism because "the Methodists were more intolerant and less open minded than the Catholics." Which is a load of shit. But there is a schism in the traditionally "liberal" churches where rightwing nutcases are demanding less social justice, more fire and brimstone, and more intolerant noise because that brings in more people who are inclined to go to church and give money to the church.
The Episcopal Church is being torn apart by it, and I think it's going to look a lot different once the old liberals who make up the majority of regular Episcopal churchgoers die off.
[quote]because that brings in more people who are inclined to go to church and give money to the church.
But the opposite is happening. Church attendance is down. Even the Crystal Cathedral went bankrupt.
Yeah, evangelical and Pentecostal churches are still largely growing because of the exodus of conservative-leaning Christians from mainline and liberal churches. Almost all megachurches are conservative, charismatic, evangelical, or Pentecostal.
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By Richard Yeakley
Religion News Service
While mainline Protestant churches in the U.S. continue to experience decades-long decline, the memberships of Pentecostal traditions are on the rise, according to new figures compiled by the National Council of Churches.
The Roman Catholic Church (No. 1) and the Southern Baptist Convention (No. 2) are still significantly larger than all other North American denominations, but Catholics posted minimal growth of less than 1 percent, and Southern Baptist membership fell for a third straight year, according to the 2011 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.
Produced annually by the NCC, the yearbook is considered one of the most reliable recorders of church membership. The figures in the 2011 yearbook were compiled by churches in 2009, reported to the NCC in 2010 and released Monday (Feb. 14).
Mainline Protestant churches that have seen a fall in membership since the 1970s continued their decline; the Presbyterian Church (USA) reported the greatest membership drop (2.6 percent) of the 25 largest denominations.
Other denominations reporting declines include the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church as well as the more evangelical Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
The membership declines in mainline churches led to a 1 percent decrease in total U.S. church membership, to 145.8 million.
Despite the national decline, some smaller denominations' memberships are increasing.
"Churches which have been increasing in membership in recent years continue to grow and likewise, those churches which have been declining in recent years continue to decline," writes the Rev. Eileen Lindner, the editor of the yearbook.
Pentecostal churches make up four of the 25 largest churches, and both the Assemblies of God and the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) increased in membership. Only six of the 25 largest memberships increased over the previous year.
Jehovah's Witnesses experienced the greatest growth percentage overall, gaining 4.37 percent according to the yearbook. Several historically black denominations continued a years-long practice of not submitting fresh figures.
The 10 largest Christian bodies reported in the 2011 yearbook are:
1. The Catholic Church: 68.5 million, up 0.57 percent.
2. Southern Baptist Convention: 16.1 million, down .42 percent.
3. The United Methodist Church: 7.8 million, down 1 percent.
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 6 million, up 1.42 percent.
5. The Church of God in Christ: 5.5 million, no membership updates reported.
6. National Baptist Convention, USA: 5 million, no membership updates reported.
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: 4.5 million, down 1.96 percent.
8. National Baptist Convention of America, 3.5 million, no membership updates reported.
9. Assemblies of God: 2.9 million, up .52 percent.
10. Presbyterian Church (USA): 2.7 million, down 2.61 percent.
Right r24. Which is why the marketing has gotten ever more desperate.
It seems to me the chuches that are growing fastest are decentralized so the local pastor can tailor his message to the community and does not have to worry very much about oversight. Larger, more centralized religions teach what they think the parishioners need to hear as well as what they want to hear. These independent churches are freer to market what the local audience wants.
Assemblies of God tends to a rapidly growing flock
Article by: ROSE FRENCH , Star Tribune
Updated: January 20, 2013 - 6:48 AM
The Assemblies of God is the fastest-growing religious body in Minnesota at a time when other Protestant groups are shrinking.
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Hands up and eyes closed, Ashley Ingram sways and sings along with the live band playing contemporary Christian music at River Valley Church.
The largest Assemblies of God congregation in Minnesota with close to 5,000 people, River Valley recently opened its sixth Twin Cities area campus, located near the Vikings headquarters in Eden Prairie, where Ingram and her fiancé worship on Sundays.
"It's very emotional for us," said Ingram, 23, who grew up attending traditional Lutheran services but now prefers the charismatic style at River Valley. "Especially the first couple of weeks we were here, I wasn't used to it. I would cry at every service. The teachings just touch you."
River Valley sits at the epicenter of growth in evangelical Protestant groups while the larger Catholic, Lutheran and other mainline Protestant populations slide. The Assemblies of God ranked as the fastest-growing religious body in Minnesota between 2000 and 2010, according to religious census data. The denomination gained the largest number of worshippers during that decade, increasing from 56,028 followers and 212 congregations, to 75,302 and 234.
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The Rev. Clarence St. John, district superintendent of the Assemblies of God churches in Minnesota, says the growth is part of a concerted effort to "plant" new churches. Since 1990, it has started 134 new churches throughout the state, and plans to add 70 more by 2020. Twenty more should be added this year.
"We kind of have a church-planting fever," said St. John. "I think it is our responsibility to spread the faith as much as we can. If we really think what we have in our faith is something that helps people live and prepares them for life and for eternity, then we have a responsibility to do our best."
'We're the best-kept secret'
Senior Pastor Rob Ketterling established River Valley's main campus in Apple Valley in 2000, when attendance was close to 500. That number now swells to nearly 5,000 every week, counting the new campuses in Eden Prairie and Burnsville the church started this past fall.
Ketterling attributes much of the church's steady growth to an active ministry for children that attracts young families, vibrant contemporary worship services and a pastoral approach that applies the Scriptures' significance to everyday life.
"People have said we're kind of the best-kept secret in church growth in Minnesota," Ketterling said. "We're just finally starting to get noticed."
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The church raised more than $1.5 million for ministry projects around the world, he said. It supports a campus in Spain and is preparing to open a church and orphanage in Swaziland, Africa, in February.
"They [congregants] feel like they're going on a mission to do something, that we're here to change this world, and they actually feel like they're making a difference," Ketterling said. "Our giving went up 29 percent last year at a time when most churches would have been thrilled to be flat or barely above that. To me that shows people are believing in it."
Ingram and her fiancé, Steven Claiborne, 23, started going to River Valley's Eden Prairie campus after learning about it from one of the pastors, whose children attended the day care where Ingram worked.
Besides enjoying the contemporary worship style, Ingram says the congregation has been welcoming and hasn't judged her and Claiborne for having a child out of wedlock. The couple also like the children's ministry at the church, where they bring their 16-month-old son each Sunday during worship.
"Although they encourage us to read the Bible, it's not just strictly teaching of the Bible," Ingram said. "It's taking a verse from the Bible and relating it to our life, and how we can use it in our life. So that's what I think is really cool."
A changing church scene
The Assemblies of God has seen significant growth in other states as well. It ranks as the third-fastest growing religious body in the United States, with close to 2.94 million followers, according to the census. Data for the census was collected by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies and includes statistics for 236 religious groups.
While the Catholic Church remains the largest denomination nationally and in Minnesota, its membership has dropped sharply since 2000. Minnesota had 1.15 million Catholics in 2010, down 8.7 percent from 1.26 million in 2000. The ELCA, Minnesota's second-largest denomination, saw membership dip to 737,537, a 13.6 percent decline from 853,448.
Scott Thumma, a researcher at the Hartford Institute for Religious Research in Connecticut who helped compile the data, says evangelical Protestant denominations like the Assemblies of God offer a more expressive, physical kind of worship that's dramatically different from the more traditional worship services of Catholic and mainline Protestant faiths.
The influx of Hispanics in the United States and Minnesota has also helped boost charismatic faith groups like the Assemblies of God, Thumma notes.
Sergio Aranda is senior pastor at Taller del Maestro, an Assemblies of God congregation on the East Side of St. Paul with a predominantly Hispanic membership. He said he started with about 11 followers in 2008 and now has close to 130. Minnesota's growing Hispanic population -- which numbers around 250,000, based on 2010 U.S. Census data -- has helped boost membership in the Assemblies of God and other evangelical churches in the state
The big faith groups like Catholics and ELCA Lutherans "still kind of dominate the field," said Thumma. "But these smaller groups -- all the Pentecostals together, the evangelicals, the nondenominationals -- are really filling in the gap where these larger groups traditionally very prominent are in fact losing dramatically.
"It's only a matter of time before the balance of power really changes. At the very least what it does is take something that was very homogenous ... and it's making it much more diverse. For some place like Minnesota, that's pretty dramatic."
It's not that we're getting more religious, it's the fact that the religious groups are getting louder, pushy, and are perfecting the art of headline grabbing. No doubt, they're taking lessons from the Republicans, the leading publicity experts.
They ARE the Republicans now.
Growing up in the 70s and 80s, respectable people did not talk about religion outside of church. It was considered kooky and low-class. Just think about the movie "Carrie" and how Margaret White was portrayed as a nutjob. We used to laugh at people like her. Nowadays, these religious freaks are celebrated in the south and midwest. The tide turned when Dubya was elected President. He mobilized the evangelicals and encouraged them to be vocal about their beliefs.
r32, where did you grow up, because in the South and much of the Midwest in the 70's, people definitely talked about religion publicly even back then, or especially back then.
It's just that the center of Christianity has shifted from mainline churches like Presbyterians, Methodists, and Lutherans, to evangelicals and non-denominationals such as Assemblies of God, Church of God in Christ, and Southern Baptists. Even the Roman Catholic Church has become much more conservative and evangelical-sounding as it competes with global Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement.
R33, I grew up in Texas. Most people went to church, but they weren't in your face about their religious beliefs. And the upper class absolutely did not talk about religion.
But does it really matter if they go to church? A lot of this shit is on tv now and they can absorb the hate and bigotry through other sources. Just because they answer the question "do you regularly go to church?" with a "no", they're still actively voting against us.
The American Jesus freaks are getting much more aggressive and violent in the last 10 years. It is like GW Bush boosted their confidence.
Liberal Christian has collapsed and/or is very soft-spoken.
Fundamentalism of all stripes is up around the world, because people are scared.
I blame home schooling. Religious nutcases are taking their kids out of the public school system and programming them for Jesus.
r23 She's not entirely wrong. The Catholic Church is highly intolerant, but actual every day Catholics (at least when it comes to homosexuality) are more tolerant than every day Protestant.
The Christian Left still exists, but they just aren't as aggressive as the Right. A lot of that has to do with actual religious beliefs. Jesus was a very live and let live sort of philosopher, and people who are actually concerned with following his example try to avoid confrontation.
I wouldn't say that Jesus was "live and let live" as people tend to think of the term. He definitely preached a lot about sin, eternal judgment, hell, and the necessity of believing in Him in order to know God and be saved. He preached about hell than just about anyone in the entire Bible. He just did not use force in teaching those tenets. Jesus' words are some of the most sobering in the entire Bible. He even said, ""Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." (Matt 10:34).
You gays are going to hell!
Every survey shows it's getting less religious over-all.
It's just that those who ARE religious are getting more vocal and loud.
r1 Good point. The religious extremist just have a hold on politicians hence the pandering. But most people aren't as religious as they were.
I'm just amazed to see national level journalists asking the people of Oklahoma about how their faith is getting them thro this. Not even just FOX (I still wouldn't expect it) but fucking CNN! It's crazy. This wouldn't have happened in the 80s or even 90s.
I also remember every single person back then who invited me to their church. It was 3 people in about 20 years. Now I get that shit all the time. I just say "I'm Catholic" and they usually make one more halfhearted attempt and give up but wtf?
Although the North Carolina House of Representatives killed a bill Thursday that would have paved the way for establishing an official state religion, a new national HuffPost/YouGov poll finds widespread support for doing so.
The new survey finds that 34 percent of adults would favor establishing Christianity as the official state religion in their own state, while 47 percent would oppose doing so. Thirty-two percent said that they would favor a constitutional amendment making Christianity the official religion of the United States, with 52 percent saying they were opposed.
Although a large percentage of Americans said they would favor establishing a state religion, only 11 percent said they thought the U.S. Constitution allowed states to do so. Fifty-eight percent said they didn't think it was constitutional, and 31 percent said they were not sure.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment, which (among other things) prohibits the government from establishing an official religion, also applies to the states.
Republicans were more likely than Democrats or independents to say that they would favor establishing Christianity as an official state religion, with 55 percent favoring it in their own state and 46 percent favoring a national constitutional amendment.
The relatively high level of support for establishing Christianity as a state religion may be reflective of dissatisfaction with the current balance of religion and politics. Respondents to the poll were more likely to say that the U.S. has gone too far in keeping religion and government separate than they were to say religion and government are too mixed, by a 37-29 percent margin. Only 17 percent said that the country has struck a good balance in terms of the separation of church and state.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted April 3-4 among 1,000 U.S. adults. The poll used a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling.
Results of a Gallup poll released over the weekend reveal that more than nine in 10 Americans believe in God. Ninety-two percent of Gallup’s 1,018 respondents (hailing from all 50 states) answered “yes” when asked whether they believed in God.
The pollsters noted:
Despite the many changes that have rippled through American society over the last 6 ½ decades, belief in God as measured in this direct way has remained high and relatively stable. Gallup initially used this question wording in November 1944, when 96% said “yes.” That percentage dropped to 94% in 1947, but increased to 98% in several Gallup surveys conducted in the 1950s and 1960s.
In recent decades, the pollsters have expanded the survey to also ask the question, “Do you believe in God or a universal spirit?” Given the option of a universal spirit over God — presumably understood as a Judeo-Christian, creator carer, possibly bearded and robed type figure — a number of Americans opted for the former (80 percent said they believed in God, 12 percent said they believed in a universal spirit). The survey did not probe into specific religious allegiances.
The breakdown of the poll results will come as little surprise:
Belief in God drops below 90% among younger Americans, liberals, those living in the East, those with postgraduate educations, and political independents. However, belief in God is nearly universal among Republicans and conservatives and, to a slightly lesser degree, in the South.
Gallup has not conducted the exact same survey for different countries, but we dug up some figures about religious belief in Canada and Europe to put America’s widespread belief in God in some context:
A 2003 Gallup poll, which looked into the role of religion in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada, found that when asked about the importance of religion in their own lives, 83 percent of Americans said it is either “very important” (60 percent) or “fairly important” (23 percent). Those numbers take a dive north of the border: 62 percent of Canadians said religion is very important (28 percent) or fairly important (34 percent) to them. In Great Britain, however, less than a majority — 47 percent — said that religion is important in their lives. Only 17 percent of Britons consider it very important, and 30 percent feel it is fairly important.
The most recent Eurostat Eurobarometer study by the European Commission was conducted in 2005. It found that 52 percent of European Union citizens responded that “they believe there is a God;” 27 percent said “they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force” and 18 percent said that “they do not believe there is a spirit, God, nor life force.”
The same European survey showed Turkey and Malta to be the only European countries on par with America’s figure of over 90 percent of citizens believing in God.
38 percent of British respondents to the Eurobarometer survey said they believed in God, as did 34 percent of French respondents.
Although this most recent Gallup poll shows little change in how many Americans believe in God, another poll from 2010 showed a slight decrease in the number of Americans identifying with a formal religion. In the 1950s nearly 0 percent said they did not identify with a formal religion, compared to the 16 percent in 2010 who responded that they had no religious identity.
Of the Americans who do identify with a religion, an ABC News/Beliefnet poll suggests the overwhelming majority are Christians (83 percent according to their survey, which does not line up perfectly with the Gallup poll). The ABC News poll noted that only 33 percent of the world identify as Christian.
More than three-quarters of Americans identify themselves as Christian, Gallup reports. Pollsters found that 78 percent of Americans identify with Christianity. Overall, more than 82 percent of Americans have a religious identity, with this percentage breakdown:
52.5: Protestant/other Christian
23.6: Catholic9: Mormon
2.4: Other non-Christian
2.5: No response
The findings fit the trend of an increasing percentage of Americans who do not embrace a formal religious identity.
In 1951, 1 percent of Americans did not have a religious identity, compared to 24 percent identifying as Catholic and 68 percent claiming a non-Catholic Christian faith.
Gallup found earlier this year that 92 percent of Americans say they believe in God, which suggests that a lack of religious identity is not necessarily linked to atheism.
[italic]52.5: Protestant/other Christian
2.4: Other non-Christian
2.5: No response[/italic]
You wouldn't know muslims are so few if you watched the news.
People used to "go to church" on Sundays because it was what everyone else did. Nowadays, those kind of people just wouldn't bother and would tick "non-religious" on the census. Churchy folk nowaday are way more nutso and uber-Christian than they used to be.
Nine out of ten people don't really believe in god in the sense that they wholeheartedly believe in Jehovah or Allah or some other god who looks like them. But people are superstitious, and they're afraid when they get that polling call that they'd better say yes.
The Religious cults are becoming more extreme too.