• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Milestone for America’s Culture

Slowly, relentlessly, America’s culture is undergoing profound change.  But the transformation mostly is under the radar, hardly noticed.

A new study by the Public Religion Research Institute and Religion News Service finds that the largest faith category in the United States now is people who say their religion is “none.” Apparently, this marks the first time in U.S. history for the churchless to reach top status.

Specifically, the PRRI-RNS report says the three chief groups among all ages in 2016 are: nones, 25 percent; Catholics, 21 percent; and white evangelicals, 16 percent.

Among young adults under 30, the gap is enormous:  Nones, nearly 40 percent; Catholics, 15 percent; white evangelicals, 9 percent; white mainline Protestants, 8 percent; black Protestants, 7 percent; other nonwhite Protestants, 11 percent; and non-Christian faiths, 7 percent.

Many of the unaffiliated young adults say they simply don’t believe church dogmas.

As these younger Americans advance to middle age, the churchless segment is expected to increase. It surely will alter U.S. society.  It has snowballed rapidly, unexpectedly.  The report says:

“One of the most consequential shifts in American religion has been the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans.  This trend emerged in the early 1990s.  In 1991, only 6 percent of Americans identified their religious affiliation as ‘none.’ … By the end of the 1990s, some 14 percent of the public claimed no religious affiliation.  The rate of religious change accelerated further… reaching 20 percent by 2012.”

For senior West Virginians like me, who came of age after World War II, this secular tide is astounding.  The world of our youth has been turned upside-down.

When I was a young adult, the only Americans who mattered were WASPs (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants). They were the overwhelming majority.  Their laws and customs dominated everything. But now, they’ve dwindled to just 16 percent among those under 30, according to the PRRI-RNS figures. And they’re destined to keep shrinking as nonwhite Americans rise, the Census Bureau projects.

Politically, the situation is a mess.  The “nones” strongly hold liberal, conmpassionate, progressive, Democratic values — but they tend to avoid voting.  They shun politics as much as they shun church. The report says:

“By the last presidential election in 2012, religiously unaffiliated Americans had grown to comprise 20 percent of the public, but… comprised 12 percent of voters. By way of comparison, in 2012 white evangelical Protestants also comprised 20 percent of the public, but they accounted for more than one in four (26 percent) voters.”

While other American groups are more committed to political action, about one-fourth of “nones” aren’t even registered to vote.

“At the start of the 2016 general election season in early August,” the study says, “religiously unaffiliated voters expressed a strong preference for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump (62 percent vs. 21 percent).”

Despite their low voting rate, “nones” have become the largest segment in the Democratic Party base.  The report says:

“Among Hillary Clinton’s supporters, 7 percent are white evangelical Protestant, 12 percent are white mainline Protestant, 11 percent are white Catholic, 30 percent are religiously unaffiliated, and 15 percent are black Protestant.” (That’s only 75 percent of her backers.  Perhaps the others are supporters whose religion isn’t known.)

It’s fascinating to watch the culture evolve. It’s tantalizing to wonder where America is heading.  Keep reading the news and try to find clues about the transformation that is in progress.

More articles by:

James Haught, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is editor emeritus of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

May 25, 2020
Marshall Auerback
If the Federal Government Won’t Fund the States’ Emergency Needs, There is Another Solution
Michael Uhl
A Memory Fragment of the Vietnam War
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
Make a Resilient, Localized Food System Part of the Next Stimulus
Barrie Gilbert
The Mismanagement of Wildlife in Utah Continues to be Irrational and a National Embarrassment.
Dean Baker
The Sure Way to End Concerns About China’s “Theft” of a Vaccine: Make it Open
Thom Hartmann
The Next Death Wave from Coronavirus Will Be the Poor, Rural and White
Phil Knight
Killer Impact
Paul Cantor
Memorial Day 2020 and the Coronavirus
Gary Macfarlane – Mike Garrity
Grizzlies, Lynx, Bull Trout and Elk on the Chopping Block for Trump’s Idaho Clearcuts
Cesar Chelala
Challenges of the Evolving Coronavirus Pandemic
Luciana Tellez-Chavez
This Year’s Forest Fire Season Could Be Even Deadlier
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Beijing Acts on Hong Kong
George Wuerthner
Saving the Lionhead Wilderness
Elliot Sperber
Holy Beaver
Weekend Edition
May 22, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Hugh Iglarsh
Aiming Missiles at Viruses: a Plea for Sanity in a Time of Plague
Paul Street
How Obama Could Find Some Redemption
Marc Levy
On Meeting Bao Ninh: “These Good Men Meant as Much to Me as Yours Did to You”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Shallò: 120 Days of COVID
Joan Roelofs
Greening the Old New Deal
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Still Matters
Charles Pierson
Is the US-Saudi Alliance Headed Off a Cliff?
Robert Hunziker
10C Above Baseline
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
The Fed’s Chair and Vice Chair Got Rich at Carlyle Group, a Private Equity Fund With a String of Bankruptcies and Job Losses
Eve Ottenberg
Factory Farming on Hold
Andrew Levine
If Nancy Pelosi Is So Great, How Come Donald Trump Still Isn’t Dead in the Water?
Ishmael Reed
Alex Azar Knows About Diabetes
Joseph Natoli
Will Things Fall Apart Now or in November?
Richard D. Wolff
An Old Story Again: Capitalism vs. Health and Safety
Louis Proyect
What Stanford University and Fox News Have in Common
Pete Dolack
Work is Inevitable But its Organization is Not
David A. Schultz
America and the Rise of the Chinese Century
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Fears the Nakba: How Memory Became Palestine’s Greatest Weapon
Heather Gray – Jonathan King
Coronavirus and Other US Health Threats? Fund Public Health Not Foreign Wars
Brian Cloughley
Don’t Be Black in America
Kenn Orphan
A Pandemic and a Plague of Absurdity
Matthew Stevenson
Our Friend Eugene Schulman
Richard C. Gross
The Man Who Cried Wolf
Ron Jacobs
Road Trippin’
Robert P. Alvarez
A Simple Solution for the Coronavirus Crisis in Prisons
Aadesh Ravi
The Long March of the Locked-Down Migrants
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Proliferation of Conspiracy Theories & the Crisis of Science
Nilofar Suhrawardy
The Other Side of Covid-19
Binoy Kampmark
Battles Over Barley: Australia, China and the Tariff Wars
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump can Learn Something from Mao Zedong’s Mistakes
Nicky Reid
The New New Cold War is Pretty Much the Old New Cold War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail