Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Anti-ism wins: Protestants a Majority no Longer

The Associated Press reports that "For the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority, according to a new study. One reason: The number of Americans with no religious affiliation is on the rise."  Rachel Zoll, an AP Religion Writer reported this in her article titled Report: US Protestants lose majority status.

Karl Marx wrote that "Religion is the opiate of the masses." I wonder what the lack of a widespread religious underpinning to our society bodes for the future?

The study suggests that the Americans who say they have no religion vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. I'm not sure what to make of this except that social policies offered by democrats may offer an alternative to religion. The aims are similar--take care of those around you through social programs. But the tax implications, as we have witnessed in European countries, are huge to pay for programs and that leads to bigger government and increasing inefficiency which creates more of a tax drain on society.

Despite the lure of social "do-goodism" though, the real issue is why are more and more Americans   choosing to avoid and reject the hope offered by religion?

Could it be because the message has become blurred by high visibility fanatical policies? Has protestantism become equated with an "anti-ism" approach to significant issues without providing an alternative? I can see it. In the name of religion we have witnessed Koran burning, gay-bashing, violent anti-abortionist activities, and in-your-face "I'm right and you're going to hell" mentalities which, frankly, turn me off.

It seems, aided by the sensationalism of the news media, that protestants are anti everything. It is obfuscating the message of eternal hope and the love of God. The efforts of the majority are being overshadowed by the radical few. And now, the numbers reflect that.


We need to be less damming and more affirming and forgiving. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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