04/04/07 - religion in america

In today's excerpt - religion in America:

"[T]he United States has a superabundance of denominations and sects compared to Europe, as well as a far higher ratio of churchgoers. By one count, the United States in 1996 had 19 separate Presbyterian denominations, 32 Lutheran, 36 Methodist, 37 Episcopal or Anglican, 60 Baptist and 241 Pentecostal. Globalization and immigration have added to the proliferation in surprising ways. In A New Religious America (2001), Diana Eck pointed out that Muslims in America outnumber Presbyterians and Episcopalians, and that Los Angeles is the most varietal Buddhist city in the world. Each Sunday, the Los Angeles Times publishes a directory of services that includes more than six hundred denominations. ...

"By careful synthesis of polling results, we can affirm that 'about one in four Americans (or 25 percent) are now affiliated with a church from the network of conservative Protestant churches (that is fundamentalist, evangelical, holiness or Pentecostal). Not quite one in six (around 15 percent) are affiliated with the older denominations that used to be called the Protestant mainline.' Still, the conservative ratio may be understated by leaving out America's million Mormons and million Jehovah's Witnesses, and perhaps by pegging Pentecostals at a cautious ten million adults rather than in the sometimes suggested twenty million range. ...

"The Roman Catholic Church claims some sixty million members, but only half are frequent churchgoers. The sharp decline from 1965 to 1990 in church ability to recruit priests, nuns and seminarians in the United States has been charted from the Official Catholic Directory by Stark and Finke. From 10.6 enrollments in seminaries for every ten thousand U.S. Catholics in 1965, the number plummeted to 1.1 in 1990."


Kevin Phillips


American Theocracy: The Peril and politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century


Penguin Group


Copyright Kevin Phillips 2006


105, 119-120
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