Tuesday, October 09, 2012

That Pew poll is something else …

No, not the one showing Romney taking a lead over Obama after the debate. That one may, or may not, signal what we're up against for the next while.

I'm grabbed by the new Pew Poll that finds that only a minority of us are Protestant Christians. They report, modestly, that

…the Protestant share of the population has shrunk. In 2007, 53% of adults in Pew Research Center surveys described themselves as Protestants. In surveys conducted in the first half of 2012, fewer than half of American adults say they are Protestant (48%). This marks the first time in Pew Research Center surveys that the Protestant share of the population has dipped significantly below 50%.

I suspect it is the first time in the history of this nation that Protestant Christianity has been anything but numerically dominant -- at least since our Protestant forbears killed off the original inhabitants.

We're actually fairly well adjusted to this development: it is little noted that only the President is Protestant Christian among this year's contenders. Still, those of us whose ancestors arrived over a century ago can only be a little shocked by the rapid change.

Pew highlights its finding that more and more of us are "nones" -- unaffiliated with any religion. Effort was expended to figure out who they are (a growing fraction of all of us, particularly among the younger set) and what they believe. Apparently they are not so hostile to God as to religion(s) and they strike me as having some good values:

They are about twice as likely to describe themselves as political liberals than as conservatives, and solid majorities support legal abortion (72%) and same-sex marriage (73%).

They are nearly one quarter of people who call themselves Democrats.
That graphic shows a nice mix, doesn't it?

Amid all the other forms of diversity blossoming in our society, it would be a mistake not to recognize that religious variety is also increasing mightily. One of the characteristics of our time is that there are few established authorities with credibility and legitimacy across differing groups of citizens. We know and attend to different muses -- or even different Gods. No wonder political civility is so elusive: in addition to clashes of interests, our cosmological formulations diverge and divide.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

I have come to HATE polls. The questions slant them and who knows how they use the data. They influence too much. I know it's all about money and power but I really dislike them whatever they claim they reveal.

Related Posts with Thumbnails