So I caught a few minutes of Fox News a couple of weekends ago and one of their pretty, young, blonde anchors was doing the obligatory “liberals are trying to kill Christmas” stories and this bright, young woman informed her viewers that more than 90% of the country is Christian. Hearing that certainly put the whole debate into its proper perspective. With almost the entire population of our country made up of Christians, it really doesn’t seem fair that a small minority of us secularists are trying to restrict God from our public sphere and government entities. I guess we should all just suck it up and deal. It seems we should be okay with our children being taught intelligent design in school, taking an oath to God as well as our country and embrace the Ten Commandments as the replacement for the Constitution in the dispensing of justice in our courts. Except for the fact that Fox News lies.
I did a little research of my own and surprise, surprise, it turns out that “more than 90%” is a bit of a stretch. According to The American Religious Identification Survey of 2001, although 79.8% of respondents self-identified as Christian, 40% of those that considered themselves religious did not identify with any organized Church. Also interesting is that the percentage of Christians, dropped 8.5% since 1990. It seems that Christian influence in government may be growing, but their ranks are shrinking.
The other important consideration is that religiosity is geographical as well. The percentage of regular churchgoers is much higher in the Bible Belt than anywhere else in the country, and Western states have the highest percentage of people who consider themselves non-religious.
While the religious right is using Fox News and other MSM outlets to sell the idea that Christianity is on the rise and that most Christians want more religion in government, the facts don’t bear that out. Self-identification as a Christian does not automatically translate into support for the Religious Right and the Republican Party. Consider that the African American community has the highest percentage of those who consider religion a “very important part” of their lives, and we know from polling data that their religiosity does not translate into support for Republican candidates. Also interesting is the connection between intellect and religious beliefs.
While many of the studies conducted in this country measuring the connection between IQ and religious beliefs are considered controversial, there is no denying that they often come to the same conclusion, the more educated a person is, the less likely he/she is to be religious. And not at all surprising is that the highest percentage of atheists and agnostics are found in the scientific community. An interesting study was released a few weeks ago that rated the top ten most literate cities in the country and Seattle was at the top of the list. It is also true that Washington State leads the country in percentage of people who consider themselves “non-religious.” Coincidence? Unlikely.
The Religious Right is driven by the Fundamentalists, who are a minority themselves among Christians, and while Fundamentalists tend to support the Republican Party, not all Evangelicals do. It is estimated that 40% of the US population consider themselves Evangelical, and of that group, approximately one-third supported Al Gore in 2000. Fundamentalists take a literal view of the Bible and they have been folded into the Republican Party with the help of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. The MSM had a field day after the 2004 election, selling America on the idea that Bush won the election because the country had moved to the right and Evangelicals were the deciding factor. More accurately it was the literally “unbelievable” vote tallies in Ohio and Florida that won the election for Bush, facilitated by Fundamentalists, not Evangelicals.
The Fundamentalists are God’s soldiers who believe the ends justify the means and that a Christian Nation is what God demands before he will come back and rescue them. The fact that anyone believes in the Rapture is disturbing, but the fact that our President may be one himself, sends a chill up the collective spine of secularists everywhere. With all of his talk of “Crusades” in the Middle-East and his divine belief that he is on a mission from God to bring Democracy to the world, let’s hope that the Fundamentalists are right and the Rapture is soon at hand and God will take them away, leaving the rest of us behind. Bring on the Rapture! Bon Voyage!