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Nuns vs. “Nones”: God on the Decline in the U.S.

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You know how religious conservatives are always nattering on about how America is turning into a society of godless heathens? Turns out, they’re right. The new American Religious Identification Survey shows that Americans identifying themselves as belonging to a religious group is down across the board, with self-identified Christians down 11% in the last 18 years. The change is the greatest in the Northeast and the West, but in all 50 states, Americans saying they have no particular religion are on the rise.

According to today’s release of the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), “despite growth and immigration that has added nearly 50 million adults to the U.S. population, almost all religious denominations have lost ground since the first ARIS survey in 1990,” reports USA Today.

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• A whopping 15 percent of those surveyed (up from 1990’s 8 percent) claim no religion at all, making people who don’t subscribe to any formal organized religion the largest category behind Catholics and Baptists. Concludes the report: “The challenge to Christianity … does not come from other religions but from a rejection of all forms of organized religion.”

• Meanwhile, Baptists’ numbers are in decline. In 1990, 19.3 percent of respondents identified as Baptist; the 2008 survey found just 15 percent. “Mainline Protestant denominations, once socially dominant, have seen sharp declines: The percentage of Methodists, for example, dropped from 8% to 5%.”

• American Jews are dwindling. In 1990 just 1.8 percent ticked this box; in 2008, that figure slide to 1.2 percent. The Muslim population, while slim, has doubled — from 0.3 percent in 1990 to 0.6 percent today. “Analysts within both groups [Jews and Muslims] suggest those numbers understate the groups’ populations.”

And as for the Catholics:

Catholic strongholds in New England and the Midwest have faded as immigrants, retirees and young job-seekers have moved to the Sun Belt. While bishops from the Midwest to Massachusetts close down or consolidate historic parishes, those in the South are scrambling to serve increasing numbers of worshipers. [...]

Anger and dismay over the clergy sexual abuse scandal, which erupted in Boston in 2002, may be reflected in declining rates of Catholics across New England. But the total percentage of Catholics in the USA declined only slightly from 1990 to 2008, from 26.2% to 25.1%. Analysts say immigration and other demographic shifts account for most of the changes.

“It’s not that everyone in New England lost their Catholic faith since 1990. It’s not the same people in New England,” says sociologist Mary Gautier, senior researcher at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, the research arm of the Catholic Church in America.

Membership in New England’s Catholic churches is shrinking as older Catholics have died or moved to sunnier climates. Young adults are choosing non-Catholic partners, having civil weddings and skipping baptism for their babies. And those moving in to areas served by the churches are young adults who often find their communities of work and friendship online, not in parish halls.

Read Queerty‘s analysis on how this shift in New England affects gay rights.

By:           Japhy Grant
On:           Mar 9, 2009
Tagged: , ,
  • 60 Comments
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      This is great news America! Welcome (eventually) to the rest of the industrialised & civilised West.

      Just a few more percentage points to go and you’ll be at Western European levels of (dis) belief.

      Put those sky pixies in the garden along with the gnomes and garden windmills!

      Mar 9, 2009 at 11:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      I saw this article earlier and it is very encouraging and confirms what many have believed to be true without much data since the government does not collect this data according to the article.

      Glad to be living in the land of the “heathens” in the Northeast!

      Mar 9, 2009 at 11:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sioraiocht
      sioraiocht

      Hey, I’m not a godless heathen! I’m a godful heathen! Seriously, my religion is non-Christian (I’m a Celtic reconstructionist) and we have MANY gods.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 11:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      @sioraiocht – I don’t know how to ask this without offending you, I don’t mean to as I am genuinely curious, but that is a joke right? There is actually Celtic Neopaganism?

      Mar 9, 2009 at 11:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      Sebbe

      it depend on what phase of the mother goddess’ Moon’s cycles we’re in at any one time!

      (it’s as bullshitty as any religion!)

      Mar 9, 2009 at 11:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sioraiocht
      sioraiocht

      @Sebbe: Well, there is Celtic Neopaganism, but no, that isn’t my religion.

      Reconstructist religions are separate from the neo* movements, mostly.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 11:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      @Japhy Grant – Nice change of graphic for the post. LMFAO

      “Jesus Christ – Eternally Refreshing” – The scary thing is that I suppose this was made in all seriousness and not as a joke. Oh well, made me laugh. LOL

      Mar 9, 2009 at 11:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onefish
      onefish

      @Tallskin and others,

      People like to have a monolithic and easily identifiable enemy, and for gays, that means religion. It’s too bad, because religious people are very diverse, and much of our support comes from religious organizations. Furthermore gay activism (at least here in Canada where we had gay marriage 6 years ago) is often motivated by religious faith. I know I will be shouted down, but I don’t want anyone to think gays are unanimous in disdaining religion.

      We ask for acceptance and we are not even tolerant ourselves.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      This is how the most active homophobic cults line up at this time.

      The roman cult is reeling. They’ll pay out about out about $3 billion for aiding and abetting the rape of thousands of children, most quite young. The southern baptists are not growing and the same is true for most other prot cults.

      As these cults bobble unhealthily at the surface gulping for air piranhas like the pentecostals, mormons and evangelicals are growing at their expense by eating them alive. Ewe. These cultists live in very unhealthy seas.

      What that means is that some of our enemies are getting a little smaller and some are getting a little larger. But none of them are going away and they’re still powerful and still our worst enemy.

      This is how the most active homophobic cults line up at this time.

      The roman cult is reeling. They’ll pay out about out about $3 billion for aiding and abetting the rape of thousands of children, most quite young. The southern baptists are not growing and the same is true for most other prot cults.

      As these cults bobble unhealthily at the surface gulping for air piranhas like the pentecostals, mormons and evangelicals are growing at their expense by eating them alive. Ewe. These cultists live in very unhealthy seas.

      What that means is that some of our enemies are getting a little smaller and some are getting a little larger. But none of them are going away and they’re still powerful and still our worst enemy.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 11:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      I am always very glad to hear about the downfall of religion because it is very evil. The good news in the long run is that a way is then made for Christianity to take root and thrive. Let’s hope that the next “generation” of Christians learn from the centuries of mistakes made by the real and the apostate church, not just on the GLBT front, but on the environmental front, the materialism front, the poverty front and so on.

      @Onefish: I agree with you about the tolerance is. It is often not religion that is hated but rather the person. What I become really angry about is not that people disagree with what I believe but that they assume I do not think critically, when they have never engaged me and when they do jump randomly around the Bible claiming a few verses represents a full picture. The religious right has taught them well.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eugene
      Eugene

      I am always very glad to hear about the downfall of religion because it is very evil. The good news in the long run is that a way is then made for Christianity to take root and thrive. Let’s hope that the next “generation” of Christians learn from the centuries of mistakes made by the real and the apostate church, not just on the GLBT front, but on the environmental front, the materialism front, the poverty front and so on.

      @Onefish: I agree with you about the tolerance issue. It is often not religion that is hated but rather the person. What I become really angry about is not that people disagree with what I believe but that they assume I do not think critically, when they have never engaged me and when they jump randomly around the Bible claiming a few verses represents a full picture or a complete argument. The religious right has taught them well.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 12:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darth Paul
      Darth Paul

      @sioraiocht: I understand. I need many gods, and that would qualify as ‘heathen.’

      Mar 9, 2009 at 1:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darth Paul
      Darth Paul

      And Tallskin/Storm Saxon needs to come correct. UK is plenty into their god. Their freakin head of state (whether ceremonial or not) is the leader of their NATIONAL CHURCH.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @onefish:
      No argument from me. I am agnostic, also Canadian, and I agree with you entirely.
      But yes, you should get your flak jacket on because this site seems to have a running firefight on the issue of religion.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 1:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      Darth Paul.

      Have you taken your medication today, cos as usual your gibberings makes no sense??

      what the hell does having the queen as head of the church have to do with the fact that no-one in the UK goes to church???

      Your usual impeccable illogic.

      Oh, and what does “And Tallskin/Storm Saxon needs to come correct.” actually mean?

      Mar 9, 2009 at 1:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      I wouldn’t get too excited about this – many people went to Church in the past for many reasons other than religious fervor. For example, prior to the government getting (much more) involved in social services, (after the Great Depression) the only game in town was the local church and/or fraternals such as the Knights of Columbus insurance which was for disability or death.

      What seems to be the deciding factor is how mobilized and dedicated the core group is so as to sway the masses – and this is true for begnign or evil purposes.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 2:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      What I meant to say is maybe people are just recently comfortable in admitting to pollsters they don’t really care about religion.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • notice
      notice

      religious groups need to realize that many of their archaic beliefs and their position on certain key issues, like GLBT rights and the environment and acceptance of others, are driving people away. It’s time they realized that doing God’s work ( if you believe in any sort of higher power) doesn’t involve hatred and exclusion but helping and loving others.
      I know it is not going to happen but you gotta dream.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 3:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BrianZ
      BrianZ

      I think it’s a shame that religion in the USA has come to be defined in the popular culture as vehicles of hate and discrimination. I think it’s a _damned_ shame that it is a largely deserved and self-inflicted problem. While they may appeal to the masses need to persecute others (funny thing for Christians in particular when you think about it in a historical frame a reference) that well of ill-feelings will eventually run dry. I am hoping that is what we are observing now. Organized religion need not be the pariah it’s been turned in to, by their own deeds.

      It seems to me that religion is similar to politics. Just as our country seems to pendulum from liberalism to conservatism, so too our religions pendulum between inclusiveness and divisiveness.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 5:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RainaWeather
      RainaWeather

      The nones are 15%, this is good news.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 7:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phoenix (The Anarchist Left-Wing Nancy-Boy One)
      Phoenix (The Anarchist Left-Wing Nancy-Boy One)

      This isn’t new. They had a previous study that more and more people were “un-churched”…it also stated they were not turned off god, they were turned off organized religion and it’s narrow-minded bigotry.

      Mar 9, 2009 at 9:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AggieKat
      AggieKat

      I’m very glad to hear this…for a long time I’ve felt out of place because of my lack of organized religion. Just when I hear the stories…that’s all I hear. Stories of a civilization that was just looking to explain the unexplainable.

      I’m tired of the judgmental religious right. This is fantastic news.

      Mar 10, 2009 at 3:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blake
      blake

      Tallskin,

      You’re wrong about religion in Europe. While the rates of people involved in the Christian faiths may be declining the opposite is true of people joining or belong to Islam.

      Also, reducing people’s religious beliefs into “sky pixies” is an intolerant form of bigotry. Not all religions call upon oppression of others. By trafficking in the same kind intolerance as those who would condemn you for being gay, you lose your own moral authority.

      Why not respect people’s choices to choose their belief systems as long as that belief system does not oppress others who believe in something else? If you worship atheism to the exclusion of other philosophies and discriminate accordingly, you are bad as any narrow-minded religious person. Stalinists and Maoists killed plenty in their quest to stop religion. Right? Catholics and protestants killed hundreds of thousands of each others. Shias and Sunnis killed thousands of each other.

      Tolerance. Tolerance. Tolerance.

      Separation of Church & State.

      Mar 10, 2009 at 8:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kurt
      Kurt

      The collapse of mainline Protestantism (Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ), which is mostly what the survey shows, is a serious concern. It is likely some of these denominations might cease to exist in any meaningful way in a generation or two.

      Mar 10, 2009 at 9:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Blake – while I agree with your general sentiments, and I do think Tallskin is being less than respectful, I do know where he’s going. If the Bible or any other religious book does turn out to be just another collection of fairy tales and we have no proof that God exists, can people who believe be truly rational? I say I believe myself and then I think of the horror of Nazism, etc, the disease process in human beings etc. and wonder how a loving God can tolerate such.

      Mar 10, 2009 at 10:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mad Professah
      Mad Professah

      If 15% are willing to say that they have “No religion” why can’t they say that they are atheist or agnostic?

      This is great news though….Notice also the percentage who get married and have no religious ceremony is up 55%

      Mar 10, 2009 at 11:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Melchisedek
      Melchisedek

      @Jaroslaw: Of course there is no proof for God, nor can there be. In the Judeo-Christian construct a relationship with God is based upon faith. Whether or not that is rational depends upon how you define the term. Every system of thought begins with certain premises that are accepted as foundational, but not every system of thought can establish scientific proof for those accepted premises. Even the scientific method, founded largely on empiricism, stresses the importance of the five senses and personal experience to the acquisition of knowledge. If every scientist was a true empiricist, science would never progress because every scientist would have to recereate every experiment in order to validate the acquired knowledge. Scientists accept by faith that the work of their predecessors is valid. On the basis of this faith they are then able to go beyond what has already been discovered. So logic demonstrates that faith does have a rational basis. But people who claim to be rational are not always logical. Nor is it logical to conclude that there is no God simply because of a lack of demonstrable scientfic proof.

      Mar 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      @Kurt: Yea!

      Mar 10, 2009 at 4:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rob Moore
      Rob Moore

      @onefish: I don’t think I am intolerant of believers in religion. I do get annoyed and snarly when a believer decides to save my soul whether I am interested or not. I might be gay, but that has nothing to do with my lack of belief in gods, heavens, or hells. I came out as a nonbeliever when I was 12. I discovered boys when I was 13. I count a very spiritually inclined man as my oldest friend spanning decades, but too many hardcore religionists control government in this state. They keep trying to override science teaching with the fairy tale of creationism. They ignore any scientific facts that contradict their biblical beliefs. Hell, if they were Muslims, we would call them the Taleban. I would have been hanged or beheaded in middle school if they had had their druthers.

      Religion like sex is a private matter. I don’t really want to know about someone’s religion just as they don’t want to know about my love life (or lack thereof).

      Mar 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rob Moore
      Rob Moore

      @blake: I don’t know how one worships atheism. It seems like an oxymoron. As for Stalin and Mao, their mindset is not so very different from religious nutjobs who think people not like them are not worthy of life or respect. Establish a theocracy and what will you have? Reeducation camps, gulags, pogroms, and persecutions. Fundmentalism in any belief system is identical whether it is Christianity, Islam, Ultra-orthodox Judaism, Hindu fundamentalism, Communism, Fascism, fascism’s meaner sibling Naziism, or Shinto as an expression of the Samurai bushido. Look at the behaviour and you see the mindset. Gods are simply optional ways of defining evil paranoia.

      Mar 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DanyBoy
      DanyBoy

      I’m a Catholic, bisexual, married man who truly feels that the Church is going to soften it’s stance towards gays. We’ve already gone from “go straight to hell” to “love the sinner, not the sin”, to “well, let’s just see what happens.” The Church will have to realize that adults wanting to be in loving relationships is not a sin. It’s really serial promiscuity, hetero AND homo/bi, that’s the sin. An endless string of sex partners, as fun as that might be, wont help a person become a mature, sexual adult. Mature, adult relationships that can incorporate physical, emotional, and spiritual elements without harm is really the goal. Sure, some people can be totally centered with a gaggle of penises/tongues/fingers, etc plugged into various, hungry, orifices, but the vast majority of humans just are that sexually mature. Give it time, though.

      Mar 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dan
      Dan

      Adherence to a religion may be down by 11% since 1990, but a large majority of US citizens still adhere to some form of organized religion. I think what may be happening is that, as evangelicals portray their own intolerance as synonymous with Christianity, intolerant Christians are increasingly identifying as evangelical, while tolerant Christians are having difficuly even seeing themselves as Christian. Thus, Christianity becomes smaller, while evangelicals make up a growing number of those who are left.

      Some Christians believe that they have to oppose gay rights or they’re somehow not believers. It will still be easier to convince them that love and acceptance are consistent with Christianity that to get them to leave their faith altogether. Fundamental beliefs are very difficult to change. The notion that the Bible condemns homosexuality is crumbling as books like Dirt, Greed and Sex by Countryman and What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality by Helminiak become more numerous and known.

      On the other hand, the majority of Jewish Americans – even orthodox and conservative Jews – support gay rights. This is also true of several Christian denominations. (Incidentally, Mormons at some 75 percent are much more likely than evangelicals to oppose gay rights.) So, it’s really not fair or accurate to lump all organized religious people together and portray them as intolerant, any more than all LGBT people should be negatively portrayed.

      Mar 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • emmy
      emmy

      To add to the above discussion, what will happen to charitable programs that provide outreach and support for the vulnerable?

      (I found the link to this story below within the Queerty archives.)

      http://www.queerty.com/anti-prop-8-vandals-strike-a-gay-friendly-church-20090105/

      Mar 10, 2009 at 10:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      It’s really pretty simple. Most organized churches are actually “for profit” businesses. They enjoy tax breaks, but the vast majority of them do nothing to benefit anyone other than their own clergy. When I see the preacher living in a 4000 sq. ft. house on an acre of land, driving a brand new Cadillac, wearing thousand-dollar suits, and gold jewelry so heavy he has to have a wheeled cart for the ring, something is just wrong. When that same preacher turns away a homeless family, saying they cannot even sleep in the church building overnight after loosing their apartment, something is very wrong.

      The reason many Americans do not support those churches is simple: They have seen corruption and greed, and they refuse to continue supporting it.

      Mar 11, 2009 at 7:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Yes, and here’s why – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvjGIkl2yDY&eurl

      Mar 11, 2009 at 12:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Steve: Fair comment, and certainly accurate when it comes to many churches. But there are plenty that have unpaid clergy and count on volunteers to do a lot of good work.
      A lot of churches don’t fit in your Snidely Whiplash analogy.

      Mar 11, 2009 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      @Bill Perdue: Hey Bill,

      Excellent video.

      Checked your frying pan (God’s cell phone) lately for any “messages” or “images”?

      Mar 12, 2009 at 2:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      @Steve:

      I’m with you, Steve.

      Nor, do I think your comments are a Snidely Whiplash analogy. The truth sometimes hurts. ;-)

      I am certain that there are a lot of unpaid, volunteer, Klu Klux Klansman who do a lot of good work.

      When they are not in their white hoods and rubes, burning crosses on people’s front lawns, that is.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 2:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      @Steve: Don’t worry too much about Strumpie, he regularly bombards us ex cathedra advising us to temper our criticism of the frauds and criminals called pastors, rabbis, priests and imams. Without a shred of evidence he claims they do good works hoping we’ll take it on ‘faith’. I haven’t seen him leap to the defense of islamist and judaic hypocrisy and injustices so I’m guessing that in spite of his self-deluded agnosticism at heart he’s just another christer.

      Actually there is a way to compel cults to do good works. It begins by totally eliminate all tax cuts on their vast income from donations from the deluded to exemptions of clerical housing (especially archiepiscopal and televangelist palaces) federal faith based bribes and their real estate and stock holdings. On top of being taxed they should be forced to pay federally appointed secular auditors to end the shameful and ubiquitous skimming of donations.

      Then tax them at the same rate as other entertainment companies whose product is fantasy like Disney and DreamWorks.

      And in certain cases, such as catholic clerics, protestant pastors and fundamentalist mormon men with a penchant for rape, their wealth should be confiscated without compensation to compensate their victims. Finally they should be forced to pay their employees fair union level wages and benefits and jailed if they discriminate against employees in hiring and firing.

      @Charles J. Mueller: Hi Charles. That video’s been been all over the internet. I waited a couple of days to see if Queerty was going to use it, but they didn’t so that was the first of several times I’m going to use it.

      And here’s a blast from the past.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 6:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Bill Perdue – you’ve often said interesting things and give food for thought, but you really are just wanting to hear yourself talk on this post. “without a shred of evidence?” Come on. You’ve never heard of unwed mothers’ homes, church related nursing homes, food ministries to the poor, homeless shelters? I’ve been involved in all of those things through a church and except for nursing homes, there was no charge for any of it. I wrapped Christmas gifts (with others of course) for poor families last year one entire Saturday, all donated. The gifts filled up three pick up trucks. Do SOME churches abuse things, charge too much? Of course – maybe it is news to you but this is a HUGE country, the world is a pretty big place. It would be unrealistic to think any human insitution is 100% perfect.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 7:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      and before you start to rant, I’m totally in favor of jailing pedophile priests etc.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 7:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      @Jaroslaw: All those things should be done with out daily doses of imposed superstition by secular and government agencies. There are kind-hearted if misled people involved in some cults, but their ‘clients’ could use a break from cult prapaganda and get better treatment in secular surroundings.

      The solution is to tax the cults fairly and use the money for useful purposes.

      I’ve worked with food banks and etc. and lots of religious people are involved and they’re a big help but constitutional guarantees for adequate income, housing, nutrition and socialized medicine and an end to tax exemptions would be better. That’s the socialist approach.

      In the town I live in the food banks have a waiting list of thousands. Nutrition should be guaranteed.

      I’m glad you’re in favor of jailing priests who rape children. That’s a step forward. Hopefully you include most bishops and archbishops who are accomplices and accessories to the rapists.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 8:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      @Bill Perdue: Hi Bill,

      Thanks for the blast from the past. I remember him well, like all the other holy-rollers of his time.

      I am with you, 100% on your suggestions. These people have had a free pass for fr too long. The government and the Church is not subsidizing our life style. Why should we be subsidizing theirs? I, for one, am sick and tired of them slopping at the public trough.

      I especially loved your comment about taxing religions at the same rate as other entertainment companies whose products is fantasy like Disney and DreamWorks.

      allelujah, brother.

      In fact, I am surprised that Old Walt never thought to file for a tax exemption naming Donald Duck as the savior and Hortense Duck as the Virgin Mother.

      Huey, Louie and Dewey would be the holy trinity and the Pope would be none other than Scrooge McDuck because of his immense wealth.

      Heaven, of course, would be an eternal pass to Disney World/Land, depending on which coast you died on. Those at the exact midway point, would go to limbo until DuckGod determined which one he should go to and Hell would be Six Flags.

      And while we are on the topic of taxing the SOBs, I don’t recall if I mentioned it to you or not, but I submitted a formal request to the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service sometime last year about investigating and revoking the tax shelter of the Mormons. This was the important part of their reply.

      Dear Sir or Madam:

      Thank you for the information you submitted regarding The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. The Internal Revenue Service has an ongoing examination program to ensure the the exempt organizations comply with the applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. The information you submitted will be considered in this program.

      Etc., etc., etc.

      Renee B. Wells
      Acting Director, EO Examinations

      I finally got a reply from them.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 8:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Whether I agree or not with the socialist approach of course you realize that is your opinion and many others would disagree.

      For the record, I’m aware of the proseltyzing of some, but believe it or not the Catholic churches I did these things with never did it. In fact, when I was younger and less mature, I was actually kind of surprised that non catholics and non members could request help at the weekly St. Vincent DePaul “sessions.”

      I have worked for 23 years in the social services area and while many many things are lacking food is not one of them, at least here in Michigan. I can tell you many stories – a friend of mine lived in the same neighborhood all her life. One of the local churches was giving away free food, mostly cheese. You couldn’t even walk across the street there were so many people rushing over there to get it. My friend new at least half of the people and said NONE of them needed food. It was free, so they got it. Waiting lists for free food mean nothing unless they’re backed up by income verification. I also have delivered baskets that our office collected money for at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter etc. Many times we would get to the house, and this person or family already had several baskets – they signed up at every agency they could find.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 8:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      “unwed mothers’ homes”

      Ah yes. The Infamous Magdalene Laundry in Dublin comes to mind.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/08/08/sunday/main567365.shtml

      There are, of course, many more such horror stories about the Church’s good deeds, but I do not wish to curdle the coffee in everone’s stomach before the day has barely started.

      For those inquiring minds who need to know, Internet searches will reveal a wealth of impartial, non-church propagated information on such issues.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 8:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      @Jaroslaw:

      ” …they signed up at every agency they could find.” That may have something to do with the fact that people need to eat after the holidays too.

      I worked with folks from St. Vinnies too. They’re not as bad those sucmwads at the Salvation Army. But what’s your point.

      The fact remains that with over 4,000,000 people fired in the first few months of the current depression things like medical care, nutrition, mass unemployment, mass homelessness and emergancy child care are not problems charities can even begin to think about solving. Their solution requires massive government intervention on the level as his handouts to the looter rich and Obama won’t to that. That’s where the socialism part kicks in.

      So, are you in favor of arresting all those bishops and archbishops and demanding extradition of the ones who fled to Vatican City where, for some unknown reason, the age of consent for boys is 12 years old, the lowest in the world.

      Well now, isn’t that just precious?

      Mar 12, 2009 at 8:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      @Charles J. Mueller: For gawd’s sake man don’t you realize that worshipping Disney characters is heresy against the holy writ of the One True Church of Mericah. Don’t be cruel, as the Savior said.

      We who wear the blue suede shoes of confirmed Elves know that Elvis loves us tender and loves us true. Here in Graceland Temple in Holy Tupelo we’re all shook up, our hands quake and our knees are weak. Contemplating He Am Who Am Elvis, oh, oh, yeah, yeah , our hips gyrate till we can’t stand on our own two feet.

      We’ll forgive your heathen outburst this time Charles, but if you continue down that heretical path, Donald Duck indeed!, I may not be able to control the Elvites. You could end up having a date with BillyJoe under the Tallahatchie Bridge. While I pride my self on being liberal, the other Elves don’t take kindly to heretics.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 9:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      @Bill Perdue:

      ROTF and LMAO

      Mar 12, 2009 at 9:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      @Bill Perdue:

      I have always been of the opinion that having “faith” is akin to sticking one’s head in a meat-grinder in the belief that it will not get ground-up into hamburger meat.

      Sadly, those of faith whose heads have been put through the religious meat-grinder, seem to possess little more than hamburger meat for brains.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 9:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blake
      blake

      @Jaroslaw:

      Nazism was not about the Bible. Many Nazis were atheists. Others tried to recreate religions around the Norse gods. While the Nazis murdered Jews, they also killed gays, black/biracial Germans, Gypsies, and others deemed genetically inferior.

      Humans can dump religion but they will quickly find another philosophy that will allow for oppression and murder. The Soviets and Cuban governments were officially atheist states but they not only discriminated against gays but also imprisoned them and committed other crimes against other people. Stalin killed tens of millions and persecuted others mercilessly. The Khmer Rouge killed hundreds of thousands with no need to use religion as an excuse to murder and terrify the Cambodian population.

      The perpetrators of the Guatemalan, Argentine and Chilean Dirty Wars also committed horrific crimes against humanity, those crimes were not based in the Bible. The leaders of South Africa and other European colonialists killed and oppressed millions. The leaders of the Yugoslav/Central European conflicts that began after the fall of the Soviet Empire slaughtered hundreds of thousands. Religion was a partial element but it was secondary to other causes.

      Blaming religion for the ills of humanity rings false when there are so many other examples of why people commit horrific acts against each other for an orchestra’s worth of sounds.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 9:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Bill Perdue – “they signed up” yes, people need to eat after the holidays, but these were people already receiving food stamps, WIC and everything else. There may be problems where you are, but you cannot invalidate my experiences. I know what happened, I was there, you were not.

      Charles Mueller – re: unwed mother’s homes – we are speaking of the United States.

      And for you both, don’t act like it is ONLY churches who do wrong, governments have done plenty – nuclear testing, Japanese interment camps of WWI (and seizure of property, homes, businesses) involuntary sterilization of mentally ill at mental hospitals, do I REALLY need to go on?

      Blake – re-read my post. I clearly said I wonder how God tolerates such human suffering.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 10:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Re: post 46 “what’s your point” read post 39 Without a shred of evidence he claims they do good works hoping we’ll take it on ‘faith’.

      That is what I was addressing Bill, not whether or not socialism is the answer nor whether or not churches and charity can solve all the problems we have. That is a completely different discussion.

      Are you reading these posts, not comprehending or what?

      Mar 12, 2009 at 11:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller

      @Jaroslaw:

      The Church does not limit it’s horrors to the United States. It’s a global condition with it headquarters at the Vatican in Italy. Why should we be limited in describing their bad deeds only as they occur in America?

      You wrote: “And for you both, don’t act like it is ONLY churches who do wrong, governments have done plenty – nuclear testing, Japanese interment camps of WWI (and seizure of property, homes, businesses) involuntary sterilization of mentally ill at mental hospitals, do I REALLY need to go on?”

      Absolutely no need to go on. The actions of our government speak loudly enough on their own. We all know that evil requires no religious motivation to be perpetrated on innocent human beings.

      But just because that veil already exists, does not make the evils that religion add to an already miserable situation on this planet any more palatable.

      That sort of rationale smacks of the childish rhetoric “Well, if Jimmy is doing it, why can’t I?” It merely justifies the evil doing of a group of people who claim to be do-gooders while screwing the hell out of so many innocent people like we gays.

      If we can agree that athiests and non-believers are as violent and criminalistic but no more so than religious believers, which has been documents by independant studies, then we it would be safe to say tht we might see a possible 50% reduction in the amount of evil deeds perpetrated on the entire planet, not just the USA.

      And that would definitely not be a bad thing.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 11:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Landon Bryce
      Landon Bryce

      To be a Catholic today today is to be an advocate for child rape. It is an inexcusable evil. I have no idea how Catholic people look at the atrocities perpetuated by their church, including their attempt to murder as many sexually abused children possible in Brazil by excommunicating doctors for performing a life-saving abortion on a nine year girl impregnated with twins by her stepfather. The Vatican defended their excommunication, the excommunication of the girl’s mother, and the lack of action church action against the child-raping stepfather. This, of course, is designed to keep powerless women and children beneath the feet of patriarchy at all costs.

      Catholics are truly the scum of the earth. And that it is not bigotry. If you put religious opinion above the health and welfare of children, your religious opinions cannot be respected by moral people. They are immoral. All Catholics are immoral.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Charles – I was speaking for myself, responding to Bill – and I was relating my own experiences.

      You’re absolutely right the various churches do things globally, I’m not disputing that.

      I was not engaging in childish rhetoric either (nowhere was I suggesting if Jimmy can do it why can’t I?) – Bill put forth the idea the government is the answer while portraying the church as all evil and doing no good works. I was trying to point out the government has done plenty of evil also and we may simply be exchanging one set of problems for another. It is however, very convenient to see everything in black & white ignoring there at least may be shades of grey.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 11:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      @Jaroslaw:

      “but these were people already receiving food stamps, WIC and everything else” You act as if that’s a bad thing. Not me, I call it good planning. What I said is the ‘good works’ of the christers often come with a price and they aren’t a spit in the ocean now that we’re nearing a depression.

      And what I mean by socialism is not a bigger DC (shudder), its taking back all the uberrich have looted from us and using it to feed, house and provide healthcare for everyone.

      I don’t think there’s much point in arguing about this. We have different agendas. I speak to what I think is important not what you think is important. I don’t approve of cults at all, whether they’re bad or really bad. I want to eliminate their influence and confiscate their schools and social service agencies while taxing them till they drop because they’re the chief enemy of GLBT people. You may disagree.

      Mar 12, 2009 at 6:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Charles J. Mueller:
      You misunderstand me Charles. I think his comparison is accurate and I agree with it. I only lapsed into caricature because (as I have said once or twice) I don’t think it applies to every religion – not even every Christian church.

      Mar 13, 2009 at 2:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. Mueller
      Charles J. Mueller [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @strumpetwindsock:

      Of course.

      I realized that your comment was tongue-in-cheek, which was why I put a winking smiley after my comment to Steve.

      Mar 13, 2009 at 3:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock
      strumpetwindsock

      @Charles J. Mueller: Ah.. missed that. Got it.

      Mar 13, 2009 at 3:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Devlin
      Devlin

      Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. All the rest is just useless drama.

      Mar 18, 2009 at 11:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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