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Religious Right on the Defensive

So The Guardian had some good news this weekend:

The exact number of faithless is unclear. One study by the Pew Research Centre puts them at about 12% of the population, but another by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford puts that figure at around 20%.

Most experts agree that the number of secular Americans has probably doubled in the past three decades – growing especially fast among the young. It is thought to be the fastest-growing major “religious” demographic in the country.

So that is along the lines of an earlier post I had. Nothing really new year, but a later comment I found interesting:

Yet there is little doubt that religious groups still wield enormous influence in US politics and public life, especially through the rightwing of the Republican party. Groups such as Focus on the Family are well-funded and skilful lobbyists.

Kosmin said the attention paid by politicians and the media to religious groups was not necessarily a sign of strength. “When religion was doing well, it did not need to go into politics. Secularity of our population and culture is obviously growing and so religion is on the defensive,” he said.

I’m not sure I fully agree with that last comment. I first noted how the GOP was being taken over by the religious right during the Contract with America. I certainly think religion was doing well at that time, but wanted to do better. President Reagan was smart enough to lead from the center so none of the far right did as well as they might have hoped under Reagan. I put the rise of secularism in the USA on two things.

First is the Internet, I’ll let Thunderf00t sum up that argument:

Second, I think people see the bat-shit crazy things that religion has done with politics during W Bush and there is a backlash going on. However the Internet is allowing that wave to continue to grow with strength and that’s why religion is losing the part of the population that is the most Internet savvy.

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  1. October 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

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