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Protestants losing majority status

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  • Tamara
    Protestants are close to losing majority status By Peter Smith The Louisville Courier-Journal Wednesday, July 21, 2004 One by one, the demographic groups
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 21, 2004
      Protestants are close to losing majority status
      By Peter Smith
      The Louisville Courier-Journal
      Wednesday, July 21, 2004

      One by one, the demographic groups represented in the term "WASP" are losing their privileged place in American society.

      With the white, English-speaking majority expected to dip toward 50 percent by mid-century, and with Anglo-Saxons already a minority ethnic group, a new study now says Protestants are losing their status as America's religious majority.

      A University of Chicago study says the proportion of Americans identifying themselves as Protestants tumbled from 63 percent in 1993 to 52 percent in 2002, with an especially strong decline among younger generations.

      The gainers, according to the survey, are people with no religion (up from 9 to 14 percent), Catholics (up from 23 percent to 26 percent) and members of other religions (up from 3 percent to 7 percent).

      Although Protestants remain a solid majority in Kentucky and Indiana, "We are ceasing to be a Protestant nation," said Bob Cueni, president of Lexington Theological Seminary and a Protestant minister.

      "One way to read this is (that) we are in a culture war and it would seem that Protestantism is losing the war," he said, emphasizing that a better way is to accept "one another in this ... increasingly diverse world."

      The study, conducted by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, said the number of Protestants may dip below 50 percent by 2005, if it hasn't already.

      The survey counts as Protestants all members of Christian movements that arose after the 16th century Protestant Reformation, including Baptists, Methodists and groups such as Mormons that have many theological differences with other Protestants.

      Survey director Tom Smith acknowledged that some Protestants surveyed may have listed themselves only as "Christian" or "non-denominational," so they were counted in the "other" religion category.

      But even if all such Christians were included, the Protestant number would be 56 percent � lower than 10 years ago, according to the report.

      Other studies have cited a rise in people who identify themselves with no religion, but Smith said the report shows "that many of these people are former Protestants."

      Seventy-four percent of Kentuckians identified themselves as Protestant in a Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll in May. In an Indianapolis Star poll last month, 78 percent of Hoosiers identified themselves in Protestant or other non-Catholic Christian groups.

      And much of the South remains strongly Protestant, said Roy Fuller, an adjunct professor of religious studies at Indiana University Southeast.

      "We don't talk about a Bible Belt with no justification," he said.

      But the number of Protestants has long been dwindling elsewhere. The Northeast has long been heavily Roman Catholic, while in some Western states, surveys report that 20 percent or more of citizens identify themselves with no religion.

      The University of Chicago study showed Protestants are already a minority among younger generations, with only 45 percent of those born in the 1970s, compared with more than 60 percent among those born before 1950.

      "The trend doesn't necessarily look reversible any time soon," Fuller said.

      Jack Marcum, a researcher at the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), added that Protestants have a lower birth rate than other groups.

      Immigration, particularly among Hispanics, is boosting the Catholic population, he noted.

      "It's not just that Mexican-Americans tend to be Catholic, but they tend to have larger families," Marcum said.

      Protestants have been the majority religious group in the United States since the nation's beginning and ranged from rich to poor. But the acronym "WASP" � white Anglo-Saxon Protestant � was a byword for privileged access to top schools, professions and country clubs.

      All but one U.S. president has been Protestant, and until recent decades, Protestants had greater access to top schools, professions and social clubs than Catholics, Jews and other religious minorities.

      "We've still got an elite," Fuller said, though the "privilege is not as much as it once was. It certainly is not as acceptable as it once was."

      Click here to view story.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • scott foster
      Don t you love it when newspapers report the obvious? I grew up in the Bible Belt , rural south, we were called WASPS , and yes, we were in the majority.
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 21, 2004
        Don't you love it when newspapers report the obvious? I grew up in the "Bible Belt", rural south, we were called "WASPS", and yes, we were in the majority. Of course, white, anglo saxon, protestants were the majority of those living in the area since our families came to the Americas in the 1600's.

        Am I suprised there are fewer of us a a statistical part of the United States? No, oouor recent immigration policies, birth rates, social fabric, and other changes have almost guranteed that this socio/demographic group will eventually become a minority.

        Those whose business it is to follow these trends see so surprise whatsoever in this report, only that the paper should devote so much space to stating the obvious.

        scott

        Tamara <Legal_writer@...> wrote:
        Protestants are close to losing majority status
        By Peter Smith
        The Louisville Courier-Journal
        Wednesday, July 21, 2004

        One by one, the demographic groups represented in the term "WASP" are losing their privileged place in American society.

        With the white, English-speaking majority expected to dip toward 50 percent by mid-century, and with Anglo-Saxons already a minority ethnic group, a new study now says Protestants are losing their status as America's religious majority.

        A University of Chicago study says the proportion of Americans identifying themselves as Protestants tumbled from 63 percent in 1993 to 52 percent in 2002, with an especially strong decline among younger generations.

        The gainers, according to the survey, are people with no religion (up from 9 to 14 percent), Catholics (up from 23 percent to 26 percent) and members of other religions (up from 3 percent to 7 percent).

        Although Protestants remain a solid majority in Kentucky and Indiana, "We are ceasing to be a Protestant nation," said Bob Cueni, president of Lexington Theological Seminary and a Protestant minister.

        "One way to read this is (that) we are in a culture war and it would seem that Protestantism is losing the war," he said, emphasizing that a better way is to accept "one another in this ... increasingly diverse world."

        The study, conducted by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, said the number of Protestants may dip below 50 percent by 2005, if it hasn't already.

        The survey counts as Protestants all members of Christian movements that arose after the 16th century Protestant Reformation, including Baptists, Methodists and groups such as Mormons that have many theological differences with other Protestants.

        Survey director Tom Smith acknowledged that some Protestants surveyed may have listed themselves only as "Christian" or "non-denominational," so they were counted in the "other" religion category.

        But even if all such Christians were included, the Protestant number would be 56 percent � lower than 10 years ago, according to the report.

        Other studies have cited a rise in people who identify themselves with no religion, but Smith said the report shows "that many of these people are former Protestants."

        Seventy-four percent of Kentuckians identified themselves as Protestant in a Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll in May. In an Indianapolis Star poll last month, 78 percent of Hoosiers identified themselves in Protestant or other non-Catholic Christian groups.

        And much of the South remains strongly Protestant, said Roy Fuller, an adjunct professor of religious studies at Indiana University Southeast.

        "We don't talk about a Bible Belt with no justification," he said.

        But the number of Protestants has long been dwindling elsewhere. The Northeast has long been heavily Roman Catholic, while in some Western states, surveys report that 20 percent or more of citizens identify themselves with no religion.

        The University of Chicago study showed Protestants are already a minority among younger generations, with only 45 percent of those born in the 1970s, compared with more than 60 percent among those born before 1950.

        "The trend doesn't necessarily look reversible any time soon," Fuller said.

        Jack Marcum, a researcher at the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), added that Protestants have a lower birth rate than other groups.

        Immigration, particularly among Hispanics, is boosting the Catholic population, he noted.

        "It's not just that Mexican-Americans tend to be Catholic, but they tend to have larger families," Marcum said.

        Protestants have been the majority religious group in the United States since the nation's beginning and ranged from rich to poor. But the acronym "WASP" � white Anglo-Saxon Protestant � was a byword for privileged access to top schools, professions and country clubs.

        All but one U.S. president has been Protestant, and until recent decades, Protestants had greater access to top schools, professions and social clubs than Catholics, Jews and other religious minorities.

        "We've still got an elite," Fuller said, though the "privilege is not as much as it once was. It certainly is not as acceptable as it once was."

        Click here to view story.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




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      • cassondrawrites@aol.com
        Statistics are so often useless for the purposes to which they are put. Perhaps one of the most frequent errors people make - even people who ought to know
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 21, 2004
          Statistics are so often useless for the purposes to which they are put.
          Perhaps one of the most frequent errors people make - even people who ought to
          know better, like journalists - is confusing correlation and cause in reading
          these statistics. I don't even know what the point of such a report is but to
          stir people up. As Scott says, the information itself is self-evident. From a
          religious point of view, it is plain that the "Protestants" are not succeeding
          in making their case, but I am sure that all religious-minded Protestants are
          already aware of that. From a national perspective, the issue is not what
          what color or what religion people practice, but rather how well they can
          function in our society and uphold the values which we have established through
          centuries of both law and bloodshed. I like the idea of America as a place to
          welcome all peoples who are willing to work hard and pursue their dreams and care
          for their families, but I am not so keen on people coming to America to
          profit from the hard work and prosperity of others while still trying to resist any
          contribution to the communities here, refusing to learn the language and
          trying to impose their culture on ours rather than adding their colors to our
          quilt.

          Cassondra


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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