the fastest-growing religious choice is “None,” up from 8 percent to 15 percent

What’s been revealing about watching conservatives debate their fate since their Election Day Waterloo is how, the occasional Frum excepted, so many of them don’t want to confront the obsolescence of culture wars as a political crutch. They’d rather, like Cantor, just change the subject — much as they avoid talking about Bush and avoid reckoning with the doomed demographics of the G.O.P.’s old white male base. To recognize all these failings would be to confront why a once-national party can now be tucked into the Bible Belt.

The religious right is even more in denial than the Republicans. When Obama nominated Kathleen Sebelius, the Roman Catholic Kansas governor who supports abortion rights, as his secretary of health and human services, Tony Perkins, the leader of the Family Research Council, became nearly as apoplectic as the other Tony Perkins playing Norman Bates. “If Republicans won’t take a stand now, when will they?” the godly Perkins thundered online. But Congressional Republicans ignored him, sending out (at most) tepid press releases of complaint, much as they did in response to Obama’s stem-cell order. The two antiabortion Kansas Republicans in the Senate, Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both endorsed Sebelius.

Perkins is now praying that economic failure will be a stimulus for his family-values business. “As the economy goes downward,” he has theorized, “I think people are going to be driven to religion.” Wrong again. The latest American Religious Identification Survey, published last week, found that most faiths have lost ground since 1990 and that the fastest-growing religious choice is “None,” up from 8 percent to 15 percent (which makes it larger than all denominations except Roman Catholics and Baptists). Another highly regarded poll, the General Social Survey, had an even more startling finding in its preliminary 2008 data released this month: Twice as many Americans have a “great deal” of confidence in the scientific community as do in organized religion. How the almighty has fallen: organized religion is in a dead heat with banks and financial institutions on the confidence scale.

This, too, is a replay of the Great Depression. “One might have expected that in such a crisis great numbers of these people would have turned to the consolations of and inspirations of religion,” wrote Frederick Lewis Allen in “Since Yesterday,” his history of the 1930s published in 1940. But that did not happen: “The long slow retreat of the churches into less and less significance in the life of the country, and even in the lives of the majority of their members, continued almost unabated.”

The new American faith, Allen wrote, was the “secular religion of social consciousness.” It took the form of campaigns for economic and social justice — as exemplified by the New Deal and those movements that challenged it from both the left and the right. It’s too early in our crisis and too early in the new administration to know whether this decade will so closely replicate the 1930s, but so far Obama has far more moral authority than any religious leader in America with the possible exception of his sometime ally, the Rev. Rick Warren.

Tags: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/opinion/15rich.html?em

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Maybe people simply move away from religion when their economical prayers aren't answered.
Our economy has grown tremendously since 1990. Much of that growth was liquid wealth, but it was growth nonetheless. Our economy has only been in a downward spiral for less than 2 years. Also, I see more comparison between our current crisis and the fall of the soviet union than between our current crisis and the great depression. There are many things different however. Many factors give us an advantage in this day in age. Like how the world is much more globalized and the US controls the international reserve currency.

There probably are many correlations between economy and religion. I am afraid that I agree with Perkins, its honestly just an opinion though. His theory is not a new one, and it doesn't mean that we cannot fight against it as well. I believe we need stronger cultural icons. If you think about it, its going to be an uphill fight for atheists in our failing economy.
from Ron Pauls latest speach.

But household debt was finally eliminated after World War II. But our government did something else after World War II. They cut spending by two-thirds and they cut taxes by one-third and then there was growth in the consumer demands, and then the depression finally ended.

So that is what was available to us in 1989 when the Cold War ended, when the Soviet system collapsed. Not because we had a lot of nuclear weapons, not because we attacked them and they had lost a military battle. What did they do? They did exactly what Mises predicted they would do. They would fail for economic reasons because it was a flawed system. Then, of course, they overextended themselves overseas and guess where? They went and over extended themselves in a place called Afghanistan.

And of course, that ended their empire. Fifteen of their satellite countries were broken up. What an opportunity we had and still do. We have so many weapons. We probably could defend ourselves for the next 100 years with six submarines. You know, we have so much nuclear power that if anybody touched us, we are a very powerful nation. The only thing that threatens us is internally and our financial system and our moral fiber. That’s what threatens us.

We had everything. We went on a rampage. We continue to spend and build up weapons. They have been working… I don’t know how many years, it might have been a couple of decades… on this F-22. And if you study that you can’t believe, well I imagine you could believe, how many cost overruns there were, how many cover-ups there have been, and how little need there is.

You know, we can put people on the moon, and then they’re worried about how many planes we can fly around. We build aircraft carriers and all these surface vessels to defend ourselves, when if we really got into a war, these things are sitting ducks out there. But you know, you got to keep the conservative Keynesians going because they say it’s good for jobs. And all you have to do is talk about cutting something. Then you go into a town that builds the airplane or builds the ship… The Conservatives can be just as Keynesian as the Liberals are because it’s job making, because they don’t believe and understand that freedom really works, and we wouldn’t have to have the government stimulus like this. We need to just get the government out of our way.

It’s a shame that we haven’t learnt from our own history and it’s a shame that we don’t learn from other’s history. Sometimes we look back at ancient history and try to learn from it but, you know, the Soviet failure is not all that ancient and yet where are we? We’re in Afghanistan.

So, we’ve had a recent election, and I think that fellow that won the Republican nomination, I can’t remember his name, he was construed as the war candidate, and the other guy was the peace candidate because he’s said, “I’m going to bring all the troops home in 16 months from Iraq”. Well, that’s good and he sounds better and he has peaceful sayings and he looks like he would negotiate and talk and have a more sensible foreign policy. Not quite the foreign policy I would like to see. I would like to see a constitutional, non-interventionist foreign policy and bring all the troops home from Korea and Japan and Europe and the Middle East.

http://www.ronpaul.com/2009-03-29/ron-pauls-speech-in-st-louis-miss...

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