New Gallup Poll Finds That the Number of Nonreligious Americans Dropped 1.7% in One Year

If you’ve often wondered how I retain my high level of sanity as well as my lovely complexion, puzzle no more: I live in the third least religious state in the country. Plus, I’d have to drive a day or two to get to an area where a majority of people consider themselves “very religious.” (Admittedly, this cheers me like beer cheers a barfly.)

How do I know? By looking at the latest Gallup numbers, released yesterday.



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Jennifer Michael Hecht and Ron Reagan Talk Atheism in Politics on ‘Hardball’

Jennifer Michael Hecht, one of my absolute favorite writers, recently appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball, along with fellow atheist Ron Reagan, to talk about her article in Politico Magazine about atheism as “the last taboo” in American politics. Though it’s a brief segment, they took a serious look at the “poison pill” problem we all presume atheists would face in political contests, particularly in regard to the presidency.

Michael Smerconish was the guest host, and it was encouraging to hear him so eager to, as he put it, “test the hypothesis” that an avowed atheist would be effectively barred from high office in the current political climate. As Hecht says in the segment, the culture is just crawling its way out of the religious tensions associated with the Cold War (“godless communism” vs. American Judeo-Christianity) and 9/11, and that the time really has come for nonbelieving politicians to make themselves known. [Read more…]

New Survey Shows Americans Prefer ‘Happy Holidays’ Over ‘Merry Christmas’

The War on Christmas is over!* We win!**

The Public Religion Research Institute says in a newly-released survey that more Americans than ever before prefer the term “Happy Holidays” to “Merry Christmas”:

(What’s that you say? The question is biased to make people say “Happy Holidays” so they don’t seem disrespectful? Good job, my AP Stats students…)

Nearly half (49%) of Americans agree stores and businesses should greet their customers with “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” instead of “merry Christmas” out of respect for people of different faiths. However, a substantial minority (43%) disagree. Support for saying “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” is up slightly since December 2010, when 44% preferred that businesses use less religious greetings.


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Harris Poll: In the U.S., a Clear Win For Rationality — Belief In God and Heaven Declines

This Harris poll — under the headline “Americans’ Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines” — is a great holiday gift.

It finds that

… [W]hile a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years as just over four in five (82%) expressed a belief in God in 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Here are some other popular superstitions, according to the poll, along with their adherents.

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When it Comes to Honesty and Ethics, Only a Third of Young People Trust Clergy Members

Gallup released a poll yesterday marking the differences in levels of trust when compared to one’s political party. For example, 68% of Republicans trusted police officers, while only 44% of Democrats said the same.

When it came to members of the clergy, there was a similar differential:

Not too surprising, really. The Religious Right is intertwined with the GOP, so you would expect there to be a higher level of trust for clergy members in that party.

But here’s where it got interesting. When you parsed the numbers by age, only a third of people 18-34 said they trusted the clergy:

This is the effect of the Nones: Not only is faith in faith fading fast, but faith in the leaders of faith is dropping.

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