Why Is There More Depression Among Clergy Members Than in the General Population?

Recently, researchers from the Clergy Health Initiative at Duke Divinity School decided to look into the mental health of members of the clergy. Using phone surveys and written questionnaires, they interviewed over 1,700 United Methodist pastors, and found that depression is about 1.6 times higher in that group compared to the general population (8.7% versus 5.5%).

Other estimates of the prevalence of poor mental health among clergy are wildly higher, with some sources claiming that 70% of U.S. pastors are depressed.

The results of the Duke Divinity team were published in the Journal of Primary Prevention and summarized in the Huffington Post, which quoted Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, the Clergy Health Initiative’s research director:

[Click headline for more...] [Read more...]

Kentucky Department of Education Reminds Public School Superintendents That Teachers Should Not Proselytize During Work

Earlier this week, the Kentucky Department of Education did something every state’s education department should do: They sent an email to every public school district superintendent in the state (173 of them in all) reminding them what the law says about church/state separation:

[Click headline for more...] [Read more...]

Indians Fight for Recognition of ‘No Religion’ Category in National Census

More than 80% of Indians identify as Hindus. Islam is the second largest group, and it’s six times the size of the third largest category, Christianity. There are a plethora of other religious identities in India, including Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. When it comes to the national census, though, the rest are all lumped into a single category: “Other.” That includes animists, Baha’is, Jews, Zoroastrians and… atheists. As it stands, there’s no category for “No religion.”

For the 2001 Census, the “Other” category added up to 0.6 percent. Which sounds small, until you realize that it amounts to around 4,500,000 people in a nation the size of India.

What’s the breakdown of that group? We have no idea. But we do know that the size of the “Other” category doubled between the 1991 and 2001 Census. If global trends are anything to go on, they may have doubled again between 2001 and 2011, which could mean we’re talking about 1.2 percent of the population or 9,000,000 people.

[Click headline for more...] [Read more...]

The Atheist Who Prays Defends the Placebo Effect

Remember Sigfried Gold, the atheist who found solace in prayer even though he didn’t believe in God?

Now, he’s back to respond to his critics. And I don’t think he’s converting many people to his ways in the process…

… My fellow atheists have suggested, not always politely, that I’m not an atheist, that I’m not really praying, and that praying is not acceptable behavior for atheists. As politely as I can manage, I would like to defend myself on all three counts.

Now, I can’t claim to speak for all non-reality-based people, but I don’t need imaginary friends, either. I lived for 45 years without them. I just happened to find that when I started talking to an imaginary friend, certain struggles began to evaporate. It became easier to act according to my conscience.

[Click headline for more...] [Read more...]

Alabama House Republicans Launch Completely Unnecessary Petition Against Fictional ‘War on Prayer’

Last month, we learned that Cullman County Schools (Alabama) Superintendent Billy Coleman was planning his third annual “Prayer Caravan” in which he visited the schools in his district and prayed for them.

There’s only one important question for us here: Was the Prayer Caravan illegal? If a bunch of private citizens wanted to pray, they have every right to do that. However, the moment Coleman used school resources and his official title to promote the event, he crossed the line.

Just to be clear: FFRF’s only objection to this event was that it gave off the impression of being supported by the district.

But Alabama House Republicans — the bright bunch at they are — don’t care about the facts. They’ve launched a petition they intend to send to FFRF headquarters in Wisconsin in which they voice their opposition to the group’s non-existent “War on Prayer.”

[Click headline for more...] [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X