Scary Stats

Congressional Catholics at all-time high. A survey of incoming members of the U.S. Congress shows an all-time high of 67 Roman Catholic Republicans and 86 Democratic Catholics, totaling 153. They remain the largest denominational group, followed by Baptists (72), Methodists (61), Presbyterians (50), Episcopalians (41), Jews (37) and no religious affiliation (6). Source: Associated Press, Nov. 17, 2004

Christian schools increasing. The number of conservative Christian schools grew by nearly 11% to 5,527 between 1999-2000 and 2001-02, according to U.S. Department of Education statistics. Christian schools are now nearly 1 in 5 private schools in the country. Source: Associated Press; Peninsula Daily News, Dec. 3, 2004

Not abstaining from abstinence funding. In the 2004 fiscal year, the Bush administration spent $154 million to fund abstinence programs nationwide. His 2005 budget requests nearly double that–$270 million. Religious right-promoted abstinence programs by law may not educate about methods of birth control or mention abortion. Source: Toronto Star, Jan. 15, 2005

Nothing fails like abstinence programs. Teenagers in 29 high schools emphasizing abstinence-only became increasingly sexually active, mirroring overall state trends, according to a study by Texas A&M University. Dr. Buzz Pruitt, who directed the study commissioned by the Texas Department of Health, said, most of what we’ve discovered shows there’s no evidence the large amount of money spent is having an effect.” Source: Reuters, Jan. 31, 2005

Woe to Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs, Col., is home to more than 100 evangelical Christian ministries and 5 Christian radio stations, including Focus on the Family. Focus has 1,298 radio and 82 TV stations reaching 32 million in the U.S., and 122 million worldwide. It employs 1,200 people, screening each of them on their Christian beliefs. Its annual budget is $146 million, and it spends $250,000 on political action. Source: Toronto Star, Jan. 15, 2005

Guess who Mormons voted for? Nearly 90% of U.S. Mormons voted to reelect George W. Bush. Source: The Guardian, Jan. 19, 2005

Death by dogma. More than 5,000 women die from clandestine abortions every year in Latin America, which has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. Abortion is largely illegal in these countries due to the Roman Catholic sway against abortion and birth control.

Another 800,000 women are hospitalized due to complications, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute. As many as 200,000 abortions take place every year in Chile–twice as many as in Canada, even though Chile has half the population. Source: Womensenews, Nov. 28, 2004

Global warning: religion is divisive. Violence between Christians and Muslims between 2001-04 has killed more than 53,000 people in the central Nigerian state of Plateau. Source: Associated Press, Oct. 8, 2004

Funding ignorance. People in Indiana gave more than $1.9 billion to their favorite religious organizations in 2003, according to a study from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University–far surpassing the amount Hoosiers gave to the arts, education, environmental causes and humanitarian concerns combined. Source: Indiana Star, Nov. 21, 2004

Not such promising keepers. Among men attending conferences of Promise Keepers, the far-right evangelical Christian men’s organization, 53% report that they had viewed pornography in the past week. Source: Arizona Republic, Sept. 17, 2004

Religion injurious to mental health. An Israeli study found a whopping 29% of Orthodox Jewish men developed dementia, compared to only 10% of nonreligious Israeli men. Explanation for this “peculiar result”? Possibly diet, genetics, narrow range of intellectual activity–including intense memorization of religious texts, and, as offered by a reporter: “Maybe God has captured their minds.” Source: New York Daily News, Aug. 4, 2004

Scary stats. President Bush has used the word “evil” in speeches at least 350 times. Sen. Orrin Hatch has earned $65,986 as a Christian recording artist. Seven in 10 white evangelicals believe Israel was “given to the Jews by God.” Thirteen of 16 members of the 1996 Texas taskforce recommended then-Gov. Bush waive regulations on faith-based groups worked for such groups. Texas faith-based childcare facilities have had 25 times higher the rates of “confirmed abuse and neglect” than regulated childcare facilities. Source: Mother Jones, Sept/Oct 2004

Born-agains remarry again. Yet another poll by Christian researcher George Barna concludes 35% of married born-again Christians have been divorced at least once–and nearly one-forth of born-agains have been divorced at least twice. Source: Associated Press, Sept. 9, 2004

Creationist conflict. Classroom confrontations between God and science are occurring in at least 17 states, according to the National Center for Science Education. Source: The Guardian, Feb. 7, 2005

Prison ministry. Watergate Felon Chuck Colson’s Prison Ministry Fellowship, with a $46 million-a-year operating budget, now runs “partnership” prisons in four states. “InnerChange Freedom Initiative,” launched in Texas in 1997 through then-Gov. George W. Bush, provided a prison, guards, prisoners to proselytize and money at taxpayer expense. InnerChange prisons now also exist in Iowa (where it is under litigation), Kansas and Minnesota, with about 1,200 inmates who follow an all-day, all-week Christian-based agenda. Source: The Virginian-Pilot, Nov. 8, 2004

Freedom From Religion Foundation