Infidel Info

Only about 5% of the French go to church on most Sundays; 60% say they never” or “practically never” attend. Source: Chicago Tribune, June 19, 2006

Zealotry, Mental Illness High

American citizens are far more religious and more willing to mix faith and politics than people in other countries, according to an AP-Ipsos poll released in June. Citizens in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Korea and Spain were compared.

The poll found Mexicans come close to Americans in faith, but strongly object to clergy lobbying lawmakers. In France, where 19% polled are atheists, 85% object to clergy activism. In most of the polled countries, citizens overwhelmingly oppose a mix of church and state, by a two-thirds to three-quarters majority.

Preliminary results of another study released in June found that one-quarter of Americans meet the criteria for having a mental illness within the past year–with a quarter of those having a “serious” disorder. The parallel study of 27 countries, overseen by Harvard Prof. Ronald Kessler, shows the U.S. may rank No. 1 globally for mental illness.

Fundamentalism Makes You Fat?

A Purdue University researcher claims a link between obesity and women who use religious media.

Ferraro analyzed religious practices and body mass index (BMI) of more than 2,500 people from a national sampling. Women were 14% more likely to be obese if they use religious media resources, such as TV, radio and books, three or more times per week.

Ferraro published a 1998 study finding that more obese people live in states with larger populations of religionists. Baptists are most likely to be obese. The second-highest rate of obesity is found among fundamentalist Protestants.

Religion Predictor for Risky Sex

A York University (Toronto) study of risky sexual behavior found that religion is more important than ethnicity in predicting who will engage in unprotected sex.

Dr. Trevor Hart, a clinical psychologist, surveyed 500 undergraduate students at York, and found that among sexually active students, Catholics, other Christians and Jews were more likely than nonreligious students to have engaged in unprotected sex.

Freedom From Religion Foundation