Infidel Info

How do you like them apples? With 67% of Washington citizens unchurched, the state is second only to Oregon in the number of people with no religious affiliation, according to Glenmary [Catholic] Research Center, Nashville, Tenn. Last year's American Religious Identification Survey 2001 found 25% of Washingtonians said they had no religion or called themselves atheists, agnostics or secular. Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 19, 2002; USA Today, March 7, 2002
Majority opposes vouchers. The 34th annual poll of 1,000 adults, conducted by the Gallup Organization for the educational group Phi Delta Kappa, found 52% oppose the use of state vouchers. However, voucher support is up to 46%, from last year's 34%. Source: Reuters/Washington Post, Aug. 21, 2002
Kiwis go secular. About two-thirds of New Zealanders get married through a secular celebrant, rather than clergy. About 28% say they do not believe in a god. Source: Bureau of Statistics Social Trends Report, June 4, 2002, Sydney Morning Herald, June 5, 2002
Many Kiwi pols secular, too. At the opening day of New Zealand's parliament, 66 members swore oaths on the bible, 50 MPs made nonreligious affirmations, and one used a Koran. Source: New Zealand Herald, Aug. 26, 2002
25% of Aussies nonreligious. According to the latest census, 25% of Australians identify themselves as having "no religion" (or declined to answer the question), putting unbelievers neck-in-neck with Catholics (26.6%). Just over 15% classified themselves as atheists or agnostics in 2001, down from 16.5% who did so in 1996. Australia has more Buddhists than Baptists, and more Hindus than Jews. Source: The Australian, July 2, 2002; The Age, June 17, 2002
The Farce is with them. More than 70,000 fans of the "Star Wars" movies identified their religion as "Jedi" during last year's Australian census, making Jedites 0.37% of the nation's population. The Jedites braved a warning they could be fined $1,000 for the prank. Source: AP Australia, Aug. 27, 2002
Aussies eschew ministers, too. More than 50% of Australian couples choose a civil celebrant rather than a minister to perform wedding ceremonies, according to the New Australian Bureau of Statistics. Source: The Australian, Aug. 26, 2002
Scottish skeptics. "So few people now go to church that researchers say Scotland can no longer be considered a Christian nation," contends Edinburgh Evening News. Only 12% regularly attend worship in the Church of Scotland, which is called the "Kirk" (real attendance is considered lower as people tend to exaggerate church attendance).
More than 60% rarely or never go to church at all. Just as many people say they belong to no religion (37%) as claim to be Church of Scotland (37%). The study was published in the "Kirk's" magazine, Life and Work, and was conducted by sociologists Prof. Steve Bruce and Tony Glendinning, Aberdeen University, who found "massive indifference" to organized religion. Source:, May 23, 2002
Alabama full of surprises. A newspaper poll found that 31.6% of respondents checked "none at all" when asked which worship service they prefer. Source: Montgomery Advertiser, Aug. 20, 2002
Church attendance slipping. The born-again Barna Research Group reports that despite a brief post-9/11 surge, churchgoing in the U.S. has gone back to normal. In some cases, attendance has slipped. Source: Wall Street Journal, 9/11/02
Speak Chinese? Although most world books put the nonreligious at a quarter of the world population, demographers for the World Christian Encyclopedia claim 15.2% of the world's population (918 million people) are atheists and agnostics, with the bulk of them (500 million) living in China. Christian demographers put Christianity at 33% of the world's population. Source: Washington Times, Aug. 15, 2002
Doubting clergy. A third of Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve in the physical resurrection of Jesus; only half "are convinced of the truth of the virgin birth," according to a poll of nearly 2,000 of the church's 10,000 clergy. Only half believe faith in Jesus is the only route to salvation. Source: Christian Research, Daily Telegraph (UK), July 31, 2002
Grooming unwanted pregnancies? Except for a handful, most of the 230 U.S. Roman Catholic colleges and universities fail to provide condoms or other contraceptives on campus. Source: AP, Aug. 10, 2002
Commentary on Mormondom. Anti-depressant drugs are prescribed in Utah more often than in any other state, at a rate of nearly twice the national average. Source: National study: "Prescription Atlas," Jan. 2002 update, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 20, 2002
Bankrupt theology? Utah residents, 70-79% of whom are identified as Mormon, are more likely to file for bankruptcy than residents of any other state.
Roughly 1 of every 35 Utah households filed for bankruptcy from March 31, 2001, to March 31, 2002, while the national average is 1 of every 69 households.
Financial experts point to low per-capita income, large families, weak job market, high cost of living, the young population, and the fact that Mormons tithe 10% of their income to the church. Source: AP, Aug. 23, 2002
Mormons 6th largest sect. The Mormon church, now the 6th largest religious body with 4,224,026 members, is the fastest-growing church in the nation, increasing by 19%. Source: Glenmary [Catholic] Research Center, Nashville, Tenn., Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 18, 2002
Pope Day debt. World Youth Day organizers of the pope's July visit to Toronto announced a cash shortfall of up to $30 million. The city spent $6.9 million on the $80 million event. Source: AP Canada, Aug. 8, 2002
Who's teeing off. Golf Magazine recently surveyed its readership and found that 83% of U.S.-born players identify as conservative Christians (67% of foreign-born are liberal).
Although 68% favor prayer in public schools, nearly as many are pro-choice, consider sexual preference a personal matter, and even more favor stricter gun control laws. Source: Golf Magazine, May 2002
Parental denial. Half of all mothers of sexually active teenagers erroneously believe their children are still virgins, according to a report by researchers at the University of Minnesota Adolescent Health Center.
Mothers' frequency of religious observance had no correlation with their children's sexual activity. Source: (Journal of Adolescent Health), New York Times, Sept. 5, 2002
Give us ERA! To celebrate the 82nd anniversary of Women's Equality Day on Aug. 26 (the date when U.S. women won the vote), U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, NY, commissioned a national poll of 500 about the Equal Rights Amendment, defeated by the religious right in the 1980s.
The findings: 96% favor legal protection of women's rights; 85% erroneously believed those rights are already in the U.S. Constitution, and 69% support amending the Constitution to include language specifically protecting women's rights (there was 58% support among Republicans). Source: Womensenews, Aug. 26, 2002

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