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Tue Jan 1, 2013, 04:55 PM

2012: new diversity and conflict marks religion

1 Jan 2013

Religion in 2012 revealed new patterns of pluralism but also new signs of conflict over the role of religion in public. In this Religioscope special report, we look beyond the religious news headlines of 2012 to examine how trends developing in the last year might play out in the years ahead. Rather than a comprehensive overview of religion in 2012, the following are developments that we believe deserve special attention.

1) The reelection of Barack Obama suggests new diversity among America's religious believers and how they relate to politics. Obama received strong support from religious and ethnic minorities, particularly African-Americans and Hispanics, as well as among the growing ranks of the unaffiliated. Republican contender Mitt Romney went down in defeat while drawing the white Christian base. Observers took note that the 2012 election may be the last one in which a contender hoping to be elected can do it through mainly courting the traditional white Protestant-Catholic vote. Meanwhile, polls show that evangelicals overcame their initial resistance to voting for a Mormon, as they strongly supported the Romney candidacy.

2) The growing influence of the religiously unaffiliated in the U.S. was attested to not only in the elections but in several much-publicized surveys conducted in 2012. A Pew Forum survey found that the non-affiliated, or the “nones,” had increased to 20 percent of the population. This doesn't necessarily mean a large growth of secularism in the U.S. (although the numbers of those identifying as atheists and agnostics have increased), but the Pew study did find a connection between the non-affiliated and holding liberal political views-a pattern that was borne out in 2012 and no doubt in elections to come.

The growth of religiously unaffiliated people is far from a US phenomenon. In Canada, according to another Pew report, they represent 23.7 percent of the population. The recently released annual British Population Survey found that 27,9 percent of the population of England and Wales had no religious affiliation in 2011. “Spiritual but not religious” may describe part of this population, while atheism and agnosticism would reflect a smaller segment. Still, according to Pew, out of a world population of 6.9 billion in 2010, 5.8 billion had a religious affiliation: the unaffiliated are found primarily in Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America.

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Reply 2012: new diversity and conflict marks religion (Original post)
cbayer Jan 2013 OP
JoeyT Jan 2013 #1
SarahM32 Jan 2013 #2

Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 08:43 PM

1. #1 kind of shocked me.

I was floored the Southern Baptist's hatred of GLBT people, women, and minorities managed to overcome their hatred of Mormons. It helped that he was rich and white, and that Fox spent months insisting Mormons were really just like every other Christian, but still.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:44 PM

2. Rising religious pluralism threatens Theocrats, thus increases conflict.

It was predictable, and it is not surprising to me.

It was as predictable as the liberal and progressive reaction to the rise of the theocratic "religious right" in 1982 as they rose to political power with Ronald Reagan.

It took awhile for people to realize what was happening, but gradually we began to see objections to the hypocrisy and bigotry of the "religious right." We began so see reminders of the Jeffersonian "wall of separation between church and state." We began to see objections to Christian imposition into public schools and public squares. And it was all in reaction to the theocratic imposition of the "religious right."

Now the conflict has changed. More and more people recognize the agenda of Theocrats, and more and more people are understanding that the Founders wanted not only freedom of religion, but freedom FROM Theocracy. (See Quotes From the Founders Regarding Religion.) And Theocrats hate truths that expose their misguided beliefs.

I also believe that the growth of the number of religiously unaffiliated people is also an inevitable reaction against the hypocrisy, "religious" bigotry and theocratic imposition of the "religious right." And I think once the hypocrites have been put in their place by this message About Christianity, that will change.

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