The Washington Times yesterday reported on a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life under the headline “Catholic Tradition Fading in US.” The article reports that Catholic numbers are declining in the United States and only being propped up by immigration. The largest and fastest growing group are the Evangelical Christians.
Evangelical Protestants outnumber Catholics by 26.3 percent (59 million) to 24 percent (54 million) of the population, according to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, a massive 45-question poll conducted last summer of more than 35,000 American adults.
Mainline Protestant churches are dying.
The traditional mainline Protestant churches, which in 1957 constituted about 66 percent of the populace, now count just 18 percent as adherents.
So, guess you’re wondering why I’m writing about this in RRW. One reason is that it’s the Catholic groups like Catholic Charities and many of the mainline Protestant churches that traditionally are the ones to resettle refugees. I noticed here in Hagerstown that the Virginia Council of Churches was having trouble finding churches to volunteer. None of the Catholic Churches participated. Methodists and Presbyterians were involved but only with a handful of church members.
Could it be that those faith groups are declining? This Pew study would indicate that is so.
I know I’m making a broad generalization, but I’ll do it anyway based on what I know in my county. Although Evangelical churches care about the world’s troubled people they tend to send missionaries to the third world to help them where they live. They don’t bring them here in a big way. The Virginia Council of Churches (in Maryland) did not ask any of the Evangelical churches to help with resettlement and one pastor of such a church remarked to me, “We would be the last they would ask.”
I think I like the idea of helping people where they live. (See my next post on Pat Buchanan)
This does not bode well for refugee resettlement by the left-leaning mainstream church groups and could be why we are seeing refugees being left in the lurch with a lack of care. There just aren’t enough willing volunteers in those type of churches.
The other thing that caught my attention in this Pew study was the numbers of adherents of Islam. This study puts the number of Muslims at a much smaller demographic than Muslim organizations have been proclaiming in recent years. Six to eight million is the number bandied about, but Pew puts it at only 1.3 million.
It also revealed there are twice as many Jewish adults (3.8 million) as there are Muslim adults (1.3 million).
Looks like almost three times as many.
Interestingly the number of Muslim refugees we have confirmed from 1990 to 2003 at 200,000 (certainly there were more before they kept those numbers and many more since 2003) would indicate that Refugee Resettlement has played a huge role, larger than I had guessed, in increasing the Muslim population of the US.
By the way, I suspect Pew’s Forum on Religion and Public Life is all about the electorate, you can bet all the Presidential campaigns are pouring over Pew’s numbers as I write this.