And The Numbers Just Keep On A’Dwindling…

GallupImportanceReligion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines. – Bertrand Russell

It’s so rare that I get to actually feel optimistic about the decline of religious pomposity, but…YAY!

Evangelicals’ claims of conservative supremacy are overstated — and misread America’s religious landscape

NEW YORK (RNS) “The collapse of the Protestant mainline has been swift, steady, and self-inflicted,” Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president R. Albert Mohler wrote in 2008.

Mohler’s views align with many of his evangelical colleagues—including Russell Moore just this week—that essentially say liberal theology and politics is responsible for the decline of the once proud American mainline.

But is it really that simple?

According to a sweeping new study by Pew Research Center, the popular evangelical trope is not as true as some assumed. Yes, mainline denominations remain in sharp decline, and yes, evangelicals have fared slightly better overall. Yet many evangelical bodies have begun shrinking as a share of the population as well. Romans Catholics—also theologically and politically conservative—are also declining significantly. This, despite these groups’ evangelistic zeal, orthodox theology, and conservative political stances.


  •     Liberal mainline denominations continue to decline. Over the seven-year period Pew surveyed (2007-2014), these bodies fell 3.4 percent as a share of the total population. But at the same time, evangelical denominations also dropped by approximately 1 percent of the total population. Given that evangelical denominations invest heavily in proselytizing, that can’t be overlooked.
  •     Mohler and Moore’s own Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), declined as a share of the population by 1.5 percent between 2007 and 2014—even more quickly than evangelicalism at large. The evangelical Assemblies of God, Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church in America, and Church of God failed to grow at all. The only evangelical body among the top 15 largest Protestant denominations that saw any growth was the Seventh-Day Adventists, and they only experienced a 0.1 percent increase as a share of the population.
  •     During this same time period, among mainline denominations, the United Methodist Church declined by 1.5 percent, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America declined by 0.6 percent, the Presbyterian Church (USA) declined by 0.2 percent, the United Church of Christ declined by only 0.1 percent, and the American Baptist Churches USA actually grew by 0.3 percent.
  •     America’s largest “denomination”—the Roman Catholic Church—further challenges the notions conservatives have been peddling. From prohibitions on contraception to resisting same-sex marriage, no body has held the traditional line more than Roman Catholics. Yet between 2007 and 2014, Catholics declined by 3.1 percent as a share of the population.

Simply put, almost all of America’s largest Protestant denominations are declining, regardless of political or theological alignment. Roman Catholics are declining at roughly the same rate as mainline Protestant denominations. The nation’s largest evangelical body, the SBC, is declining at roughly the same rate as the largest mainline denomination, the United Methodist Church.

These numbers tell us that America’s religious landscape is more complex than some evangelicals once believed. Conservatism does not necessarily lead to growth, it seems, and liberalism does not necessarily lead to decline.  The waters of change that once overwhelmed mainliners are now lapping at the toes of evangelicalism.

“If you look at the bigger picture of the evangelical or mainline tradition, we see some decline in both of these shares,” says Jessica Martinez, research associate for Pew Research Center. “Sure, there is a larger decline in the mainline share, but it is a more complicated picture than some assume.”

According to Mike Hout, a sociologist at New York University, evangelicals who want to blame the decline of mainline Protestantism on liberalism are simply not paying attention. He says that population data has always indicated that the mainline decline was mostly attributable to birthrates, a notion he published in an article in the American Journal of Sociology.

“Seventy percent of mainline decline as it was known in those days was due to the fact that evangelical women were having one more child on average than women in the mainline tradition,” Hout says. “This trend prevailed until right around the turn of the [21st] century.”

Hout adds that he believes evangelicals’ greatest weakness is what they’ve championed as their greatest strength: the marrying of political and theological ideology. The rise of the religiously unaffiliated—the “nones,” as in “none of the above”—dates back to 1990 when the Christian right was in full-on combat mode. As conservative bodies became more partisan, members who couldn’t stomach the political agenda waved goodbye.

“Among those who disaffiliated during this period, most were raised in evangelical denominations but were centrist to leftist politically,” Hout says.

The idea that the marrying of conservative politics and theology has had a negative effect on evangelicalism is echoed by Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam and Notre Dame political scientist David Campbell. After surveying various data points, they concluded that moderates and progressives were increasingly leaving the faith as it became synonymous with conservative politics. And because young people aren’t as conservative as their elders, they have led the religious exodus.

“To [Millennials], ‘religion’ means ‘Republican,’ ‘intolerant,’ and ‘homophobic,’” wrote Putnam and Campbell in Foreign Affairs. “Since those traits do not represent their views, they do not see themselves—or wish to be seen by their peers—as religious.”

But according to Martinez, it’s difficult to draw any conclusions about the religious effects of political views from Pew’s latest study; those figures will be released by Pew at a later date, she said.

Triumphalist evangelicals have missed the point. The biggest threat to evangelicals is not some form of liberal faith, but rather faithlessness itself. Most people aren’t leaving evangelicalism for more liberal expressions, but rather for nothing at all.

While conservative Christians were crusading against their more liberal brothers and sisters in the mainline, the real growth has been in neither camp—the share of religiously unaffiliated individuals in America skyrocketed by a whopping 6.7 percent.

Rather than taking pot shots at more liberal strains of Christianity, evangelicals would do well to focus on the threat that all Christians are now facing: the growing number of people who are apathetic or antagonistic to the claims of Christianity.

If evangelicals continue to treat current trends as a race to the bottom, they shouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly where they end up.

The reason religion is waning (at least in this country), is that science ends up having a serious track record, when religion is just a trip down the bunny hole, with no appreciable side-effects beside a fuzzy-wuzzy feeling inside.

I look forward to the day that this infantilization of our species is done and gone, when the weak whispers of ghosts who were never there become first the joke of yesteryear, and then a dusty footnote in our history.

Yeah, I know. Not likely in my lifetime. But maybe I’ll live to see it drop down (in this country) to at least 50% before I die.

One can always hope.

Till the next post then.

Posted in And now for something completely different, Religion, Religious decline, Skepticism | 3 Comments

Frivolous Lawsuit # 666–Outlaw The Gays!

religious freedom cartoonAn infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment.
— Robert Green Ingersoll, quoted from, Some Mistakes of Moses, Section III, “The Politicians,” in Works, Dresden Edition, Volume 2

Hilarious. You’ve probably heard about this already –

Nebraska woman files suit in federal court against all homosexuals

An Auburn woman claiming to be an ambassador for God and his son, Jesus Christ, is suing all homosexuals.

Wonderful. We should legislate based on the voices in her head.

Sylvia Driskell, 66, asked an Omaha federal judge to decide whether homosexuality is a sin.

Exactly why we have Separation of Church and State.

Citing Bible verses, Driskell contends “that homosexuality is a sin and that they the homosexuals know it is a sin to live a life of homosexuality. Why else would they have been hiding in the closet(?)”

Gay people hide in the closet because of small minded xenophobes like you, Sylvia.

Driskell wrote in a seven-page petition to the court that God has said homosexuality is an abomination. She challenged the court to not call God a liar.

Sorry, imaginary friends can’t lie. They don’t exist.

“I never thought that I would see a day in which our great nation or our own great state of Nebraska would become so compliant to the complicity of some people(’s) lewd behavior.”

(She said somewhat enviously)

Driskell could not be reached by phone. She is representing herself in the lawsuit.

As per the adage, a fool for a lawyer then.

And of course, the sequel:

Federal judge dismisses Nebraskan’s suit against all homosexuals

A federal judge will not allow a Nebraska woman to be a legal spokeswoman for God and his son, Jesus Christ.

Judge John Gerrard dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday filed against all homosexuals.

Sylvia Driskell, 66, of Auburn, Nebraska, had asked the court last week to decide whether homosexuality is a sin.

In a strongly worded opinion, the judge said it is not up to the court to decide whether homosexuality is sinful.

Gerrard said Driskell lacked subject matter jurisdiction and cannot sue a class of unidentified defendants. Driskell did not set forth a factual or legal basis for a federal claim.

“The United States Federal Courts were created to resolve actual cases and controversies arising under the Constitution and the laws of the United States,” Judge Gerrard said. “A federal court is not a forum for debate or discourse on theological matters.”

Gerrard declined to allow Driskell an opportunity to amend her complaint.

Another whiny over-imaginative nutcake deciding what’s best for everybody else. Scarier still, she likely wondered why no one else around her could hear the trumpets blasting.

What this poor woman needs, is institutionalizing. Or likely a change in her meds.

You’d think their ‘gawd’ could do a little better at picking lawyers, though…

Till the next post then.

Posted in Absurdity, America's image, Bad God!, Crazy fundies, Delusion, Gay Marriage, Religion, Stupidity, Superstition | 2 Comments

More On The Madness Of Muslims: Because Religion Is The Cancer, Not Just Islam

jesusandmofatwahSo I came across this via Atheist Republic:

Fareed Zakaria Confronts Bill Maher for Criticizing Islam

Journalist Fareed Zakaria confronted political commentator Bill Maher earlier this month about his frequent and ruthless criticism of Islam. Zakaria slammed Maher, saying his atheistic views are just as radical as the religious views he criticizes, and what is worse is that he does only so to receive applause lines and never with the intention of reforming religion.

When Maher began to reiterate how Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas while discussing Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Zakaria put his foot down, saying Maher was not going to win over the minds and hearts of his audience by continuously insulting Islam and telling Muslims that their faith “sucks.” Zakaria also stressed there needs to be some sense of respect in how an argument over such a subject is framed, especially when the arguer claims to focus on reforming religion.

Maher then confusingly asked Zakaria if he truly doubted that most followers of Islam have considerably backward beliefs. Zakaria responded, saying most Muslims do not have considerably backward beliefs, as religious views vary from nation to nation. He also mentioned a couple of his own criticisms regarding Islam before concluding that all Maher is doing is only helping him receive applause lines.

When Maher expressed disappointment with what Zakaria had to say, the latter said Muslims feel disappointed all the time when people like Maher critique Islam.

These idiots are becoming increasingly tiresome. This is just a variation on the old ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy. Despite the incredibly voluminous digital evidence that mobs of religious fervor (regardless of denomination) are mostly violent, this Zakaria wants to whitewash the bloody roots and branches of his particular worldview. Maher quite accurately points out in the video (which has proven resistant to being embedded in this post), that the moderates who aren’t participating are usually in the background nodding their heads (and making disapproving clucking noises, nothing else), are somewhat culpable as well. Inaction is a consequence of choice as well. Of course the extremists are incredibly violent, enough so that any more passive ‘moderates’ are likely to stay quiet, but there is a limit to everything in this world, and this particular M.O is stretching those limits.

Islam is based on Judaism (let’s face it: Muhammad syncretized like crazy, and just re-told the campfire stories of Israelite shepherds with an Arabic slant, and changed a few names and details), which is another bloody storied religion. The ‘chosen of gawd’ assholes went around committing genocide on the advice of their daft shamans (which might be the crucial reason the Arabs hate the Jews now), and if you want to follow in the footsteps of bloody maniacs, then you my friend have more than a few marbles missing. Of course it doesn’t help when the youth of your nation are told when to eat, shit, sleep, pray, and can only have sex when they’re married to a person they’re told to marry, well, combine that with excessive heat and sand grinding in every orifice and opening in your body, well, you’d be a quite a bit more than bugfuck crazy too.

Less talk of ‘reforming’ a religion, more about the extraction of this cancerous tumor, with intense criticism as chemo.

Till the next post then.

Posted in Absurdity, Crazy fundies, Delusion, for fuck's sake!, Islam, Religion, Stupidity | 5 Comments

Straight Out Of A Comic Book: Bible Man! Rescuing Citizens From Nothing At All

freethunk-bibleman-sidekick“”You come right out of a comic book!” – Jim Kelly, Enter the Dragon

As with all cultural anachronisms, there’s going to be a helluva a lotta cleaning up to do:

Constitutional Kryptonite: ‘Bible Man’ Assemblies Banned At Tenn. Public Schools

It seems “Bible Man,” an individual who proselytizes to public school students, recently discovered that the U.S. Constitution is his kryptonite now that some Tennessee schools have halted his overtly religious programs.

“Bible Man,” whose real name is Horace Turner, Jr., leads monthly assemblies in public schools in which he tells biblical stories to elementary children. The original Bible Man, Horace Turner Sr., started this program about 40 years ago.

Turner had been showing up regularly at Grundy County Schools, with displays of Baby Jesus in tow. He also sings religious songs. As a result, a local atheist mom whose child attended Turner’s assemblies felt Bible Man was violating the First Amendment by pushing Christianity on impressionable children.  

So the mother asked the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to complain on her behalf. FFRF explained that Bible Man’s assembles were a constitutional problem, so Grundy County decided to put a stop to the program.

Unfortunately, that decision was not well received by all. Yahoo! Parenting reported that the mom who filed the complaint about Bible Man has been subjected to some truly vile comments, including death threats and an internet meme depicting a house on fire and the words: “He was an outsider and against the Bible Man coming to our schools, so we threw him a house warming party.”

The mom, who chooses to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, told WCRB in Chattanooga that she did not intend to make people angry, she just wanted her child to have an alternative to Bible Man’s proselytizing.

“We don’t want people to be mad, we just want people to make sure there’s an alternative something for the kids to do,” she told the NBC affiliate. “At first he did not know that he didn’t have to go. As he got older, it bothered him that he had to sit through this because it’s not his religion.”

Even if the Bible Man assemblies were optional, the school clearly did a poor job of communicating that. And it’s likely that peer pressure made attendance a requirement even if showing up was not technically mandatory. Such coercive religious activity is never acceptable in public schools.

Despite all of the anger over Bible Man’s apparent departure from Grundy County Schools, he may not be gone for long.

“I believe the perception was that we’re trying to get rid of him, and that was not the perception we wanted to present,” Dr. Willie Childers, interim director of Grundy County Schools, told WCRB. “At the last board meeting, there were several concerned citizens wanting to make sure that Bible Man or Mr. Turner will continue to be in Grundy County.”

Childers added that he would like to see the school implement a “club schedule” that would include an optional religious club that could be frequented by Bible Man.

This isn’t the first time Turner’s activities have yielded complaints from parents. Back in 2012, FFRF filed a complaint about his activities in Jackson County (Ala.) schools. But in that instance, the local school board chose to continue Bible Man’s assemblies because “our constituents are pretty adamant about what they want for their children,” Jackson County Schools Superintendent Ken Harding said at the time.   

This likely won’t be the last we hear from Bible Man, especially since Grundy County seems determined to find a way to let him proselytize to students. And without more details, it’s unclear whether or not a proposed student religious club would be constitutionally sound. Clearly, the situation will have to be monitored.

Given that Bible Man has been a part of some public schools for decades, removing him will not be an easy process. But Bible Man will never be able to overcome the Constitution, which is a powerful kryptonite for those who do not respect the rights of others.

Well, Grundy County Schools can go suck an egg. It’s not important that the mob decide: that isn’t quite as democratic as most people think. What people want for their children as opposed to what they can have, can be (and in this instance) just too fucking bad. Personally, I find the constant whining and under-handed nonsense from these religious fruitcakes to be more than just obnoying* – these folks keep trying to invidiously inject their codswallop into the rest of us.

It is long-standing violations of this nature, perceived to be ‘institutional’ when in fact they are in clear violation of the Establishment clause, that will be difficult to root out. Accusations will fly (mostly whiny and persecutory in tone and context), the sort like ‘The ACLU is stripping religion out of our culture) – but what these folks don’t get, is that over the centuries, there were clear violations that were just glossed over. Complaints like the one cited in this post a hundred years ago, would elicit all sorts of responses, likely all unpleasant. And of course these good, humble, religious folk, what do they do? In the twenty-first century? Threaten to burn the woman’s house down. Nice. Gee, those bible classes sure paid off, didn’t they? Where ‘turning the other cheek’ translates to violence, and hints of arson are an appropriate response? Who knows what other cultural minefields we will have to tread  in the days to come, but the march for equality must continue.

Till the next post then.


*My own portmanteau word combining ‘obnoxious’ and ‘annoying’ – which in hindsight, the word itself is also both.

Posted in Absurdity, America's image, Crazy fundies, Politics, Separation of church and state, Stupidity, Superstition | 3 Comments

Hey Chicken Little.

One day Chicken Little was walking in the woods when —
KERPLUNK — an acorn fell on her head Oh my goodness!
said Chicken Little. “The sky is falling! I must go and tell the

From Right Wing Watch.

Bachmann: Rapture Imminent Thanks To Gay Marriage & Obama

In an interview with End Times broadcaster Jan Markell that was aired this weekend, former Rep. Michele Bachmann said that people should “not despair but rejoice” that the world has reached the “midnight hour” and that “we in our lifetimes potentially could see Jesus Christ returning to earth and the Rapture of the church.”

The former Republican congresswoman from Minnesota said that President Obama’s policies, including support for marriage equality and nuclear negotiations with Iran, are to blame for the world’s imminent demise. “We need to realize how close this clock is to getting towards the midnight hour,” Bachmann said. “Barack Obama is intent, it is his number one goal, to ensure that Iran has a nuclear weapon.”

Bachmann made similar comments in the first half of her interview with Markell, which aired last week, insisting that Obama’s presidency will bring about natural and economic disasters along with the arrival of the Last Days.

– See more at:

Well there it is finally the end we’ve all been waiting for. Damn she’s nuts but she gives us so much good humor. I really do hope that she gets the help she so desperately needs. She does remind me of this tune every time she opens her mouth. Ozzy’s “Crazy Train”

Posted in Atheism | 5 Comments

Because Another Word For ‘Republican’ Is ‘Deranged’


Does this sort of news frost your hide? It should:

Rand Paul: ‘The First Amendment…Doesn’t Say Keep Religion Out of Government’

Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky and a prospective 2016 presidential contender, told religious leaders at a private prayer breakfast last Thursday that the First Amendment “doesn’t say keep religion out of government.”

“The First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn’t say keep religion out of government,” Paul said, according to video captured by CBN News. “So, you do have a role and a place here.”

He went on to say that the Senate opens every day with an invocation, which shows that there is a place for prayer in government.

“Religion is part of our daily life and a part of our government,” Paul said. “It always has been.”

The politician, who delivered his comments at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington where about 50 preachers were in attendance, went on to discuss the “moral crisis” that he believes is running rampant in America, urging his audience not to expect Washington to solely solve the problem, and imploring everyone to get involved.

“The moral crisis we have in our country — there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage,” he said. “There’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage … really there’s a role outside and inside government, but I think the exhortation to try to change peoples’ thoughts also has to come from the countryside, from everywhere outside of Washington.”

Paul went on to call Washington, D.C. the most “disconnected city on the planet from the people,” and said that America is desperately in need of “another Great Awakening” that sees thousands of people seeking and calling for reform in unison.

Sure, it’s probably just another politician’s lie, so what? I’ll tell you what.  It’s bad enough that the lobbyists buy them off, but it’s insult to injury to tell people that they have to be religious. Because that’s where this sort of thing leads to. Obviously this ditz is talking about gay marriage being a ‘moral crisis’ (geez, how do these people live past 40, they’re always so paranoid about shite!). That ‘unidirectional argument’ was used by David Barton, a known huckster who’s been revising US history (and had his books pulled off the shelves because they were riddled with errors!), a charlatan who is still conning his customer base dollars out of uninformed rubes who think that if they heard it from a fellow Christian, then it must be true!

And the crazies will continue to queue up for the presidency. The cycle of stupidity still flops about in a circle. The sooner the Republicans are gone, the better. They just muddy the waters, and then call them crystal clear despite the silt. The only solution is clear: the GOP has got to go. Chased off the stage amid jeering laughter. (Perhaps pelted with rotting vegetables? Nah –fun thought though.)

Till the next post, then.

Posted in Atheism | 2 Comments

More On The Madness Of Muslims–A Double-Edged Sword Of Blasphemy Is Bad For Everyone…

jesusandmoblasphemyday“Look not above, there is no answer there;
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer;
Near is as near to God as any Far,
And Here is just the same deceit as There.
And do you think that unto such as you;
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew:
God gave the secret, and denied it me?–
Well, well, what matters it! Believe that, too.” – Omar Khayyam

You think this is the problem? No, it’s symptomatic:

Muslim Preacher in Egypt Convicted for Blasphemy Against Christianity

Egypt’s top court recently approved a five-year sentence that was handed down to a radical Muslim preacher, who was found guilty of burning a copy of the Bible in front of the American Embassy in Cairo in 2012. Ahmed Mahmoud Abdallah, also known as Abu Islam, was sentenced on a number of charges, including destroying a religious text, contempt of religion and disturbing public peace and security.

In September 2012, Abdallah, who identifies himself as an ultra-conservative preacher, burned a copy of the Bible during protests that were being staged outside the American Embassy against the screening of a controversial film titled “Innocence of Muslims”, that depicted the Prophet in disparaging light.

During the first ruling, Abdallah was sentenced to 11 years of hard labour while his son was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of blasphemy. After the duo appealed to a higher court, their respective rulings were suspended briefly. During the second ruling, Abdallah was sentenced to five years in jail and also ordered to pay a fine of $1,000. Abdallah’s conviction is the first in Egypt for a Muslim charged with offending Christianity.

Yeah, I rail at Islam on a regular basis – but the rules we want for ourselves should be the rules shared by us all. This clown, he burnt a useless book and now his life’s fucked. He’s just another crazy asshole. But of course, my assessment has excluded that pernicious predication of power on high. Maybe he’s better off in labor camp than on the streets, but that’s a jaundiced view and an unworthy one.

What I rail against, is the elevation of paper and leather binding being more important than a person’s life, or life itself. That a wrong opinion should get you killed, this is not proper. Someone’s belief having a higher value than a human life, a sacred scroll being worthy of bloodshed – aye caramba. As a species, we’d best get some sort of collective gestalt going before humanity shoots itself in the head accidentally (metaphorically speaking, of course).

The more we raise our voices, the more the voices swell, and perhaps someday, religion will fall the way of the dodo bird. An anachronism finally buried in the dusty footnotes of history, an oddity no less, but a danger no more.

Till the next post then.

Posted in Absurdity, And now for something completely different, Blasphemy, Crazy fundies, for fuck's sake!, Islam, Politics, Religion, Stupidity, Superstition | 1 Comment