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Rising atheism in America puts 'religious right on the defensive'


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Rising atheism in America puts 'religious right on the defensive'

High profile of faith-based politicians such as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry masks a steady growth in secularism

About 400 people are preparing to gather for a conference in Hartford, Connecticut, to promote the end of religion in the US and their vision of a secular future for the country.

Those travelling to the meeting will pass two huge roadside billboards displaying quotes from two of the country's most famous non-believers: Katharine Hepburn and Mark Twain. "Faith is believing what you know ain't so," reads the one featuring Twain. "I'm an atheist and that's it," says the one quoting Hepburn.

At the meeting, members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) will hear speakers celebrate successes they have had in removing religion from US public life and see awards being presented to noted secularist activists.

The US is increasingly portrayed as a hotbed of religious fervour. Yet in the homeland of ostentatiously religious politicians such as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, agnostics and atheists are actually part of one of the fastest-growing demographics in the US: the godless. Far from being in thrall to its religious leaders, the US is in fact becoming a more secular country, some experts say. "It has never been better to be a free-thinker or an agnostic in America," says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF.

.......

As in Britain, Sunday in the US has become a normal shopping day for many, or a day to watch big football or baseball games. "The great secular holiday in America is Super Bowl Sunday. Even in the deep south, the biggest mega-church changes its schedule to suit the Super Bowl," Kosmin said.

He also pointed to social trends – greater divorce rates, gay marriage and much higher percentages of people having children out of wedlock – as other signs that the religious grip on society has loosened.

.......

As in Britain, Sunday in the US has become a normal shopping day for many, or a day to watch big football or baseball games. "The great secular holiday in America is Super Bowl Sunday. Even in the deep south, the biggest mega-church changes its schedule to suit the Super Bowl," Kosmin said.

He also pointed to social trends – greater divorce rates, gay marriage and much higher percentages of people having children out of wedlock – as other signs that the religious grip on society has loosened.

However, it is still a brave US politician who openly declares a lack of faith. So far just one member of Congress, Californian Democrat Pete Stark, has admitted that he does not believe in God.

"Privately, we know that there are 27 other members of Congress that have no belief in God. But we don't 'out' people," said Silverman.

Others think that one day it will become politically mainstream to confess to a lack of faith as US political life lags behind the society that it represents. "Politicians have not yet caught up with the changing demographics of our society," said Gaylor.

full article

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/01/atheism-america-religious-right

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It is still pretty religious in the US, but things are changing here, especially with the young people. Parents of teenagers and young adults may still believe in God, but the young generation is turning away in droves.

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It is still pretty religious in the US, but things are changing here, especially with the young people. Parents of teenagers and young adults may still believe in God, but the young generation is turning away in droves.

Where we live we have a church on every corner just about and on Sunday there seems to be plenty of cars in their parking lots. Some of them also have Wed. Night Bible Study and they get pretty good support for those too. But in the northern states there is a big difference. When we visit the boys, I don't see that many cars in the parking lots on Sunday but some have their meetings on Saturday night so they can have the whole day Sunday off.

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Florida's more of a retirement community. How many of those cars in the parking lots belong to people under 30?

That's true about Florida. But the part we live in is one of the areas where the people have lived here all their lives. I think there is a pretty good mix of both young and old that go to church.

(we live in redneck country:secret:)

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