Magazine article The Christian Century

Applauding Diversity

Magazine article The Christian Century

Applauding Diversity

Article excerpt

PROTESTANTS ARE ABOUT to become a minority in the U.S. after almost four centuries of numerical superiority and cultural dominance. A new study by the National Opinion Research Center reports that by the end of the year Protestants will probably make up less than 50 percent of the population.

The proportion of Roman Catholics in the population has remained stable at 25 percent. And the overwhelming majority of Americans continue to identify themselves as Christian.

So what is happening? The data suggest that the population cohort that is significantly growing is those who declare no religious affiliation. That suggests that people are dropping out of churches, or that young adults are taking their traditional leave of absence from organized religion and not returning as they used to.

Another interesting thing has been happening as well, namely a dramatic increase in the nation's religious diversity. And that, I maintain, is a good thing. …

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