Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Where are we now?

Yesterday I posted a bunch of stats published by the Mormon Church, and let them tell a story. The story may have been about fantastical precision and exaggeration, but the subtext is one of power. Even by the numbers provided by the LDS church the numbers of Mormons in the US is around 1.7%. This makes the LDS church one of the larger minority religions in the US; there are roughly as many religious Jews in the US. Overshadowing them by almost 10-to-1 are the number of individuals “unaffiliated” with any religion (this is different from religious, mostly protestant, individuals “unaffiliated” with a particular church). But the “unaffiliated” don’t overshadow the Mormons, do they?

In the 112th congress there are 15 Mormons (2.8%), and 39 religious Jews (7.3%); there are 0 “unaffiliated” individuals. Six individuals (1.1%) refused to divulge their faith, which is a little more than the number of non-divulgers (0.8%) in the US population as a whole.

Elections for new federal representatives will be held all over the country this year. Current trends suggest that there will be no new “unaffiliated” members of congress. If anything the number of non-divulgers in congress will decrease.

About 1-out-of-10 people who pick the “unaffiliated” moniker would prefer to be described as Atheists. This means that there are approximately as many “out” atheists in the US as Mormons. About half as many “unaffiliated” individuals prefer to be called agnostic. More than three-times as many (6.3%) respond with “secular” to distance themselves from established religion. That means that 10.3% of Americans openly define themselves as non-religious. If it was a religion the non-religious-unaffiliated would be the third largest religion in the US; behind Protestant and Roman Catholic.

It may be impossible to discover how many of the non-religious hide behind non-disclosure.

We are not being represented in this representative democracy. We have a long way to go before we even rise to a level that could be called under-representation.

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