Americans' confidence in religious institutions has hit an all-time low, with only 44 percent expressing a "great deal" of confidence in organized religion, according to a new Gallup survey.
This follows a downward trend since the 1970s, when 68 percent of Americans had a high degree of confidence.
Gallup cites two big blows to confidence in organized religion: 1980s scandals involving televangelists like Jim Bakker and the Catholic sex abuse scandal in the 2000s.
Perhaps as an outgrowth of the abuse scandal, Catholics lag far behind Protestants in their confidence in the church, by a margin of 10 percentage points.
But the scandals of recent decades, and the ensuing lack of confidence in organized religion, are not necessarily affecting the importance of religion in peoples' lives, Gallup finds.
Read the rest here.
I'm not certain a comment is even necessary, considering that I'm posting this in an atheist forum. Certainly I'm pleased, but considering that, while watching the news in the past half-hour, I also saw a story about a soldier who is suing the military for harassment because he is an atheist, the issue of the unwelcome impact of religion is still very much with us.
Still, downward trends are good to see. Let's hope it continues on that path.
Regarding the soldier and his lawsuit: yes, we are still dealing today with the unwelcome impact of religion but I tend to look at the matter with a certain degree of optimism. If this soldier was harassed, maybe ten years ago or more, he probably would have been shamed into keeping quite and just sucking it up. It's 2012 and atheists are speaking out and making sure we're heard. I definitely think that's progress.
I think a large part of the drop is due to the Dominionist and their political Tea party fundamentalist allies. That portion of the Christian population that are not robot followers of dogma can't identify with the loony right and very likely are repelled by them. I doubt any Dkos Christians have any warm fuzzies for the loons of which I speak.