NEW YORK—For the first time in its history, the U.S. doesn't have a Protestant majority, according to a new study. One reason: The number of Americans with no religious affiliation is on the rise.
The percentage of Protestant adults in the U.S. has reached a low of 48%, the first time that the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has reported with certainty that the number has fallen to less than 50%. The drop has long been anticipated and comes at a time when no Protestants are on the U.S. Supreme Court and Republicans have their first presidential ticket with no Protestant nominees.
Among the reasons for the change are the growth in nondenominational Christians and a spike in the number of American adults who say they have no religion. The Pew study, released Tuesday, found that about 20% of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15% in the last five years.
I always consider reports like this misleading. While it's true that people in this nation have veered away from faith over the last several decades, that's not necessarily the content of this article. Twenty percent of people now don't consider themselves part of any organized religion, but that does not necessarily imply that that segment is without faith. As a non-denominational Christian, I am the 20%. I consider myself a devout Christian and a weekly churchgoer, but because I no longer belong to any specific religion, I have fallen into that segment.
The issue this article raises is not the rise in the faithless. That's another issue entirely. What I found interesting is the likely increase in non-denominational Christians myself. I have nothing against organized religion whatsoever. I was raised Catholic myself. However, there is a civil war going on in seemingly all religions right now. There is a constant push and pull between traditionalism and the rise of the "social justice" sect which espouses social liberalism and collectivism. This battle is particularly evident in Catholicism. This is part of the reason why I left the Catholic church. Perhaps the core issue this WSJ article raises is not the number of people leaving churches. Rather, it's the question of why organized religions have been so deeply infiltrated by power struggles, strife, and moral relativism that they have strayed away from their original intent of spreading the faith.