• Holi Festival in Mathura, India
  • In the early morning hours, monks can be seen walking on their alms  round in Kanchanaburi, Thailand
  • Christians Celebrate Good Friday
  • Dome of the Rock located in the Old City of Jerusalem
  •  A Hindu Sadhu with white ash applied on the body and the face, blesses an Indian devotee woman
  • People praying in Mengjia Longshan Temple in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Hanging Gardens of Haifa are garden terraces around the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel
  • Ancient interior mosaic in the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora
  • People praying in the Grand Mosque in  Ulu Cami
  • Monuments of Saints Cyril and Methodius
  • Fushimi Inari Shrine is located in Kyoto, Japan
  • Jewish father and daughter pray at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Israel.
  • Christian women worship at a church in Bois Neus, Haiti.
  • Ladles at the purification fountain in the Hakone Shrine
  • Pilgrims praying at the Pool of the Nectar of Immortality and Golden Temple
  • Savior Transfiguration Cathedral of the Savior Monastery of St. Euthymius
  • Entrance gateway of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Kowloon

Data suggests that, when their attendance drops, these nominal Christians become hyper-individualistic, devoted to law and order, cynical about systems, and distrustful of others.

What happens to American politics and culture when white Southerners in the Bible Belt quit attending church? What religious views do they adopt? How do they vote? And will the mass exodus from church that already seems to be occurring in the South make the country less politically polarized—or more?

These questions are particularly relevant this summer because of two major news developments: the sex abuse crisis in the Southern Baptist Convention and the reversal of Roe v. Wade, which led to state restrictions that made abortion almost completely illegal the South and Midwest.

Twenty years ago, revelations of the Catholic church’s sex abuse crisis accelerated a massive exodus of white northeastern Catholics that was already well underway, and it contributed to a secularization of New England culture and politics. A region that up until the late 20th century had some of the nation’s strictest policies on abortion and divorce became a leader in expanding abortion access and legalizing same-sex marriage.

The same phenomenon occurred more recently in Ireland, in the wake of that country’s clerical sex abuse crisis. A nation that had some of the highest church attendance rates and strictest abortion and marriage policies in Europe legalized both abortion and same-sex marriage, even as church attendance rates plummeted.

It might be easy to imagine, then, that something similar could occur in the southern Bible Belt. As in New England immediately before news of the Catholic church’s sex abuse crisis broke, church attendance rates in the South were already falling before the SBC crisis was fully publicized.

Already, 30 percent of Southern Baptists “seldom” or “never” attend church, ...

Continue reading...


advertisement

National Weather

Click on map for forecast

advertisement