There’s little for us mainliners to celebrate in this new Pew study. We’re losing people, and fast. I appreciate Heidi Haverkamp’s realistic-yet-hopeful words here and Rob Rynders’ there. But, like them, I’m not interested in spinning an argument that the numbers are somehow lying.
The numbers are clearer, however, than the reasons for them.
I often think I hear colleagues asking, “How could we attract nuns to our church?” Actually they’re talking about “the nones,” of course. One of the clearest findings of the Pew Forum’s new religious landscape study is that fewer and fewer people have any religious affiliation at all. Catholics and mainline Protestants show the biggest drop.
Religious leaders of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation have urged President Obama to use the purchasing power of the federal government to change the firearms industry. Noting that the federal government is the nation’s top gun buyer, they say it can pressure gun manufacturers to sell only to dealers that sell guns responsibly. The government can also press gun makers on gun safety technology. Smart guns should be manufactured that can be fired only by authorized users. Manufacturers who refuse to cooperate should be denied government contracts (New York Times, July 17).