Do pollsters create what they purport to study? Wuthnow examines the power and limits of polls and surveys on American religion.
Brooks students entered a dated and pretentious room with the feel of an old study. They sat in a circle as they listened to Professor Edward Blum. One lecture illustration was the defaced image of Christ from after the Klan bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The room transformed as Blum’s slide showed the stained-glass window with a hole where the holy face of Christ had been.
Brooks School, where I teach, is a traditional elite New England boarding school with roots in the Episcopal tradition. Founded in 1926 and named after Phillips Brooks, a well-regarded Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts, the school defies tradition as it seeks to diversify its faculty and student body. This diversity extends to its spiritual life. Its faculty represents a collection of bright, dedicated, and hardworking people. Like many academic institutions, Brooks began as a single-sex male school, and was slow to become co-educational, which transpired in 1979. New England boarding schools have long held a certain mystique among the American populace, a mystique found in films such as Dead Poets Society and in books such as John Knowles's A Separate Peace.
Publishers see SBNRs as a key market, while preachers either court them or put them down. As for Nancy Ammerman, she isn’t sure SBNRs exist.
Linda A. Mercadante’s study counters those who suggest that the rise of the religiously unaffiliated is tantamount to secularization.
Readers familiar with Ross Douthat's column might expect his new book to be moderately conservative and carefully nuanced. It is neither.
Anyone who likes maps, religion and useful or odd bits of data will have fun poking around the website created by the Association of Religion Data Archives, which now includes information from the 2010 census. The site allows for all kinds of searches by denomination and region. For example, the curious can find out what U.S. counties have the highest or lowest percentage of Episcopalians.