Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The End of Christian America

Interesting article in the latest issue of Newsweek leads off stating "The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades."

Later in the article we read: ...the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990, rising from 8 to 15 percent....while the unaffiliated have historically been concentrated in the Pacific Northwest, the report said, "this pattern has now changed, and the Northeast emerged in 2008 as the new stronghold of the religiously unidentified."

Another clip: This is not to say that the Christian God is dead, but that he is less of a force in American politics and culture than at any other time in recent memory. To the surprise of liberals who fear the advent of an evangelical theocracy and to the dismay of religious conservatives who long to see their faith more fully expressed in public life, Christians are now making up a declining percentage of the American population.

I sincerely hope this trend continues. Personally, I think it displays people's dissatisfaction with ardent religiosity moreso that it shows any rising tide for atheism or agnosticism. My guess is that many Americans who do not go to a church or voice any specific religious belief still "believe" in a god (probably a flavor of the Christian god and Jesus). That's cool, as long as they keep it out of the public arena in terms of it impacting policy and requiring taxpayer support of religious belief...



Does anyone else here find it massively ironic that The New York Times is demanding concessions from labor unions to keep The Boston Globe in business?

Bunc said...

Oh if only we could believe that this is a real trend in the US. Maybe folk just got too embarrassed by the antics of the religious right in America to admit to any conection.

csm said...

Ironic? Not really.

G said...

I was just wondering something. If the USA is not a Christian nation and was not founded as such (as is so often proclaimed by the separation of church & state crowd), then how can it be "The End of Christian America"? How can it be the end of something that supposedly never existed?

csm said...

You are quite the literalist today, G. Keep that mindset with you the next time you read the bible.



Some people are delusional.


C'mon, you don't see the irony?

Ceroill said...

So maybe csm just forgot to put quotes around "Christian America"?

csm said...

"The End of Christian America" is simply the name of the Newsweek article I quoted for this blog post.

Regarding the New York Times supporting (are they really "demanding") labor union concessions for The Boston Globe to remain in business I see it as a sad commentary on the newspaper business as a whole. It is dying. It is dying because people have changed the way they get news... that is, most don't want to read, many want opinions spoonfed to them, and a lot of folks are unwilling to think for themselves. So the newspaper, as we've known it, will soon be dead. If cost reductions can save the business the unions would be foolish not to work something out... But they might not; it wouldn't be the first time a labor union was foolish though (I still support unions rather fervently though).


I believe NPR used the word "demanding".

In many ways I agree with you about the news consuming public, but newspapers are a dying business just like the carriage makers at the beginning of the last century. As much as Progressives dislike "creative destruction" in the marketplace; it is a healthy thing. I am hearing much debate about the fate of the newspaper industry and the new alternatives and this is good.

There will always be inquisitive people which leads me to believe there will always be investigative new outlets. I subscribe to ProPublica and the local Arizona Guardian for this news even though I still subscribe to my local paper(old habits die hard).

But to see the venerable New York Times, the handbook for liberals, putting the screws to unions, now that is just plain funny. And to think they are doing it from a position of weakness; I am on the edge of my seat.


Here is this from YahooNews:

Boston Globe reaches deal with largest union
Boston Globe could escape shutdown threat with tentative agreement with largest union

* Mark Pratt, Associated Press Writer
* On Wednesday May 6, 2009, 10:38 am EDT

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Globe and its largest employees union reached a tentative agreement early Wednesday on concessions that will keep the 137-year-old newspaper publishing, the union president said.

The breakthrough came about 4 a.m. after nearly 11 hours of negotiations, said Dan Totten, president of the Boston Newspaper Guild. Both sides agreed not to release details, pending a meeting of guild members scheduled for Thursday.

The agreement is subject to approval by members of the guild, which represents about 700 editorial, business and advertising staff.

The Globe, owned by The New York Times Co. had set a deadline of midnight Sunday to reach an agreement with its unions on $20 million in cuts to annual expenses. The company had threatened to close the Globe.

The Times Co. struck agreements with six of seven unions before the deadline, then resumed talks Tuesday evening with the guild. In those talks, the Globe had proposed to slash guild wages by as much as 23 percent to gain concessions of $10 million from that union.

An employee familiar with the tentative agreement said the proposed pay cut is significantly less than 23 percent, but higher than the total 5 percent the guild proposed on Sunday. The employee was not authorized to release details and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Employees were guarded in their response.

"I think everybody is breathing a sigh of relief that there's at least a tentative agreement to keep the Globe publishing, which we all recognize was our top priority," said Scott Allen, a reporter who has been with the Globe for 16 years.

"But it's really hard for any of us to draw conclusions about the agreement until we know how deep is the pay cut, how many benefits are we going to lose, how much seniority protection have we lost. I can't tell you as I sit here whether I support it or not."

The Times Co. also sought to change provisions granting some employees lifetime job guarantees, a key sticking point. At least one of the smaller unions agreed to modify the guarantees for its members, but the guild resisted, at least initially.

Nearly 470 employees across six unions have the guarantees, including about 190 Newspaper Guild members. Most got the promises in a contract ratified in 1994, shortly after the Times Co. bought the Globe for $1.1 billion, in exchange for other concessions at the time. Workers can still be fired for cause, but the newspaper says the guarantees hamper its ability to pare its operations.

The Times Co., which overall lost $74.5 million in the first quarter, has said that of all its newspaper properties, the Globe has been the most dramatically affected by the recession, the advertising downturn and the migration of readers online. The Globe had $50 million in operating losses in 2008 and had been projected to lose $85 million this year.

Associated Press Writer Denise Lavoie contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.