America, Land of the Free, Becoming More Free?

One of the interesting subjects that caught my eye this past year had to do with how people are becoming less active in religion as they once were.  This is interesting to me because it can be related to the marxist perspective that religion is no good, it is a manifestation of  those in power, and is a false consciousness.  Marx also believed that in order for a society to be truly free it had to eliminate the religion and its ties to the past.

I read an article in the New York Times about a King’s College president Dinesh D’souza who was in the middle of an adultery scandal that prompted much discussion on religion in America.  This accusation of adultery is significant because King’s college is a conservative Christian School.  some people have speculated that there has been a decline in the religious denominations in the U.S.,  however sociologist Nancy T. Ammerman from Boston university disagrees with this.  Ammerman says that there has been a decline in religious participation throughout the U.S.  and that nearly all Christian organizations have felt this decline.

Another New York Times article from October 9th 2012 discusses a new report from a forum by the Pew Research Center.  This report discusses the decline in religious participation from all branches of Protestantism in the United States.

This excerpt from the article discusses the report in more detail:

“the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that it was not just liberal mainline Protestants, like Methodists or Episcopalians, who abandoned their faith, but also more conservative evangelical and ‘born again’ Protestants.  The losses were among white Protestants, but not among black or minority Protestants, the study found, based on surveys conducted during the summer.   When they leave, instead of switching churches, they join the growing ranks who do not identify with any religion. Nearly one in five Americans say they are atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.”    This is a significant jump from only five years ago, when adults who claimed “no religion” made up about 15 percent of the population. It is a seismic shift from 40 years ago, when about 7 percent of American adults said they had no religious affiliation.”

I found this Pew report as well as the testimony of Sociologist Nancy T. Ammerman to be fascinating; these articles left me thinking of reasons for the decline in religious participation, as well as how this might affect the Country as a whole.  Now that my understanding of Karl Marx is expanding, I have been thinking to myself that some of his views could possibly be taking greater meaning in the world today.  Could this decline in religious participation in the United States of America be an indication of an advancing, and forward thinking populus?  Could this mean the ‘Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave’ is becoming a freer Institution?  Only time and further research will tell.

Links to the NYT articles below:





One response to “America, Land of the Free, Becoming More Free?

  1. Great work, W. The post raises some fascinating questions about religion in America and beyond. The transformation of Protestantism is indeed a fascinating trend — both in the US and around the world, the growth in membership, if any, is coming from communities of color (e.g., in Pentacostalism). Another critical point is that despite evidence of declining religious participation in the US, it still ranks among the most religious nations on earth. Despite all the talk about “separation of church and state,” the influence of religion in political and public life in the US is quite great in comparison with the rest of the world.

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