I'm pretty fascinated with the fact that, over the last two decades, as xians have grown in political influence, their actual percentage w/in the population has been shrinking. For the past two decades, as xianists have made control of women's bodies their number one cause, as they've shown themselves to be obsessed with gay sex and denying evolution, as priests have been exposed as pedophiles and bishops as enablers, as xians have loudly and forcefully supported warmongers such as George W. Bush, Americans have been saying, in statistically-significant numbers: "No thanks. Not with my Sunday afternoon. Not with my kids. Not with my funeral service." Yet, among those who stayed or became xians, evangelicalism appears to be a growth industry. (Requisite disclaimer: There are lots of wonderful xians in America. Some of my best friends are xian. They haven't been out front and center, they don't get media attention, and they don't, sadly, seem very willing to criticize their co-religionists when necessary.)
I can't think that there's anything but good to come from this report. I don't expect Obama to close his unconstitutional, and expanded, Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. I don't expect politicians to stop kissing xian butt. But I am glad to see more and more Americans saying, "If that's religion, religion's not for me."
As for Wicca, as I was saying to a friend recently, we're basically a religion that doesn't want converts, a religion that would prefer that you go find something else, a religion that stands up and goes "Shhhsss. Shhhsss. Go away. Nothing to see here. We don't want you in our religion." And that's the way I like it. We've grown too much, too fast, IMHO.
One of the findings that interests me the most is captured in this chart from the report:
Gender Composition of the Religious Traditions 2008
% Male % Female Catholic 46 54 Baptist 43 57 Mainline Christian 44 56 Christian Generic 48 52 Pentecostal/Charismatic 42 58 Protestant Denominations 45 55 Mormon/LDS 45 55 Jewish 49 51 Eastern Religions 53 47 Muslim 52 48 NRM & Other Religions 52 48 Nones 60 40
New Religions Movements (Scientology, New Age, Eckankar, Spiritualist, Unitarian-Universalist, Deist, Wiccan, Pagan, Druid, Indian Religion, Santeria, Rastafarian), [and it's pretty damn funny that the authors of the report consider Unitarians, Diests, Pagans, and Druids to be "new" religious movements] Eastern Religions, Muslims, and "Nones" (people who report no religion) are the only categories that report more men than women. And, yet, in all the various "traditional" religions -- where male leaders far outnumber and often claim the entire field from females -- women members outnumber men. It's odd for me, a Dianic witch, to figure out what that means. Are there that many Pagan men? The study says:
Since women live longer than men there are normally more women than men in the population. The current sex ratio or gender balance of the national U.S. adult population is 49 males to every 52 females. Table 7 reveals that there is a split among the religious traditions whereby Christian groups tend to meet or exceed this female bias whereas all the non-Christians in the bottom five rows exceed the national average of 49 percent males. Among the religious groups having more female adherents are the Pentecostals, Baptists, and Mainline Christians of which 56%-58% are females. The most gender unbalanced group is the Nones, those who profess no religion or self-identified as atheists or agnostics. The ratio of 60 males to 40 females is a remarkable result. These gender patterns correspond with many earlier findings that show women to be more religious than men particularly in majority Christian societies. The male gender bias found among the minority religious traditions such as Muslims and the Eastern Religions is due to the high proportion of young immigrant males in these groups.
Go away. Find some other religion. Be a "None." Scat.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."