February 4, 2014

41.4% of Americans are "very religious" — that is, they say religion is important and they attend service every week or almost every week.

And that's up from 40.1% the previous year. Add to that the "somewhat religious" — you know who you are — who make up 29.2% of Americans, up from 28.9%.

10 of the 11 most religious states are in the south, and you can probably easily guess the non-southern state in the group. It's the second most religious state in the U.S., second only to Mississippi. The least religious states — the top 4 — are scrunched into the upper right-hand corner.

Is the argument for religion getting more persuasive, and is there some reason why it's more persuasive in warmer places, or is it mostly that people who are already religious have more children and pass religion along?

90 comments:

Fen said...

40% are very religious and go to church every week? That can't be right.

Nonapod said...

Who wudda thunk that District of Columbia would be the most godless place in the US?

If faith is actually growing in percentage, I guess that implies that more adults are finding god somehow rather than being born into religious households?

Shouting Thomas said...

I don't think people are religious because they've engaged in an intellectual "argument," which is your apparent assumption.

Here in Woodstock, it is readily apparent to intellectual leftists that every religion except for the religion of their parents, i.e., Christianity or Judaism, is the vehicle that transmits the culture and history of their parents and grandparents, and that the ritual expression of it has a meaning that transcends intellectual argument.

The intellectual demand to "prove the existence of God" is important to non-religious intellectuals, but not to me or my understanding of why I am Christian, specifically Catholic.

God is the father. No, this is not a metaphor for some guy in a white beard sitting up in the sky. It's a literal statement about your lineage.

The father, football and masculinity are still respected as the pillars of society in the Deep South, which explains the geographic distribution of the poll.

madAsHell said...

I blame Obama.

FleetUSA said...

I am not too surprised given the anti-religion clap-trap coming from the MSM, Hollywood, and this Administration.

Sensible people realize there is more to life than what they hear and see daily from the above triumvirate.

Who said triumvirates are destined to fail? Shakespeare?

RecChief said...

maybe it's the failure of the humanist state to provide what God does. (It can't)

Tank said...

Perhaps as the baby boomers get older, we are beginning to reflect on our own mortality and becoming more religious?

I am, slightly.

I recently read the Chronicles of Narnia. Never would have done that ten/twenty years ago.

Oso Negro said...

It's the reproduction, of course. Rather like the dropping abortion rate. The women who aren't having abortions now, more often had mothers who didn't have abortions.

Econophile said...



Are blacks more religious? It's always amusing how so many on the left, seeing health or cultural statistics by state, say "Oh, of course the South is so backwards" when some of the regional differences are due to the racial composition. I don't suppose they'd say religious backs are backwards.

Shouting Thomas said "...it is readily apparent to intellectual leftists that every religion except for the religion of their parents, i.e., Christianity or Judaism, is the vehicle that transmits the culture and history of their parents and grandparents..."

Great observation. I only wish I could understand this tendency toward cultural suicide.

traditionalguy said...

Perhaps the cause is the tsunami of claptrap spewing forth through channels of digital media that causes a fear of losing our bearings if we don't go back to bedrock truth.

The disappearance of Christendom as a moral force in the USA happened in the 1990s. It's absence has re-opened the door wide to Old Age religions such as Yoga, Neo-Platonist spiritual beliefs, and a Clean Earth Worship. And those Old Agers are not truth messages,but they cause confusion and depression bringing a hopelessness for the mind of men. Even Marxism has a hope in a collective future.

But the Christian Faith when unleashed retains the power to free men's minds and to give them a hope.

Ask Russell Wilson about it.





Tank said...

Could be the impact of Duck Dynasty.

Unknown said...

There are truths bigger than existential philosophies. Some of them are embodied and embedded in folk wisdom, which never seems to go away. I have a list of old sayings that resonate, somewhere, but at the moment all I can recall is "What goes around comes around."

When one has exhausted (or been exhausted by) the drum beat that self is the most important thing in the world, abstractions like natural authority, justice, love, and morality - like cream beaten out of milk - rise to the top. You can argue about the form of these notions, but there are some core principles that are reflected in nearly all belief systems.

I think being responsible for raising and/or guiding another human into a self sufficient adult naturally undercuts self centeredness (humanism, or idolatry), at least usually since there are clearly aberrations. Similarly, it's hard to be a manager or boss without coming to the realization that the world is bigger than what gives me pain or pleasure.

(wow. Reading this makes me cringe. Be kind.)

SGT Ted said...

The problem is that they don't count those the view the Government as their religion.

AustinRoth said...

SGT Ted wins the thread!

Bob Boyd said...

Where there are more snakes there are more religious people.

Religion is a trailing indicator for snake populations.
Except in Utah, where its a leading indicator.

PB said...

I think the whole democrat party is a bunch of obsessed religious nuts. They don't pray to God, but to ideas that can't be proven or cling to ideas that have been disproven.

Oso Negro said...

PB Reader - I think you are onto something there. I think that progressivism can generally be understood as a perversion of Christianity, e.g. Jesus was about having you care for the unfortunate, not about having you take someone else's money to care for the unfortunate.

Paul said...

Sgt. Ted has it right. Leftists are as faith-based and unshakable in their convictions as any fundamentalist group. They hate Christianity because it's the single biggest threat to their ideological domination.

I say this as neither a leftist nor a Christian, and while I want neither to hold power in government I see the left as far more dangerous and insidious.

Bob R said...

@Fen. 40% SAY they go to church every week. In Virginia, they record 46% making the claim. Down here in SWVA, it's probably in the high 50's, lower in NOVA. Now, as to who actually shows up on Sunday, it's a bit less. I'm in our church's praise band, so I'm there pretty much every week, and in mid-week practice sessions a couple of times a month. So I'm in church about 70 times a year.

Why the increase? First, if that is statistically significant, it's only barely so. But assuming this reflects a real trend, I'd guess demographic shifts and genuine success in efforts to add different kinds of religious services. I think our church has seen an uptick in frequent attendance from people in their 20's and 30's - not huge, but enough for a 2% increase. People going from 2-3 services a year to 2-3 dozen.

m stone said...

God draws men to Himself and distributes His Spirit quite impressively, polls and skeptics notwithstanding.

"Religion" in polls is not a good metric. Faith is when seen in action.

Historically, though, people have come to faith in certain geographic areas at certain times, commonly called "revivals. Azuza Street (Wikipedia) and Pensacola in recent years come to mind. Northern Virginia experienced still another in the late 1970s to early '80s.

Logic and reason take third seat to the Creator's will. Prayer by believers can tilt the balance.

The Drill SGT said...

10 of the 11 most religious states are in the south,

Minor Nit

Oklahoma isn't in the "South" because

- it didn't secede
- it wasn't even settled by white men till 25 years after the war
- it was settled by folks coming from Kansas (a Free State) and other Yankees
- it is farther North than Arizona, New Mexico, and Hawaii (absolute or center of mass)

Rural does not equal Southern

Fen said...

I would like to see cross-tab for people with kids. Less abortion and more churchgoers would seem to indicate more children - ie. the reason most my friends starting going back to church.

CommonHandle said...

Saying religion is important and attending services (almost) every week seems like a low bar for "very religious".

bearing said...

"Every week or almost every week" covers a fair amount of weasel room.

I am just amused because I never think of myself as "very religious" -- just sort of "standard religious." I am a Catholic and I go to Mass the minimum allowable amount, i.e., weekly. This makes me "very?" And how can it be "very" if it is 40 percent?

SJ said...

and you can probably easily guess the non-southern state in the group. It's the second most religious state in the U.S., second only to Mississippi.

I don't know about you, but Utah looks like it is further South than most of the U.S.

It's not part of the Old-South/Formerly-Confederate-South.

It is part of the Desert Southwest.

Renee said...

"The problem is that they don't count those the view the Government as their religion."

Yep, That is how it is in Massachusetts.

But many people are not that political. We have low participation rates in Democratic primaries, where the winner in many cases goes unopposed.

Renee said...

@CommonHandle

Only objective way to measure, but I understand your point.

Renee said...

You can lose a lot of people after they go to college, as well. More college educated individuals in the Northeast.

Henry said...

Is the argument for religion getting more persuasive, and is there some reason why it's more persuasive in warmer places...

Is the data full of noise?

That's a non-religious explanation for you.

Bob R said...

Another weird speculation: could it have to do with less geographic mobility? I attended church while growing up, but never attended when I was in "temporary" situations: college, grad school, post doc. I'd attend when I was back home visiting my parents. When I got a permanent job, I found a church her and started attending. Yes, that was about the time our kids were growing up, but my son was born when I was a postdoc. When I look back at it, going to church was putting down roots in the community.

Fen said...

less geographic mobility is an interesting point

Biff said...

I'm a little skeptical that there was any significant change. The reported change is only slightly larger than the poll's sampling error, and sampling errors are fairly fuzzy beasts.

DKWalser said...

Why the increase? I can only speculate: The religious tend to have more children, so their share of the population is growing. Those without religion have fewer children -- below the replacement rate -- so their share of the population is falling. Add to this is the fact that most of our immigrant population is from Mexico and is mostly Catholic, adding to the religious segment of the population. Given these factors, I'd be surprised if the percentage of religious did not grow slowly.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

My guess is church attendance would plummet, everywhere, if there were pop quizes.

Robert Cook said...

If you lived in the south, you'd pray for deliverance too!

(I kid, I kid...a little. Born in the midwest, from age 8 I grew up in the south, and though I left there in my mid-20s, I visit my family often and the south's slow, easy pace becomes more appealing to me with each year I add to my age.)

Smilin' Jack said...

...is it mostly that people who are already religious have more children and pass religion along?

As illustrated in the movie "Idiocracy." BTW, Darwin must appreciate the irony that natural selection produces increasing numbers of people who don't believe in natural selection.

SJ said...

About the main question, I have the impression that hard economic times may trigger more people to think about attending religious services regularly.

The long term effects of these things are harder to parse.

And the meaning of "attend services regularly" can be hard to parse.

God knows (better than I) whether this explains what Gallup found.

Anonymous said...

Econophile said, "I only wish I could understand this tendency toward cultural suicide."

This is a good overview:
http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/01/the-restless-heart-of-darkness-part-one/

The Godfather said...

@ Eric the Fruit Bat (great name btw) says "church attendance would plummet, everywhere, if there were pop quizes." But in fact for Christians the biggest pop quiz possible is coming -- "Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" -- and that's a good reason to go to church frequently.

mccullough said...

New England is less religious because it's the Anglican Church, which is withering away. Mainline Protestant religions just aren't thriving. Bye-bye WASPs. Most Jews in the US aren't religious, but they still largely intra-marry within the faith/ethnicity. As long as they continue intra-marriage, they will remain distinct.

As for the South, if college football were played on Sundays, church attendance would plummet.

lgv said...

Here's one possibility. It measures a trend in churchgoing, not the intensity of the devotion.

The biggest gainers I see where I liver are in the watered down versions of Christianity, rather than the more traditional denominations. It's the Joel Osteen and to some extent, Rick Warren type of churches. They have become more social and less Biblical purist, which draws a broader segment of fans.

lgv said...

I wonder if Muslims, Jews, and Hindus were included. If so, how were they weighted? Same percentages each year or changed as the percentage of the American population has change. If so, how has the makeup of the population changed? How has "very religious" changed within each religion?

Michael K said...

"where I liver are in the watered down"

Is that a pun ?

Otto said...

Your framing of the issue is interesting. In my opinion,your second and third possible reasons are not serious. Logically if weather were deterministic we would have Christian zealots teeming in South America. I think you were trying to be funny. As to the third reason I see no mention of it in the referenced article, so why did you include it? I suspect you were again trying to be funny.
Now as to the persuasiveness reason for an increase in religious affiliation, i think it is more a dissatisfaction with the great secular experiment we have experienced the last 50 years. After all the tenets of Christianity have not changed,but people especially the young see no lasting value with the materialism and "do as you please" ethos.Actually they see it as a failure because it has left them hopeless( unless you are the elite). "Trust and Obey for there's no other way" as my Jamaican friend and I ( two alter cockers)say as we drive to church. Btw the church is named Hope Church.

Fen said...

I'm always amused by those who are so insecure and threatened by religious people that they need to bash them, even on a thread as innocuous as this.

Andy Freeman said...

> Jesus was about having you care for the unfortunate, not about having you take someone else's money to care for the unfortunate.

Actually, govt at its best is you taking someone else's money to pay a third person to take care of the unfortunate. In reality, it's you taking someone else's money, giving it to some favored folk, and the unfortunate can go hang.

Andy Freeman said...

> BTW, Darwin must appreciate the irony that natural selection produces increasing numbers of people who don't believe in natural selection.

Actually, they do believe in natural selection. They selectively breed animals and plants to get certain effects. They're also quite certain that "breeding will show" among people, just as it does with animals and plants.

Note that the latter is something that evolutionary fanatics don't believe in at all, which shows that they're perfectly happy to promote their politics over their science.

The yokels are suspicious of something that is rarely seen, namely the development of new species, something that almost never matters.

Of course, the evolution fanatics grab on that to banish folks from positions where it isn't relevant. Again, politics trumps all.

Bruce Hayden said...

Oklahoma isn't in the "South" because

- it didn't secede
- it wasn't even settled by white men till 25 years after the war
- it was settled by folks coming from Kansas (a Free State) and other Yankees
- it is farther North than Arizona, New Mexico, and Hawaii (absolute or center of mass)


Plenty of Southerners settling Oklahoma too - or, at least border South. My ancestors (both my father's parents' families) homesteaded there through Missouri, and before that TN and KY. At least the Okie food that I saw growing up was closer to southern than midwestern. And, they were Baptists, not one of the denominations coming out of New England. Majority of the OK border is with "Southern" states, notably TX and AR. And, TX shares oil as a major source of wealth with OK, and did so throughout much of the 20th Century. (Both even today have some of the most sophisticated oil/gas regulators in the country, as well as many of the slickest promoters - I ran into the Dallas/OK axis last year helping a friend who had been bilked). Maybe as a result, I would suggest that the biggest influence on OK has been TX, and not KS.

Robert Cook said...

"Jesus was about having you care for the unfortunate, not about having you take someone else's money to care for the unfortunate."

Better that than "taking someone else's (sic) money to kill the unfortunate," as we're doing presently and have done in the past in countries around the world.

That aside, a more factual statement would be that, through taxes, we all contribute to social welfare programs that are available to benefit all who are in need. Any of one us may suddenly come to be in need unexpectedly, and the safety net we all help build and fund is there for us.

In other words, the money we may receive in welfare benefits is also money that we and our families have paid through taxes, (or, those "others" who receive welfare have also paid into the programs when they or their families have worked.)

Bruce Hayden said...

What happened to the Christianity throughout New England and into the mid west? Back in MA, NY, etc., there was a major influx of Roman Catholics throughout the later 19th Century into the mid 20th, and Western European Roman Catholics do not appear (from the article) to be as devout as their Protestant brethren (Eastern European and Latin American Catholics do appear more devout than those whose families came from Western Europe).

But excluding the Baptists, the mainstream Protestants, who were so strong and devout, from the Pilgrims, up through the Civil War, seem to have lost steam, as they seemed to have moved substantially to the left socially. And, this is the tradition that predominated throughout the north-east and mid-west.

Bruce Hayden said...

That aside, a more factual statement would be that, through taxes, we all contribute to social welfare programs that are available to benefit all who are in need. Any of one us may suddenly come to be in need unexpectedly, and the safety net we all help build and fund is there for us.

But, it isn't voluntary. Rather, it is coerced at the point of a gun, and so is not viewed as giving to God, but rather, to Caesar. And, as a result of all this free largess, a growing segment of the population has become accustomed to living off their fellow citizens. We are in maybe the 3rd generation of welfare in some families, and it seems to work more as an incentive to not work, but to leech, than as a mere safety net. You may think this noble. Many do not.

Fen said...

through taxes, we all contribute to social welfare programs that are available to benefit all who are in need. Any of one us may suddenly come to be in need unexpectedly, and the safety net we all help build and fund is there for us.

*snort*

So why did they trade Boxer to the glue factory for a case of beer?

ObamaCare TrainWreck is a good example of what happens when your theory meets reality. Tragedy of the commons.

Bruce Hayden said...

What made this country great? A lot would say our Christian heritage, and, yes, the mostly Protestant heritage of our founders. The sharp left turn over our lifetimes has many looking to get back to their roots, and to bring this country back to its roots. The godless running the big cities on the coasts are seen as being a big part of the problem. Sure, they may pretend to be Christian, but are they really? Who really believes that President Obama, who spent part of his childhood being trained as a Muslim, and much of his adult life in Rev. Wright's revolutionary church, is really that much of a devout Christian? He occasionally goes through the motions, but his sympathies often seem more with Islam than his declared religion.

I think that a lot of this country is moving to the right, maybe to try to move back to where and why we became so great as a nation, and this conservatism may be driving much of this religious revival. And, to some extent, the drive for self-reliance that we see with gun ownership.

Titus said...

It's comforting to know I live in the least religious part of the country.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hombre said...

"Is the argument for religion getting more persuasive ...?"

The argument for religion is what it has been.

The reality of secularism is manifested in the social and moral degeneration of our country and the unappealing behavior of its adherents. Consequently, the appeal of God's way becomes more apparent to those still capable of discernment.

hombre said...

Cook wrote: "That aside, a more factual statement would be that, through taxes, we all contribute to social welfare programs that are available to benefit all who are in need."

Some of us are sufficiently delusional that we can look at perpetual welfare and crime in the black community, burgeoning welfare rolls, etc., and the disaster that is Medicaid and still speak pompously of the "benefit" of social welfare programs.

Thanks for your insight, Cook.

Alex said...

No doubt the uber-secular and uber-religious have self-segregated themselves to the point that each group can't imagine how there can be anyone NOT like them. Both are living in bubbles of unreality.

Alex said...

Religion has nothing to do with making a man great. Greatness comes from having a strong character.

Hard work, don't hurt others, don't vote for socialists. Those are good values that have nothing to do with G-O-D.

traditionalguy said...

But most of the scots-irish Oakies moved to California fleeing the dust bowl of the 1930s where they joined the Georgia Gold miners who had rushed out to California in 1849.

So the Central Valley of California from Fullerton to Fresno is also a Bible believing area.



The Godfather said...

Some of these results are surprising enough that I question them.

Low religious feelings/church attendance in New England is unlikely to be due to the "withering away" of the "Anglican Church" (I assume meaning the Episcopal Church), as suggested by mcculloch (10:am). New England, at least southern New England (CT, MA and RI), has a lot of Roman Catholics, who generally go to church at least once a week and take religion seriously. I'm perplexed.

I'm also perplexed about the low rating of the District of Columbia. If the figures applied to DC west of Rock Creek Park, i.e., the whitest and most affluent part of DC, I wouldn't be surprised. But overall, DC has about a 70% African American population, who in my observation, are religious and frequent church-goers, plus a fair number of Latinos, who are mostly Roman Catholic (and some evangelicals), who are pretty religious and regular church attendees. I'm not saying the figures are wrong, because I don't know, but I do wonder.

Lucien said...

Near the very bottom of the underlying article it gives the standard errors as 1% for national figures and 3% to 6% for individual states (depending on the state).

So don't extrapolate too much.

Robert Cook said...

"But, it isn't voluntary."

Neither is my having my money taken and used to kill people in other countries. One can't have line item veto power over the uses to which one's taxes are put. One can only do what the system allows to get people into office who might be inclined to spend more of our taxes as and on that we prefer and less so as and on that which we don't.

Do you you object more to your tax monies going to provide help to those in need in our country than to it going to fund our killing people around the world?

Robert Cook said...

"ObamaCare TrainWreck is a good example of what happens when your theory meets reality."

Obamneycare has nothing to do with helping Americans in need and everything to do with further enriching the health insurance companies through the delivery to them of captive audiences of citizens who will overpay for anemic (or worse) coverage.

Fen said...

Do you you object more to your tax monies going to provide help to those in need in our country than to it going to fund our killing people around the world?

Do you you object more to your tax monies going to fund EBT parasites with $300 sneakers than to it going to fund the liberation of people around the world who are actually oppressed?

You're such a putz, Cook.

Fen said...

And before you kneejerk, yes I risked my life in Somalia to protect oil interests. Sure.

Putz.

Revenant said...

I am not too surprised given the anti-religion clap-trap coming from the MSM, Hollywood, and this Administration.

Actually, the fact that the behavior of those entities is considered "anti-religious" is itself demonstrative of how pervasive religion is in American culture.

Take, for example, the Obama administration's insistence that Catholic businesses pay for birth control coverage. Anti-religious? Only if you assume that religious motives are entitled to *better* treatment than non-religious motives. If you don't assume that the religious have special rights the non-religious lack, it is impossible to see why forcing the Catholic Church to pay for birth control coverage is any worse than forcing an Objectivist group to pay for it.

The same's true for Hollywood's supposed "anti-religious" sentiment. Look at the entire history of Hollywood and you'd have a hard time finding a dozen studio films that actually promote the idea that religion itself is inherently bad. Heck, just try finding a protagonist who is an atheist but NOT an emotional wreck.

What Hollywood mostly does is *ignore* religion, for the sound reason that it is impossible to make any but the very blandest of religious statements without a multitude of professionally-offended people protesting it. Hell, even if you want to say "God loves us all" you'd better be sure no homosexual characters are around when it gets said.

Revenant said...

Do you you object more to your tax monies going to provide help to those in need in our country than to it going to fund our killing people around the world?

But that's not the actual choice. You're presuming that ObamaCare and other "welfare" programs provide a net benefit to Americans. They don't; they do net harm to Americans, partly because they are run by the government but mostly just because they AREN'T targeted at those in need. Medicare and Social Security, for example, take money from workers and give it to the richest demographic group in the country: the elderly. They don't even do so very efficiently -- the majority of the people collecting Social Security would have done better if they'd been allowed to invest the money they paid into the system instead of giving it to the government.

So what you are really asking is: which bothers you more, spending tax money to harm Americans, or spending tax money to harm foreigners?" And the answer is "spending tax money to harm Americans".

Job said...

Eric the Fruit Bat: "My guess is church attendance would plummet, everywhere, if there were pop quizzes."

No pop quizzes but the final is a bear and you'd better be ready for it 'cause there are no do-overs.

And the final covers all course material

Robert Cook said...

"Do you you object more to your tax monies going to fund EBT parasites with $300 sneakers than to it going to fund the liberation of people around the world who are actually oppressed?"

Actually, in trying to make your point, you have lost it. Your statement above is senseless insofar as you're trying to rhetorically characterize my point of view. As to the latter part of your comment:

1.) It is not our mission to "liberate" people around the world;

and,

2.) We're not.

Maybe you should face the truth as stated by one of your military predecessors decades ago, Major General Smedley Butler, in his book WAR IS A RACKET. Here is a trenchant excerpt which summarizes in one paragraph what his book elaborates on:

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

This is not only no less true today, but more so.

Rocco said...

...But overall, DC has about a 70% African American population [who tend to be more religous]...

DC was only half-black in 2010 [insert Obama joke here] and is no longer majority black today [insert Michael Jackson joke here]: Wikipedia.

Andy Freeman said...

> So what you are really asking is: which bothers you more, spending tax money to harm Americans, or spending tax money to harm foreigners?" And the answer is "spending tax money to harm Americans".

Note that we spend a lot more money harming Americans than we spend harming foreigners.

However, it's interesting that Cook thinks that money spent to harm foreigners somehow justifies/excuses spending money to harm Americans.

He's wrong.

In other news, "Bush did it too" isn't a defense unless you're going to argue that it was correct when Bush did it, an argument that rarely depends on who was doing it.


Robert Cook said...

Revenant,

You characterize Obamneycare as a "welfare" program; it is not. (Well, if we recognize that the largest welfare in our system is that directed toward transferring monies to the already rich corporate interests, then I guess it is...but I'm sure this is not what you meant.)

You assert without evidence that welfare programs harm Americans; you say Social Security and Medicare take money from workers and give it to the "richest demographic group in the country: the elderly." Ha! There may be some elderly who have saved and/or invested well, but there are terribly many who rely on Social Security and Medicare to survive. The "richest demographic" in this country, by the way, are those who already receive the greatest favors from the government, (at our expense): the wealthy individuals and corporations in the 1% (and the 1% of the 1%).

You say, in essence, we would all be better off investing in the stock market rather than count on Social Security; yet, the point of Social Security is that it is guaranteed, while the stock market is nothing but a casino that wants to absorb us all as its marks. Yes, one can make money in the market; one can also lose all of it in an hour or an instant.

Robert Cook said...

"However, it's interesting that Cook thinks that money spent to harm foreigners somehow justifies/excuses spending money to harm Americans."

It's puzzling that you think this is what I think. What, actually, I don't think this is what you really think: you're simply trying to score a cheap rhetorical point. FAIL.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Using church attendance to measure faith is ridiculous. I consider my Christian faith to be strong, though certainly flawed, and I rarely set foot in anybody's church. I know a buttload of people who attend the local equivalent of a megachurch purely for the social aspect. What the hell is a "worship team"?

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Put me in coach. I'm ready to pray.

The Godfather said...

Do you remember your bull sessions in college? Me neither. It was probably the beer.

But I do remember that we had bull sessions, and they were a lot like comment threads on Althouse.com, with the one big difference that nothing was written down, so you could never trace the course of a line of argument or the development of a dispute.

But here we can do that. If we care, we can see where the discussion went off track: Robert Cook (3:02 pm): "having my money taken and used to kill people in other countries" isn't voluntary. Note, we are commenting about a blog post dealing with religion in America. How did we get to killing people in other countries?

If you go back (which you couldn't do in a college bull session) you see that PB Reader (8:57 am) (very early in the comments) compared democrats to "a bunch of religious nuts". A comment relevant to the religious theme. This lead Oso Negro (9:07 am) to call progressivism "a perversion of Christianity", because it involves "taking someone else's money to care for the unfortunate." Still a religious theme.

Robert Cook joined in a little later (11:55 am), referring to Oso Negro's comment, to argue that "through taxes we all contribute to social welfare programs" and may also benefit from them. This strayed off the religion theme into an argument in favor of social welfare programs. Bruce Hayden (12:01 pm) tried to get back on topic by arguing that, because taxes aren't voluntary but coerced, taxes are "not viewed as giving to God, but rather to Caesar".

Robert Cook (3:02 pm) picked up on Bruce Hayden's "not voluntary" comment, by saying "neither is having my money taken and used to kill people in other countries." This departs entirely from the religion theme, because no one has contended on this thread that it is God's will to kill people in other countries. This has nothing to do with the ostensible theme of religion in America, although it grew out of a discussion of that topic.

So, I found it a useful exercise to see how a particular part of the discussion evolved away from the theme.

Fen said...

Heh. When it comes to social welfare programs, Cook would rather our money be spent on fat Americans than on foreigners who really need it.

Glad to see that he finally identified as a National Socialist. Sieg Heil and all that.

Dr Weevil said...

If you're ever tempted to take Robert Cook seriously on anything whatsoever, you don't need a 12-Step Program. Three steps will do:
1. Read the Wikipedia article on Gen. Smedley Butler, particularly the section on The Business Plot.
2. Consider whether Gen. Smedley Butler had entirely lost touch with reality by the time he made the allegations mentioned there (1934). Seriously: go read it if you haven't already - it's half a page.
3. Think of what it means that someone can quote a book Smedley Butler wrote in 1935 as evidence of anything except his own gullibility.

Robert Cook said...

Dr.Weevil: you don't think the Smedley's allegations concerning the Business Plot are credible? You have NO idea what the reality of this country is or has been.

Oh, and: "The McCormack-Dickstein Committee confirmed some of Butler's testimony in its final report. 'In the last few weeks of the committee's official life it received evidence showing that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country...There is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient.'[70] [n 1][n 2]"

The America we're living in today is essentially an America where the aims of the Business Plot have been achieved.

Robert Cook said...

The Godfather:

Who says the discussion was "derailed?" A conversation, by its very nature, is discursive, which is what makes conversation fun and interesting.

Besides, I don't believe my comment was off topic. Hayden protested the idea of our tax monies being used to help Americans in need--a cohort which any one of us here could find ourselves in unexpectedly at any time--because of its "coercive" nature. I merely pointed out through example that ALL the expenditures to which our tax monies are put are no less "coercive."

(I still wonder why so many rock-ribbed American "patriots" scorn the notion of our taxes going to help our neighbors and fellow citizens while emitting no peeps of protest at our monies going to enrich arms merchants and to killing poor people in other countries around the world. Isn't that a conversation that "religious" people in our country should be having?)

Dr Weevil said...

Just wondering:
Did anyone else - anyone at all - besides Robert Cook follow my link and not conclude that Smedley Butler was a paranoid fantasist?

A few Fascist fantasists existed? Of course: just as socialist fantasists like Butler existed. Any chance whatsoever that any of the fascist fantasists could or would have recruited an army of 500,000 Ior even 500) led by Smedley Butler himself to make an actual attempt to overhthrow Roosevelt and put a specific person in power as dictator? Not only no but Hell no. Butler was a fantasist and Cook is a fool not to realize that quoting him makes him (Cook) look really really stupid.

Robert Cook said...

Sorry, Dr. Weevil...you just make yourself look ever more naive.

Dr Weevil said...

So Cook believes that 500,000 men under Smedley's command were preparing to march on Washington and then somehow didn't? No one was arrested or indicted for this alleged plot, but Cook still believes in it.

Even if were naive - I'm not - Cook's still a goddamned fool, who will no doubt continue quoting Butler as a source.

Unknown said...

Ann, you touched on the reason with the weather, just misdirected. If you have lived in the South, you would know the reason is due to all the praying and pleading with God one does each time an April or May thunder storm passes though.

Robert Cook said...

Dr. Weevil:

Your reading comprehension is a little rusty.

"Butler told Congress that MacGuire had told him the attempted coup was backed by three million dollars, and that the 500,000 men were probably to be assembled in Washington, D.C. the following year."

No one says there were 500,000 men at the ready. A plot was in the planning stages, and Butler was approached to head the army. No doubt the plotters hoped Butler could help not only lead but raise the army they envisioned. This is in the nature of plotters of war and revolution: they are beguiled with grandiose notions of how potent they will be, how easily they will marshal their forces and vanquish their foes.

However, even Congress confirmed--as I quoted to you in an earlier post--that evidence of a plot to mount a fascist coup was genuine.

You can be sure, if Edward Snowden had not presented proof to the world of the government's wholesale spying on all its citizens--and on as many of the world's citizens as can be achieved--Clapper and his miserable ilk would still be insisting to the gullible today that tales of such spying were fantastic, the paranoid delusions of madmen and halfwits.

Dr Weevil said...

Anyone who's not a bigot and a fool can see that Congress didn't want to admit that they'd wasted two months investigating something that didn't exist, so they came up with some vague crap saying that there were people out there who would like to overthrow the government (there always are). The fact that they didn't indict anyone at all is a strong clue (for anyone who is not himself utterly clueless) that the specific plot alleged by Butler never existed. Therefore Butler was a paranoid freak, and anyone who quotes anything he wrote after he went insane is either a paranoid freak himself or a damned fool - or just some trollistic asshole unwilling to admit he was wrong. Take your pick.

Robert Cook said...

Dr. Weevil,

There are many great crimes committed--not just planned--where no indictments or prosecutions result, (usually by those in or close to government or the big financial institutions.) If you don't know or see this in our present day America, it just confirms my earlier statement that you have no idea what the reality of this country is or has been.

Dr Weevil said...

I am of course well aware that great crimes are being committed today without prosecution, many of the worst because the Attorney General of the United States and his master and many of their big business friends are corrupt swine.

I am also well aware that the plot alleged by Smedley Butler never existed. If you're not, you're a moron. Quoting anything Smedley Butler wrote after 1934 is like quoting Ezra Pound after he became a Fascist or Bobby Fischer in his last decade or two. So go ahead and keep quoting him: it will help sensible know to avoid you.

Robert Cook said...

Dr. Weevil,

Do you not think every government we have had is more or less corrupt and populated by venal swine amidst the well-meaning and honest? There is no mystery why plotters of a fascist coup of America--many of whom were doubtless colleagues and friends of those in government--would not be pursued. (This is not even to mention they were the financially powerful men of their day, and, just as is true today, such persons are essentially immune to any crimes they may plot or commit against the people of America.)