CHRISTIANITY IN DECLINE?

SEVERAL WEEKS BACK Newsweek magazine ran a cover story announcing "The decline and fall of Christian America." Some statistics were at the core of the story's thesis. Self-described Christians in America have dropped from 86 to 76 percent of the population since 1990. During the same time those claiming no religious affiliation jumped from 8 to 15 percent. The magazine built its case largely on these figures.

Several weeks later the cover story continues as a hot topic within many religious circles. One critic of the piece bristled at the claim and then, with tongue presumably wedged in cheek, noted Newsweek's drop in circulation since 1990. More to the point, the critic reported that while the percentage of Christians in America has indeed slipped over the past two decades, the actual number of them has risen, from 151 million in 1990 to 173 million today—a detail somehow omitted by the magazine.

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June 29, 2009
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