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Religious Right Pushes Americans Into "No Religion" Column E-mail
Written by Don Byrd   
Tuesday, 09 October 2012

At least that is the conclusion of one researcher about a new study showing 1/5 of all Americans now claim no religious affiliation.

Some said the study and its data on younger generations forecast more polarization.

“We think it’s mostly a reaction to the religious right,” said Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, who has written at length about the decline in religious affiliation. “The best predictor of which people have moved into this category over the last 20 years is how they feel about religion and politics” aligning, particularly conservative politics and opposition to gay civil rights.
If they have an issue, it’s that they don’t believe religion and politics should mix. Only a third of them say it matters if the president is a believer. Three-quarters of the affiliated think it matters.

This divide, says religion and politics expert John Green, defines our culture.

“I suspect for these reasons that simmering cultural conflict for the last 30 or 40 years is likely to continue,” said Green, who advised Pew on the study.

When religious leaders insist there is only one narrow path of faith that is true; when they claim that only one political view is consistent with a religious life; and when they insist on conformity to creed over soul freedom, they jeopardize the place of religion in America. Religious fundamentalism is detrimental to freedom, and, clearly, to faith.

Put another way, the separation of church and state is good for both.

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