Updates: Interfaith in South Carolina, Marianne Williamson, Nones, and More!

Here are some updates on stories previously mentioned or reported on at The Wild Hunt. At Patheos, Holli Emore, Executive Director of Cherry Hill Seminary, writes about her meeting with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, as part of an interfaith proclamation that was issued for the month of January. Quote: “I don’t support Haley politically. But that is not the point; politics is not what brought us together on this occasion. Once elected, Haley became my governor, and I am deeply grateful for her support of interfaith work. To our knowledge, South Carolina is the only state in the U.S. to acknowledge the importance of religious plurality and issue a formal proclamation.

What is Paranormal? What is Occult?

The mainstream religious press, who are currently congregating in Washington, are exploring the just-released data from the National Baylor Religion Survey on Americans’ Beliefs and Practices.”Do Americans really believe in Santa Claus? Does God directly speak to people? Should the Bible be taken literally, word-for-word? These, along with other in-depth questions relating to religion, belief in the supernatural, and the voice of God, comprised the new wave of the National Baylor Religion Survey on Americans’ Beliefs and Practices.”This survey, which polled 1,648 people (the Pew Forum, in contrast, surveyed 35,000 people), claims to hold some startling new information about what Americans believe, including the fact that liberal religionists are more likely to believe in the “paranormal”.”The survey, which has a margin of error of four percentage points, also revealed that theological liberals are more apt to believe in the paranormal and the occult – haunted houses, UFOs, communicating with the dead and astrology – than do conservatives. Women (35 percent), blacks (41 percent), those younger than 30 (40 percent), Democrats (40 percent) and singles who are cohabitating (49 percent) were more likely to believe, the survey said.”This point was used as a journalistic “gotcha” by M.Z. Hemingway to infer that the liberal-leaning United Church of Christ (Obama’s former denomination) was less “rational” than the conservative Assemblies of God (Sarah Palin’s former denomination).”Even among Christians, there were disparities.