There it was: the pointless question on the hospital admission questionnaire, “What religion are you?” It was followed by a sea of Christian denominations, four choices under Jewish, and a unitary category for Islam and three Eastern faiths thrown in. That’s it: no Pagan, no Witchcraft, no “Santeria” or “Lukumi” or “Ifá;” did I mention this was Miami? Summer 2017? But they included “Jain.” Gotta give ‘em that – I’m impressed. OK, there is a Jain Center in Miami with about 150 families, so I’m glad they did include it. But no Lukumi, in Miami?
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.
The Wild Hunt has written a lot about people who claim no particular religion, the “nones,” as they’ve been dubbed by various media outlets and analysts, I think their rise in recent years will be one of the largest phenomenons affecting our movement as we move into the future. “As for the “nones” I believe their rise, even if it’s at the expense of “liberal” forms of our dominant monotheisms, is ultimately a boon for our interconnect communities. The rise of “nones” and the “spiritual but not religious” give us a safe space, a cultural buffer to grow and experiment in. It destabilizes the narrative of inevitable Christian power, and opens the door to minority faiths having a stronger voice in discussions around religious rights and moral issues that affect us all. It creates the opportunity to visualize a post-Christian culture.” In addition, I believe that religions outside the Judeo-Christian mainstream, including Pagan religions, shape the religious/spiritual views of “nones” far more than the current data suggests.
The Pew Forum has released a report on the size and distribution of the world’s religions, based on data collected in 2010, and according to their findings the religiously unaffiliated are the third largest group behind Christians and Muslims.
“The “unaffiliated” category covers all those who profess no religion, from atheists and agnostics to people with spiritual beliefs but no link to any established faith. “Many of the religiously unaffiliated do hold religious or spiritual beliefs,” the study stressed. […] Among the 1.1 billion unaffiliated people around the world, over 700 million, or 62 percent of them, live in China alone, where they make up 52.2 percent of the Chinese population. Japan comes next with the second largest unaffiliated population in the world with 72 million, or 57 percent of the national population. After that comes the United States, 51 million people — 16.4 percent of all Americans — said they have no link to an established faith.” This analysis comes in the wake of another Pew study that showed the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated, “nones,” on the rise in America, and making a definite impact on 2012 presidential elections here. Likewise, recently released 2011 census data from the UK shows nones making up 25% of that nation.