Following up on an older (and my most popular) post, 5 Interesting Facts about Women and Religion, I am going to draw your attention to 5 other telling facts.
1: Women clergy are blowing up in the Anglican Church!
In U.K. Church Statistics, 2005-2015, Dr. Peter Brierly shows that out of 9,615 Anglican ministers, 1,928 are women. This is a radical spike since 2005. That is 20.05% of all Anglican ministers. This is about double compared to lead pastoral roles in U.S. Protestant Churches (see here). The year of 2010 showed the first time women outnumbered men in Anglican ordination, and it continues to rise up to the present day. And although they are growing as ministers, they are still blocked from becoming Bishops. The vote for allowing female bishops at a General Synod in 2012 failed to get the 2/3 support BY 6 VOTES!
2: 72% of Americans think religion is losing its influence in modern society
This percentage, which has risen from 39% in 2001, is shown in a Gallup poll considering yearly aggregates. Only 24% think religion is increasing its influence, down from 55% in 2001. Only 2% think religions influence is staying the same. And yes, notice “2001.” As Frank Reynolds said about this poll, “By the early 1990s, Americans became more convinced again that religion was losing its influence. These views persisted until a sharp reversal after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when a number of social and political indicators, including presidential and congressional approval and overall satisfaction with the way things were going, showed substantial increases.”
3: Catholic “religious sisters” (nuns and charity workers) are dropping by the 1,000’s every year
Ever heard of Carmelite nuns? Sisters of Mercy? Poor Clares? Well, they are dwindling in numbers. In a recent compilation of statistics on Catholics, CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) looked at numbers given by the Official Catholic Directory (OCD) and the Vatican’s Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae (ASE), showing drastic drops in the amount of “religious sisters” in the U.S. and worldwide. Since 2005, religious sisters in the U.S. dropped from 68,634 to 51,247. Worldwide, they dropped from 760,529 to 721,935. On top of steady rates of those leaving the Catholic Church (10.1% in U.S.), what might some of the other contributing factors be for this decline?
4: American LGBT persons are over twice as likely to have no religious affiliation
A recent Pew Study flushes this out, by noting that “LGBT adults are less religious than the general public. Roughly half (48%) say they have no religious affiliation, compared with 20% of the public at large.” Sociologists give many reasons for this: religions generally have traditional views about sex and marriage, the history and current state of LGBT shaming, and the presence of patriarchy. “So, who can blame LGBT people for eschewing religion altogether,” as Candace Chellew-Hodge, an LGBT Christian, said, “when the overall message from many religions—aided by the media constantly turning to the most homophobic religious commentators when they cover the subject of God and gays—is that God doesn’t just hate them, but will send them to a fiery hell for all eternity?” On a similar vein, LGBT persons see Islam, the Mormon Church, the Catholic Church, and Evangelical Churches as particularly “unfriendly” towards them (see image below). But really, who can blame them?
5: Since 2005, religiosity dropped globally by 9% and atheism rose by 3%
This is mentioned in the “Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism,” by Gallup International. The poll asked “would you say you are a religious person, not a religious persons or a convinced atheist?” to 50,000 men and women in 57 countries. Some common threads it found were that religiosity is higher in poor (bottom income groups) populations; countries like Vietnam and Ireland are experiencing the fastest decreases in religiosity; China and Japan lead in the highest percentage of atheists. On a micro-level, the U.S. follows suit. With what has become known as “the rise of the nones”–that is, those who mark “none” under “religious affiliation,” which is now 1 in 5–the U.S. has seen remarkable growth both in levels of non-belief, and in levels of religious affiliation.
Do we see the role of feminism in these interesting statistics? Can we see feminism as one of the reasons why people are not only leaving organized religions, but also changing them from the inside? I think so.
Kile Jones holds a Bachelors of Theology (B.Th.) from Faith Seminary, a Masters of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) and a Masters of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) from Boston University, and is a current Ph.D. in Religion student at Claremont Lincoln University. He also holds a Certificate in Science and Religion from the Boston Theological Institute. Mr. Jones has been published in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, Philosophy Now, Free Inquiry, World Futures, Human Affairs, and the Secular Web. He is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Claremont Journal of Religion (www.claremontjournal.com), and is the Founder/Director of Interview an Atheist at Church Day (interviewatheists.wordpress.com).
Categories: Belief, Breaking News, Catholic Church, Christianity, civil rights, Ethics, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, Gender, Gender and Sexuality, General, God, Human Rights, LGBTQ, Non-Theism, Women in the Church, Women's Ordination