no wonder i'm so alienated

It's the religion thing. I need a country with less of it.

According to a recent AP poll, "Americans are far more likely to consider religion central to their lives and to support giving clergy a say in public policy than people in nine countries that are close allies.".

In the usual sample size of 1,000 adults in each of 10 countries, "nearly all U.S. respondents said faith was important to them and only 2 percent said they did not believe in God". Two percent. Two.

Almost 40% of US respondents said religious leaders should try to sway policymakers - much higher than in other countries, including Mexico, Italy and Spain. Of course that means slightly more than 60% wanted religious leaders to keep their noses out of government, which is still a clear majority.
Only Mexicans come close to Americans in embracing faith, among the countries polled. But unlike Americans, Mexicans strongly object to clergy lobbying lawmakers, in line with the nation's historical opposition to church influence.

"The United States is a much more religious country than other similar countries, looks a lot like what you call developing countries, like Mexico, Iran and Indonesia," said John Green, an expert on religion and politics at the University of Akron.
That bit about Mexico is interesting: people in the traditionally Catholic countries don't necessarily want the Church to run their government.

And here's a shocker: the survey found that Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to think clergy should try to influence government decisions in this country. In other news, the sun is hot.

Most of the big news sources carried the results of the survey. The Boston Globe version is here.

Thanks, Kyle. I did Google News to find the poll results from a non-Fox source.


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I thought that Mexico was the most fascinating part. It means that yes, you can be faithful yet still believe in seperation of church and state.

But of course, the Fox news crowd says that seperation of church and state is obviously an attack by secularists on religion.

laura k said...

Mexico really surprised me too!

An attack on religion, and supposedly the US is a christian country (NOT!).

Anonymous said...

Well, you won't find it all that much different here, L-G. The difference is in our approach to it. For the most part, Canadians view religion as a separate part of their lives, as something personal, something motivational, something whose message can inspire some good in the world (relief projects, etc).

That's the most part. There is a minority here that does mix it into everything, especially politics. Got to keep an eye on them. Got to keep our rights out of danger.

Where do I stand?

I believe in God. I believe in the core message. I believe in meaning and context. I don't believe in people. I don't believe organized religion. I don't believe in literalism minus context.

(I would be persecuted in the South for that, I just know it ...)

laura k said...

Yeah, but my alienation is not from being around people who believe in god. Most of my friends have religion in their lives in some way.

It's the private vs public thing. Canada is comfortable with religion being a private concern. In the US it is increasingly public and increasingly part of govt.

You're right that that minority has to be watched. They were once a minority here.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

And stealing ALPF's modus operandi, here I go with another one, a discussion of that wonderful excuse for collateral damage: "People die in War"


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

A good quote from the above article, showing the same sort of hypocrisy of the "culture of life":

When the beheading of Nick Berg dominated the news, effectively overshadowing all news of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal for a week or two, an acquaintance of mine with pro-war leanings was horrified, as was I, but she was also at a loss for words that anyone could do anything so savage to any other human being. The idea that the "Islamofascists" could be humanly capable of such atrocious evil must have been the worst shock to many Americans since 9/11. And, certainly, no one worthy of human sympathy could ever do such a thing as what the Islamic fanatics had done.

I told my pro-war friend that, in fact, the U.S. government has committed enormities just as evil and inhumane, and done so casually and with impunity, for the better part of its existence. Asked to name an example, I simply said, "Shock and Awe" – an act of mass terror bombing in which innocent Iraqis were torn apart limb by limb, and an atrocity that certainly left a number of children dying slow, horrible deaths.

"Well, people die in war," was her response. Yes, and Nick Berg was one of them. So too were the 3,000 Americans who died on 9/11 – an event, by the way, considered by both the terrorist perpetrators of that attack, as well as most members of the American War Party, to have been an "act of war." Indeed, America has been at war with Middle Easterners since the 1950s, and of the millions who have died directly and indirectly from the conflict, the vast majority have not been Americans.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

And since Redsock has comments turned off, I really wonder about the fact American soldiers have to buy their own body armor.

What exactly is the U.S. spending it's half-trillion military budget on? Oh, wait, don't answer that. Expensive gizmos from well connected defence companies, but not on it's actual fighting force.

allan said...


I didn't turn the comments on because I didn't feel like checking in to delete right wingers' comments. Though it doesn't get much traffic so maybe I'd be safe.

Maybe I'll turn them on.

What do you mean you really wonder about the story? Do you mean you wonder if it's true?

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Wonder as in the "I really wonder about that weird girl down the hall"

Anyway, here's another great example of "winning hearts and minds":
Jon Alvarez is two months away from reporting to military boot camp training, but he has already been flagged by his superiors as a potential troublemaker.

Alvarez, a staunch Republican from Baldwinsville who enlisted in the Army Reserve in April, has gained notoriety for political antics that include hanging a statue depicting the likeness of filmmaker Michael Moore from a noose and accusing those who speak against the military of treason.

Maj. Jeff Wildeboer, operating officer with the Army Reserve 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion in Mattydale, said Thursday he plans to alert commanding officers to Alvarez's latest campaign: a contest called "Create A Pig With The Koran."

On his Web site, www.pabaah.com, Alvarez invites people to create a papier-mache pig using pages of the Quran. Links show how to get a free copy of the Quran and how to make papier-mache.

Anonymous said...

poster child for the new era. are you sure they flagged him as a troublemaker, or was it as a potention General?

Anonymous said...

er, potential, that is ... long day ... again.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Out of morbid curiousity, I went and visited the site mentioned in the article.

Apparently, pabaah stands for "Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood". It's a utopia for people like the crazy "our glourious armies defending freedom" guy.

Oh, and I just noticed that I can use html tags in my comments. And here I call myself a computer engineer (and one who works on web technologies at that).

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Oh, and at their store you can get this lovely "I support the torture and execution of terrorists" shirt.

I'd post the link to their temple-o-bush, but I think everybody would puke.

B. W. Ventril said...

Re: the religiosity of American society, I have a great solution that I swear will turn 60% of Americans into Agnostics and 30% more into full-blown atheists within a generation:

Prayer in schools.

In fact, not just prayer, but clerics in robes. Turn the running of all elementary schools over to one of the major Christian denominations, if possible one that looks as much as possible like the Church of England. It's also crucial that the head of state, in this case the president, be made head of that church, thus ensuring that everything bad about the state be identified with religious belief.

The key to a happy secular state if ever there was one.

laura k said...

It's a utopia for people like the crazy "our glourious armies defending freedom" guy.

Hey, that's a wmtc link! Cool!

Oh, and I just noticed that I can use html tags in my comments. And here I call myself a computer engineer (and one who works on web technologies at that).

LOL. I am really laughing.

Kyle, thank you for not making us puke. I thought the t-shirt was sarcastic, but apparently not. [Shudder.]

BWV, that's a fascinating idea. Perhaps it would be easier just to move to England. I fear in the US it would backfire and we'd end up with a real life Handmaid's Tale.

Anonymous said...

On the school prayer thing, I think it's a big risk that we'd be exposing our kids to ... namely sexual abuse at the teacher's desk as opposed to the confession booth. Geez, imagine the trip to the principal's office! Yikes!

Of course this probably will happen (the clergy in schools), the way things are headed, most likely as a Republican venture.

And here I thought the sun was just a big ball of ice. Learn something new every day. ;-)

Crabbi said...

Hmm...maybe we should give BW's idea a try. I'm going to get my teaching credential and then not only will I pray in school, I'll speak in tongues. I'll convince all the other teachers to roll out around the floor screaming "Hallelujah!" and it will be one big revival. If anyone complains, we'll scream at them and baptize them with buckets of ice water. If that doesn't work, we'll exorcise their demons. It might hurt a little, but they'll thank us later.

laura k said...

I'd pay cash money to see that. :)

B. W. Ventril said...

No, no, you've got it all wrong... glossolalia is way too exciting. The kids might learn to love it. No, you're only allowed dreary Victorian hymns and sermons about obeying one's betters. And there's no sexual abuse in the C of E... just boredom.

Anyway, it all made me an atheist, and I'm Jewish.

Anonymous said...


Crabbi said...

Yeah, maybe the dreary C of E is the way to go, but I wouldn't completely write off the holy rolling. Glossolalia is exciting the first time you hear it, but the kiddies will get a little sick of teacher going all Linda Blair on them every day. I've heard it for real - it's scary. I couldn't even make a smart-ass comment - too stunned.

Maybe the solution is to try a new type of fanaticism every so often. That will keep them off-balance.

B. W. Ventril said...

The humanist wedding story warms my heart. I don't know if humanists can marry people here in the US, but we had a very nice atheistic wedding conducted by a Unitarian friend. And of course there's always internet ordination.

But for a real humanist wedding, give me Michel de Montaigne any day of the week...