Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Protestants No Longer the Majority in U.S., Study Says
- Number of Americans with No Religious Affiliation Hits All-Time High
- Two Baptist Schools Sue Over Birth Control Mandate
- CDC: Teen Births at Historic Lows
Protestants No Longer the Majority in U.S., Study Says
For the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority, according to a new study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Fox News reports. The percentage of Protestant adults in the U.S. has reached a low of 48 percent, the first time the Pew Forum has reported with certainty that the number has fallen below 50 percent. The drop has long been anticipated, and comes at a time when no Protestants are on the Supreme Court and when, for the first time, no Protestants are on the Republican presidential ticket. Pew cited among the reasons for the change the growth in nondenominational Christians who can no longer be categorized as Protestant, and the rise in the number of Americans with no religious affiliation. The study found that about 20 percent of Americans say they have no religion, an increase from 15 percent in the last five years.
Number of Americans with No Religious Affiliation Hits All-Time High
The number of Americans who say they have no religious affiliation has hit an all-time high -- about one in five American adults -- according to a new study released Oct. 9 by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, the Religion News Service reports. Labeled "nones" because they claim no religious preference or no religion at all, their ranks have hit 46 million people. Much of the growth is among young people -- one in three U.S. adults under 30 are now considered "nones." The report also found that the number of self-described atheists and agnostics has hit a peak -- 13 million people, or 6 percent of the U.S. population. That's a rise of 2 percentage points over five years. And while the "nones" are growing, Protestantism is on the decline, shrinking from 62 percent of the religiously affiliated in 1972 to 51 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, the number of U.S. Catholics held steady, at about one in four Americans.
Two Baptist Schools Sue Over Birth Control Mandate
Two more Christian colleges have filed suit against the federal government over the Health and Human Services mandate that they cover contraceptive and abortifacient drugs under their health insurance policies, WORLD Magazine reports. Houston Baptist University and East Texas Baptist University, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, each face annual fines of more than $10 million if they don't comply with the mandate. "While we are always reluctant to enter into lawsuits, the government has given us no choice," said Dr. Robert Sloan, president of Houston Baptist University. "Either we violate our conscience or give in to the administration's heavy-handed attack upon our religious freedom. We will not comply with this unconstitutional mandate, and we plead with our government to respect the liberties given by God and enunciated in the Bill of Rights." The federal government now faces 33 lawsuits over the mandate, which went into effect Aug. 1.
CDC: Teen Births at Historic Lows
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth rates for U.S. teen mothers have hit their lowest point since the 1940s, The Hill reports. Last year, 329,797 children were born to teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19, the lowest number of births to that age group since 1946. The teen birth rate has seen a significant drop over the last two decades in particular, falling 38 percent since 1991. Meanwhile, the birth rate for women in their early 20s dropped to its lowest point ever recorded, at 85.3 births per 1,000 women. New CDC data also revealed that overall U.S. births have declined for the fourth year in a row -- a trend many expected to result from the economic downturn.
Publication date: October 10, 2012