Copyright © 1999 by Marcia Ian, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. Copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the editors are notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.
On the eve of the Revolution only about 17 percent of Americans were churched. By the start of the Civil War this proportion had risen dramatically, to 37 percent. The immense dislocations of the war caused a serious [temporary] decline in the South. . . . The rate then began to rise once more, and by 1906 slightly more than half of the U. S. population was churched. Adherence rates reached 56 percent by 1926. Since then the rate has been rather stable although inching upwards. By 1980 church adherence was about 62 percent. (Finke and Stark 15)
As of 1990, the three different kinds of polls sociologists now examine to determine such figures indicated that as many as 69% of Americans were "churched" (Warner 1049).
I address this topic at greater length in my book in progress, American Secularity: The James Family and Others. Back
How and why did sociologists of American religion manage to miss completely, to not see, the huge and thriving object of their study, while they saw only the unreality of its disappearance? They give as reasons that: they believed without question the dour prophets who looked at the unchurching of Europe, saw it as the beginning of the end, and pronounced that America was headed down the same path to chaos; they believed certain hegemonic narratives written by academics, asserting for example that New England puritanism and congregationalism were the dominant influences on the American self, ignoring the data; it did not occur to any one to examine the tables of numbers compiled in huge volumes sitting on library shelves in their own institutions of learning; they ignored key differences between the United States and Europe. Back
The language of global finance has recently begun to speak of people in undeveloped, and hence about-to-be-targeted, markets, as "unbanked." A special technology that can read and identify fingerprints has been developed so that even illiterate persons in these markets can become "banked" and use automatic tellers. This strategy for the spread of American consumer capitalism is, in other words, a variant of missionary evangelism. Back
In the "academy," many "liberal" professors in the humanities, including so-called "tenured liberals," are beginning to teach a variety of courses showing their own renewed or newly outed interest in "spirituality." Back
First published in 1908, this copy of the 1914 American edition belongs to Alexander Library Special Collections at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick. Back
Kübler-Ross indulges in a comment hostile to feminism. Complaining about a time when she could not get a loan even though she had a good income from her lectures, she writes that "[t]he insanity almost drove me to sympathize with the feminist movement" (206). Back