The paradoxical US of A
From the Economist of 28 February.
1. “America is one of the most religious countries in the industrialised world. Over 80% of Americans claim to believe in God, compared with 62% of the French and 52% of Swedes. About two-thirds of Americans claim membership of a church, 40% go to church once a week, and 43% describe themselves as born-again Christians. Three times as many people believe in the Virgin birth as in evolution.”
Further down the same column….
2. “But America is also one of the most secular countries in the world. The Constitution guarantees a rigorous separation of church and state, and secular groups are assiduous in using the courts to enforce that separation. (On February 25th, the Supreme Court ruled that states could withold scholarships from students studying divinity.) Public schools recoil from even the mildest religious imagery. More than 29m Americans say that they have ‘no religion’, a number that exceeds all but two religious denominations, Roman Catholics and Baptists. For the most part, the people who run America’s media industries in New York and Hollywood are aggressively secular, combining intellectual hostility to Middle America’s religious fundamentalism with a generous measure of cultural disdain.”