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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Incredible Vanishing Protestant.

According to a new survey, Protestants are no longer (in aggregate) America's largest religious group.

Right off, the definition involves a rather bizarre definition of the group, too:

Smith's study includes in the "Protestant'' camp all post-Reformation Christian groups -- including fast-growing movements like the Mormon church, Pentecostalism and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Pentacostals, sure--but Mormons and JWs?  Both would balk, methinks.  And rightfully so.

Much whistling past the graveyard ensues:

Protestants contacted Tuesday by The Chronicle reacted with neither surprise nor dismay.
"Plenty of us are alive and well,'' said the Rev. Jim Burklo, the pastor at Sausalito Presbyterian Church, which still finds from 70 to 80 people sitting in its pews on a typical Sunday.

'Tis but a scratch.

Meanwhile, officials at the Manhattan-based National Council of Churches, a longtime bastion of American Protestantism, appeared unflustered by the latest news of their decline.
"We don't worry about it," said Pat Pattillo, the director of communications for the Protestant and Orthodox Christian ecumenical agency that still counts nearly 50 million members in its member denominations.
"Mainline Protestants have always been very involved in American life," Pattillo said, "and are still very active."

We'll call it a draw. 
I'll gnaw your legs off.
"We don't worry about it."  Hard to be "very involved" when there are fewer and fewer of you every year, don't you think?

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