Oct 18, 2019

Americans are increasingly shedding their religious affiliations

Photo: Hanan Isachar/Getty Images

The share of Americans with no religious affiliation is rising significantly in tandem with a sharp drop in the percentage that identifies as Christians, reports AP, based on data from the Pew Research Center.

The big picture: Many of the country's biggest religious institutions are mired in upheaval and scandal, as well as criticized for failing to adapt to modern norms, further alienating potential attendees.

  • The Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Convention are both facing ongoing sex abuse scandals.
  • The United Methodist Church, which comprises the largest group of Protestants in the U.S., is facing a possible schism over the inclusion of LGBTQ in its community.

By the numbers: Pew said 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christian, down from 77% in 2009, based on telephone surveys from 2018 and 2019.

  • The percentage of people who identify as atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular," often referred to as the "nones," stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
  • 43% of U.S. adults identify as Protestant, compared to 51% in 2009.
  • 20% of U.S. adults identify as Catholic, compared to 23% in 2009.

Go deeper: Religion is fueling a new wave of immigration activism

Go deeper

Trump walks to historic St. John's Church outside White House as protests rage

President Trump walked to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, located just steps away from the White House across Lafayette Park, on Monday night as protests linked to the murder of George Floyd raged across the capital and cities around the country.

What we're seeing: Military police and park rangers used physical force and tear gas on peaceful protestors to clear the area so that Trump could "pay respects" to the church that was damaged by a fire on Sunday.

Trump threatens to deploy military amid national unrest

President Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden Monday evening that he is "mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military" to stop violent protests across the country, decrying "professional anarchists, looters, criminals, antifa and others" whose actions have "gripped" the nation.

The backdrop: Trump's announcement came as police clashed with protesters just outside of the White House, using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot," and other slogans. Flash bangs used outside the White House could be heard from the Rose Garden.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Autopsies say George Floyd's death was homicide

Police watch as demonstrators block a roadway while protesting the death of George Floyd in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Preliminary results from an independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family found that his death in the custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to a statement from the family's attorney.

The latest: An updated official autopsy released by the Hennepin County medical examiner also determined that the manner of Floyd's death was "homicide," ruling it was caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdued, restraint, and neck compression."