Friday, October 15, 2004

Religion in the US by group and by county
Wow. Detailed but easy to read! Fascinating. Interesting patterns:

Biggest groups: RC, Baptist, Mormon, Lutheran, Methodist and 'Christian' (liberal Disciples of Christ, conservative Churches of Christ and other 'Restorationist'/'Campbellite' churches - see comments box).
Most religious parts of the country: wide down the middle through the heartland from the Dakotas and Minnesota to Texas and Louisiana; Mormon country. Least (surprise, surprise): west of the Rockies (except Mormon country).
Muslims, not surprisingly, aren't found much outside big cities.
• Of course the Mormons are big in Utah and sparse nearly everywhere else
• Baptist country is the South, which in this case seems to include Missouri.
• Jews: Northeast, Florida, Chicago and West Coast. End of story.
Restoration Movement Christians: southern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas have 'ChurrchuhCHRAHST' (as Texans say 'Church of Christ') concentrations. I reckon the presence in the Midwest is Disciples of Christ.
• There are more Amish in Ohio than Pennsylvania.
• Methodists have fairly well saturated the country, with the East and Midwest thoroughly covered, reflecting Methodist revivals among the pioneers in the early 1800s before the Baptists became America's wildfire religion.
• Presbyterians are similar but more evenly spread.
• The Dutch Reformed are clustered in and near Iowa and that's about it.
• Congregationalists? Ay-yup, New England. Nearly nowhere else except a few pockets in the Midwest.
• The Unitarian map parallels the Congregational one, which wouldn't surprise Archbishop Robert Morse, who says the Calvinism of the Congregationalists shatters into the non-Christian Unitarian way, which of course is exactly what happened historically.
• Lutherans? The upper Midwest: ja, you betcha. Everywhere else, not so much but a presence just about everywhere except the South.
• Episcopalians, a small group, are spread very thin.
• RCs have thoroughly saturated the country. Concentrations: Northeast, upper Midwest and the long border with Mexico.
Eastern Orthodox, not surprisingly, are concentrated in the old Rust Belt of Slavic population centres such as Ohio and Pennsylvania but with the highest percentage relative to the (very small) population in southern Alaska thanks to the Russian-Aleut and Tlingit peoples (most churched Alaskans are RCs though). Outside those places, very few and far between; nonexistent in most places.

Conclusion: Except for Mormon country and blocs of Lutherans, Methodists, Restorationists and other Protestants in the Midwest, America is an RC vs. Baptist showdown with nothing/secularism gaining on both of them big time, especially outside the heartland. Now if only the first group had more Catholics in fact as well as in name among them. (Mainstream RC? Forget it.)

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