P does a disappearing act from the single-syllable WASP in USA

Eric P.Kaufmann notes in his article, “The decline of the WASP in the United States and Canada” in Kaufmann, ed., Rethinking ethnicity (2004) pp 54-73 which summarizes the scholarship that with the growing importance of Jews, Catholics, and other former outsiders, influence of non-WASPs is rising in US life. “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant” is an eight-syllable phrase preferred by Samuel Huntington over WASP to denote his own ethno-religious group in his work “Who Are We?: The Challenges to America’s National Identity”. He writes: “Given the pervasive penchant of Americans to prefer single-syllable over multi-syllable names for almost everything, this high and growing popularity of a seven syllable, two-word name over a one-syllable, one-word name is intriguing and perhaps significant.”

With the Pew Forum report, WASP has now to be rephrased as WASN (N stands for nastika, non-believer – a term in Hindu tradition).

Kalyanaraman

Report: US Protestants lose majority status

Protestants lose their majority status in religion survey
October 9, 2012 | 6:10 pm

Protestants, whose ideals of hard work, individualism and democratic governance have fundamentally shaped the national character, no longer make up a majority of Americans for the first time in history, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that Protestants now make up 48% of Americans, compared to nearly two-thirds in the 1970s. The decline, concentrated among white members of both mainline and evangelical denominations, is amplified by an absence of Protestants on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Republican presidential ticket for the first time.

“It’s a slow decline but a noticeable one, said Cary Funk, a Pew senior researcher, adding that the new study was the first to show a statistically significant drop in Protestants to less than half.

Funk said a major factor driving the decline is an increase in religiously unaffiliated Americans to 20% from 15% five years ago. But, she said, two-thirds of them still say they believe in God. They overwhelmingly expressed disenchantment with religious organizations for being too concerned with money, power, rules and politics.

Some analysts said a softening of American religiosity could affect such areas as charitable giving and volunteerism, which have traditionally been driven by churches.

Others, however, said that ideals originally identified as Protestant and Puritan have become firmly entrenched as secular American virtues. The idea of America as a “city on a hill” – a biblical phrase – with a special destiny to lead the world to freedom and democracy remains a bedrock civic value, said Richard Land, of the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

“America is a nation with the soul of a church, and that soul is Puritan-Protestant,” said Land, president of the convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “But in terms of defining the purpose of the nation, it’s been secularized long ago.”

Land added that the decline of Protestants and absence of them on the high court or presidential ticket has not caused consternation in his denomination because of growing religious tolerance and a sense that traditional Catholics share many of the same political values as evangelical Christians like himself.

“I have a lot more in common with Pope Benedict than Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, my fellow Southern Baptists,” he said. “The struggle in this country is not between Protestants and non-Protestants, it’s between traditional morality and post-modernism.”

In a counterweight to evangelical Christians who tend to back Republicans, the vast majority of religiously unaffiliated Americans – who number 46 million – vote Democratic and are politically liberal, the study found. Two-thirds support President Obama, compared to 27% for Republican nominee Mitt Romney. The majority support legal abortion and same-sex marriage.

The trend toward dropping away from organized religion was broadly evident across gender, income and educational levels. But it was most apparent in the Northeast and West and among the young, the study showed. A third of adults under 30 have no religious affiliation, compared to just 9% among those 65 and older.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/10/protestants-lose-their-majority-status-in-religion-survey.html

Protestants lose majority in U.S. for first time; unaffiliated up
October 9, 2012 | 11:44 am

Protestants, who have played a central role in the nation’s founding and development, no longer make up a majority of Americans for the first time in history, according to a study released Tuesday.

The study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that Protestants now make up 48% of Americans, compared with nearly two-thirds in the 1970s and 1980s. The decline, concentrated among white members of both mainline and evangelical denominations, is amplified by an absence of Protestants on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Republican presidential ticket for the first time.

“It’s a slow decline but a noticeable one, said Cary Funk, a Pew senior researcher, adding that the new study was the first to show a statistically significant drop in Protestants to less than half.

Funk said a major factor driving the decline is an increase in religiously unaffiliated Americans to 20% from 15% five years ago. But, she said, two-thirds of them still say they believe in God. They overwhelmingly expressed disenchantment with religious organizations for being too concerned with money, power, rules and politics.

The trend toward dropping away from organized religion is most apparent among the young, the study showed. A third of adults under 30 have no religious affiliation, compared with just 9% among those 65 and older.
But Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, predicted that many of those young people will turn to the churches when they get married and have children.

“They’re going through youthful rebellion,” Land said.

However, Southern Baptists — the nation’s largest Protestant denomination — have stagnated in growth after many years of increase, Land said. One reason was the declining birthrate among whites, the traditional mainstay of the denomination, he said. Only the infusion of African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans, who now make up 20% of members, have kept the Southern Baptists from dropping by as much as 10%, he said.

In a counterweight to evangelical Christians who tend to back Republicans, the vast majority of religiously unaffiliated Americans — who number 46 million — vote Democratic and are politically liberal. Two-thirds support President Obama, compared with 27% for Republican nominee Mitt Romney the study found. Nearly three-fourths support legal abortion and same-sex marriage.

— Teresa Watanabe

Photo: A church member carries a large wooden cross with the friends of La Plaza United Methodist Church of El Pueblo de Los Angeles in 2011. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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