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Unbelieving preachers get help to 'come out' as open atheists
Minister-turned-atheist Jerry DeWitt speaks at ReasonFest in Kansas earlier this year.
June 13th, 2012
10:47 AM ET

Unbelieving preachers get help to 'come out' as open atheists

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - Jerry DeWitt entered the ministry when he was 17, launching a 25-year career as a Pentecostal preacher. He traveled all around his home state of Louisiana, preaching and ministering wherever he could.

All these years later, DeWitt, 42, is still on the road, and now takes his message all over the United States. But the nature of that message, along with his audience, has changed dramatically.

DeWitt is now an avowed atheist, and his audiences are made up of religious “nones,” the growing number of Americans who are atheist, agnostic, humanist or just plain disinterested in identifying with a religion. Today, DeWitt preaches a gospel of disbelief.

During his speeches, he talks about the process of leaving his preacher job. “If you don’t believe, then you will be like me - you’ll suddenly find yourself where you only have two choices,” DeWitt told a group in Johnson County, Kansas, earlier this year.

“You can either be honest that you don’t believe ... or you can pretend that you do,” he said. “Which is what so many people are doing and that is called faith.”

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The transition from preacher to outspoken atheist has not been easy, and DeWitt is trying to smooth the way for other former believers. He is executive director of Recovering from Religion, an organization founded in 2009. Its slogan: “Thousands of organizations will help you get INTO religion, but we’re the only one helping you OUT.”

But a relatively new effort goes a step further than his own group by focusing on helping clergy in particular. In March 2011, a coalition that includes national groups such as American Atheists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation helped launch the Clergy Project, which is aimed at giving doubting and atheist preachers a community in which they can talk about their disbelief.

The program's ultimate goal: to help unbelieving preachers to “come out” in real life.

A safe online community

The Clergy Project’s key component is a private online community of active and former pastors discussing their conversions to lives of active disbelief. It lets congregational leaders come out anonymously, using an alias.

“It is important to focus on any group of people who are in a lot of pain,” said Linda LaScola, a co-founder of the Clergy Project. “That is why the Clergy Project exists, and it wouldn’t be growing if there wasn’t a need for it.”

When it launched last year, 52 clergy signed up for the online community, according to LaScola. A little more than a year later, 270 members are contributing to the message boards and connecting anonymously with one another.

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According to LaScola, the community includes some rabbis, imams and Catholic priests, but the majority are Protestants.

Members are barred from disclosing what is discussed on the boards, but DeWitt said it’s a blend of humor, advice and encouragement. DeWitt, who left his congregation just over a year ago, is considered the group’s first graduate.

“It gave me confidence to come out,” DeWitt said of the Clergy Project. “Knowing that I was not alone, that I was not a fluke, that I was not a freak of religious nature, but that this is a process; it most definitely gave me confidence and a purpose.”

Jerry DeWitt, far right, in his days as a minister.

DeWitt said that after connecting with people on the message boards, he realized he faced fewer obstacles than some others who are trying to leave the ministry. For example, DeWitt's wife and son already knew about his disbelief, while other questioning preachers had not yet told their families.

“I think it is important when you are struggling that you talk it out, that you write about it, that you find support,” said Teresa MacBain, acting executive director of the Clergy Project. “I still try to reach out to people who are questioning, who are doubting, clergy people and laypeople alike, and let them know they are not alone, that there are people who care.”

How does he feed his family?

For 44 years, MacBain was involved in some sort of ministry, from organizing worship music to being a senior pastor at a Methodist church in Florida.

At a recent American Atheists convention in North Bethesda, Maryland, MacBain first publicly announced her atheism, inspiring a roaring round of applause. American Atheists President David Silverman walked onstage and hugged her as MacBain began to cry.

"I was the one on the right track, and you were the ones that were going to burn in hell," MacBain told the crowd. "And I'm happy to say as I stand before you right now, I'm going to burn with you."

She said she sees plenty of growth potential in the Clergy Project. In the near future, she said she hopes to incorporate it as a nonprofit and begin raising funds for clergy who have decided to leave ministry jobs. She also wants to compile a group of employment recruiters to help former clergy find new jobs.

DeWitt, for his part, is struggling financially and said his house could be foreclosed on in the next few months.

For former preachers in search of work, their old skills can be hard to translate into new fields. What references do former ministers use if they have disappointed their congregants by leaving the pulpit?

MacBain said that some “formers,” as she calls ex-clergy, have left their hometowns for new jobs in fields ranging from radio to counseling.

To aid those transitions, Recovering from Religion has started the Clergy Professional Relief Fund, dedicated to “helping ex-ministers have a soft landing after coming out of the ministry.” Though little money has been collected so far, the hope is to help former ministers with job training and relocation expenses.

“Even if you have a degree in divinity, that doesn’t really mean anything,” DeWitt said. “That is the biggest fear that a nonbelieving clergy member has. How does he feed his family?”

Losing faith, losing friends

As a young fresh-faced minister, DeWitt was first confronted with his disbelief when he “became the person who got the burden of preaching about hell,” he said. “I really loved the people I preached to, I loved them like family. So imagine preaching that if you don’t do this, you are going to burn in hell. That wasn’t easy for me.”

After doubt about hell, DeWitt began to research other schools of thought about God and belief. He began to develop other doubts, about certain biblical translations and about healing.

“The next big issue was the failure of prayer,” DeWitt said. “People are passing away, whenever we pray for them to live. People aren’t getting jobs, whenever we pray for them to have jobs.

“The harder we tried to alleviate suffering within our church, it seemed like the worse things got,” he said. “It didn’t seem like prayer made any difference. It just continually crushed my heart.”

When DeWitt decided to come out as an atheist, some in his congregation appeared shocked.

“I was very heartbroken actually because his family means so much to me; they are actually like family,” said Natosha Davis, 30, who attended DeWitt’s church for four years. “I was very heartbroken for him that he had to go through that and struggle.”

Many congregants were less charitable. “Some people where he lives just totally turned their backs on him,” Davis said. “He was ostracized, excommunicated. It is like he has a disease, but he doesn’t.”

When DeWitt runs into people he used to preach to, he still averts his eyes. Going to the post office and to Walmart, he said, can be stressful because of the possibility of running into a former congregant.

“It is because places in which you were once admired now you are suddenly scorned or pitied,” DeWitt said, who admits not having many friends anymore. “It makes for an extremely uncomfortable life.”

And yet DeWitt said his atheist life mirrors his old religious one in some key respects. In some ways, he said, he’s still a minister.

“The origin of the symmetry is me, is my personality, my love for people, my love for ministering,” DeWitt said. “What I have always tried to do is to minster from where I personally am at.

“When I was 17, I preached what I believed was best for people at the time; when I was 20, it was a little different; at 25 it was different, too,” he said. “And now at 42, I am still the same guy preaching what I see is best for people.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity

soundoff (5,298 Responses)
  1. Billy

    I'm sure happy to be neutral on the whole religion thing.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Adam

      I have seen enough people hit the wall at 400mph to know that neutral is not a morally defensible position. It truly is "us" against "them," and it is nothing less than this project we call civilization which is at stake. I hope you will understand this...

      June 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  2. qularknoo

    this is no surprise .... God has told us in His Word that there will be hypocrits and "wolves in sheeps clothing" within the church in every age. But God knows who they are ... if they go out from us they were never one of us. A true believer can have doubts and can wander ... but will never truly renounce their faith. God the Father gives all believers to His Son Jesus ... and Jesus will never allow any of His sheep to be lost.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Adam

      (if you good "no true scotsman" you will understand the fallacy you are employing. thank you)

      June 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      They might have been sheep herders that wrote that book but they weren't totally stupid, they wrote those lines in to that book to help protect their story from being questioned. Now you just need to provide evidence that your god said anything or even existed.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Adam

      (umm, "good" = "google." sorry for the confusion)

      June 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  3. Cesar Castillo

    More and more idiots taking the bible extremely literally...hell just maybe earth in some months in which you will literally burn...i hope you be reborn on a planet in a region with the equivalent of the middle east morons..that will be ur hell

    June 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Kafir

      ustillmad bro?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  4. Alex Gessong

    Nobody who truly believes would ever feel threatened by this. Those who feel the need to post scorn for atheists are not really believer, just people living a lie. Jesus said, "Do good to those who persecute you." Jesus said, "turn the other cheek." Jesus didn't scorn non-believers, he went among them and preached about love, tolerance,and forgiveness. If you scorn the things that Jesus preached, you cannot really be a Christian. The atheists who post here would get along better with Jesus than many of the so-called believers who post hateful messages here about atheists.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Lux Et Veritas

      I would say, a believer will see the Kingdom of Heaven before a nonbeliever, even with all the shortcomings one may have as a Christian. But that's my opinion ~ it may be true, and then it may not come to fruition...everything rests with God ~ and God's understanding and knowledge and wisdom of things far outshine our own.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  5. Lux Et Veritas

    Kafir

    Actually, the bible itself is driving people away from christianity (coupled with a basic education in science and philosophy of course).

    ***
    Actually, there's a very small but significant part of philosophy which is being overlooked which is also driving away people from Christianity. I will remain cryptic on that one and allow you to figure it out ~ since you seem to be an expert on this matter. And with that said, Christianity is on the rise in other countries, even though most of Europe is becoming more and more apostate. It will be the first to fall economically, politically, and culturally ~ just like the Roman empire did. You're not going to have to wait very long to see what I am referring to because it's already in the initial stages of collapse.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Kafir

      Actually, countries such as Germany are faring very well, despite the economic calamity. They're doing much better than the US and their EU neighbors. Also, Germany has a much lower index of religiosity, lower crime rates, and greater civil equity than the US. These are not coincidences.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Lux: interestingly, the Roman Empire crumbled after Christianity became the official state religion. Pagan Rome thrived and governed a quarter of the known world at the time. Christianized Rome fell. By the way, many pagan empires lasted for centuries or millenniums. Religion has nothing to do with how long a culture exists. If Europe embraces rationalism, that's a good thing. Religion is irrational by definition. No need to fear that fact. Jesus' philosophy (love your neighbor, help the less fortunate, treat others as you would like to be treated, etc.) fit perfectly well into a rational world. Jesus' philosophy makes sense, even for those who don't believe he was a god.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Sam

      Rome converted to Christianity right before it's fall. I looked it up. It's easy and fun; facts are right at the edge of your finger tips. 🙂

      June 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  6. John K

    If you want to hear Dewitt elaborate on this subject search KvP4-0AKH4Y on youtube. (was a recent episode of AE)

    June 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      or you can go to Atheist Experience's website and get it there also

      June 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  7. Dread

    Colin, man-made religion miss-interpreted the Bible about hell. All will be given a chance to understand about Jesus and either accept or reject Him. If you reject Him, then you will be burned up in the lake of fire and not exist from that point onward. There will be no torture for eternity. Just the consequence of your choices.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • JustaNormalPerson

      What a sadistic god you follow.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Dread: and you know all that because...? Someone told you that when you were a child? Why don't you believe in dragons? Just as much proof of dragons as there is for religion.

      June 13, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  8. worktolive

    You all go ahead and choose what to believe. I absolutely do believe in God and I sincerely thank him for the strength he has given me to keep going thru all the valleys in this life. Without him I could not have endured some of the hardships I have faced and fought thru. I owe him my life and he has it come what may. I truely feel sorry for all you non believers-I will pray God opens your eyes before it is too late.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Billy

      *through

      June 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Billy

      *truly

      June 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • QS

      Yet I managed to get through all the hardships in my life while being an Atheist. Hmm.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Colin

      Praying hey?

      Isn't that where you close your eyes and think silent thoughts like "dear God, please forgive the atheists" and a being powerful enough to have created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies about 13 billion years ago reads your mind (or "hears your prayers" if you prefer the euphamistic terminology) and reacts by altering what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to answer your request?

      And ya wonder why we think you Christians are just a little nutty....

      June 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I wasn't going to reply to you, but your condescending cra.p near the end about feeling sorry for us non-believers drew me to respond. I'll just say that I feel sorry for you, and that you think so little and lowly about yourself, and indeed for humanity in general, that you are unable to take responsibility for your own successes in life. You might think of yourself as cra.p, but that doesn't give you leave to act like a condescending shi.t to those who don't agree with you and see value in humanity.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  9. actually

    Atheists – those who pray the hardest on their deathbeds.

    ...if they're fortunate enough to be able to.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      And yet you can provide no evidence of this assertion. Perhaps you should try to stop being a tool, it might make your life better.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Adam

      Theists - those who have convinced themselves that it is acceptable, and in fact noble, to lie to oneself and one's children about what they know about the universe.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Get Real

      @actually,
      "Atheists – those who pray the hardest on their deathbeds."

      And your verified evidence for that is...?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Kafir

      Not all human beings are as fragile as you at the moment of truth. Humans are stronger than that.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • John K

      Atheism: Doing what's right when nobody's looking... even a god.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • QS

      I like that one John, how about elaborating on that – Atheism – doing what's right for the sake of doing what's right rather than for a reward of some kind.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • actually

      Ya John way to pat yourself on your back for doing nothing! But ya I can expand it too...

      Atheism – doing nothing for the sake of humanity by doing whatever you can for yourself rather than someone else.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Don't bash it till you've tried it.

      Have you ever even spoken to an atheist without dismissing what they say because it's not in your own beliefs? having seriously taken what they have to say and think to yourself maybe this person believes in this for a reason?

      June 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Don't bash it till you've tried it.

      Doing nothing for the sake of humanity? Most doctors, researchers, and scientists are atheist. Those same people who are trying to save the world and cure disease and famine are the ones that you just assume have the same beliefs as you. Wake up,

      June 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  10. Kafir

    Kafir 1:1

    It's amusing to see all these godbotherers posting scripture, as if each and every letter is wreathed in flame and etches itself permanently on your retina.

    In reality, scripture, like any other text, is subject to the same logical and scientific scrutiny that must be applied indiscriminately to all claims. It doesn't get a pass, despite your rabbid allegiance to it. If you post text, scripture or otherwise, you need to back it up, lest you get laughed out of the room.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • QS

      "as if each and every letter is wreathed in flame and etches itself permanently on your retina."

      HA! 🙂

      June 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  11. ItSOnLyME

    It's all just ego. Buddhism is the only philosophy that has it figured out.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  12. BoldGeorge

    The article reads: “Some people where he lives just totally turned their backs on him,” Davis said. “He was ostracized, excommunicated. It is like he has a disease, but he doesn’t.”

    Most of this, if not all of this article is a blunt force trauma so to speak against Christianity. Kind of like saying, " Aw, this man gave up believing or came out of the closet with his unbelief and look how bad and shameful those Christians are now treating him, aw poor guy." I believe the saddest part of any unbelieving "christian" is not so much their 'coming-out', but the fact that their flock so is now left out in the cold and many will go out with him.

    Hopefully, many of the flock have read and studied their Bibles as to not be decieved. But then again, what has this unbelieving christian minster been teaching all this time of rebellious unbelief? His flock has more than likely not been too spiritually fed well according to this statement: “And now at 42, I am still the same guy preaching what I see is best for people.” What is best for the congregation is that any bible-believing preacher should preach the Bible...God's word intact, nothing more, nothing less. By the way, any bible student will ALWAYS notice that Jesus preached more on hell and punishment...and HOW TO AVOID IT.

    And by the way, there is still hope for Mr. & Mrs. Fall-Aways. There is still hope for everyone who is still breathing.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Colin

      See my post below

      June 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • QS

      Oh, I see...they are the victims of his realization so they are justified in their hateful reactions. Got it.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  13. JustaNormalPerson

    God is an idea.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      a bad idea.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • QS

      An idea borne of the perceived necessity to control others.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  14. Tr1Xen

    I don't mind believers or nonbelievers as long as they keep it to themselves. I can't stand people who try to force their religion (or lack thereof) on others.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Adam

      Beliefs matter. Beliefs matter insofar as one ACTUALLY believes them. Beliefs NECESSARILY modify behavior.

      If you have a kid whose bus driver truly believes in the efficacy of prayer (which is asserted unequivocally in the Bible, FYI), and this driver is tired, then he may very naturally and logically pray that God watch over his bus while he sleeps.

      Now: tell me that this belief does not matter to you... I have seen enough people hit the wall at 400mph to know enough not to pretend that the fossils in other peoples minds don't matter to me, or to you.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  15. John Gault

    Just like the gays "coming out of the closet" in the latter 20th century, this will be the "coming out" of the early 21st century, and it's a good thing.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  16. Colin

    Out of all the silly superst.itious beliefs of the Christians, I think the myth of hell is my favorite. Think it through. I don't have to kill, I don't have to steal, hell, I don't even have to litter. All I have to do is have a reasonable, honest and rational disbelief in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty upon me an infinite times worse than the death penalty. And he loves me.

    Let's subject this "cherished Christian doctrine" to the probing light of say.......fifth grade mathematics.

    Approximately one hundred and ten thousand million (110,000,000,000) people have lived on Earth. Given all those who have, over the centuries, rejected the Christian god, or who have otherwise committed mortal sins, there must be literally thousands of millions of people burning for all eternity in the cosmic oven of hell set up by your all-loving god. Some must have been burning for thousands of years by now.

    About 100,000 people die every day. There must be a constant stream of thousands of forlorn souls every day into the one way pit of hell their “all-merciful” god set up and maintains.

    But, far, far worse than sheer overwhelming numbers is the extent of the punishment. There is no way out, no parole, no time off for good behavior. You don’t just burn, you burn for all eternity. Billions of people and thousands of daily new arrivals burning for all eternity!

    No criminal justice system in the history of the Human race, even those established by the most despotic of tyrants, comes close to matching the unfathomable barbarity of their “infinitely benevolent” god.

    Hitler murdered six million Jews in his concentration camps, but compared to the Judeo-Christian god, Hitler was a bleeding-hearted wimp. A goose-stepping girlie-man. Their “all-caring” god not only burns billions more than Hitler, Pol Pot and all other dictators and tyrants added up, he keeps doing so to them for all eternity! I would not wish a bad sunburn on a person simply because they have a different religion to me, let alone fry them for all eternity.

    It is also odd that their all-loving god is also all-knowing and knows which souls will go to hell before they do. He even knows it before they are born, and yet he still creates them. He is worse than a psychopathic teenager than breeds litter after litter of kittens so he can slowly roast them in ovens. That's the problem with using the same deity to be both the carrot and the stick. It gets really silly really quickly.

    How they believe this utter garbage in the 21st century completely eludes me.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Satan Himself

      What a great reply. So great, it sounds plagiarized. In any case, I agree 100%. This all-loving god who drowned people around Noah's Ark or blew up Sodom and Gomorrah, never made sense to me .. since I was like 9 years old. As I grew older, I understood how weak people really are. They need to wear rose colored glasses – or even blinders – to get through life. It is too bad that I grew up in a religious world where I had to keep these thoughts to myself.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Colin

      plagairized my a.rse!! I wrote and have been posting this for about a year.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Satan Himself

      @Colin, I enjoyed your commentary. It is all very well written. 😉

      June 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • JustaNormalPerson

      The underlying problem is that god is emotionally stunted. If you read the old testament, god emotionally acts like a 3-4 year old child. He throws fits, is constantly trying to hurt people, wants to be the center of attention, and blames it all on other people. He is also extremely sadistic.

      I guess that is the problem with being all-powerful. You just never really grow up emotionally.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • adh1729

      The Bible does not teach the doctrine of hell the way you understand it. It teaches quite the contrary. You should acquaint yourself with the facts (see Malachi 4:1,3; Matthew 18:23-35; Luke 12: 46-48, Revelation 21: 1-5, Romans 6:23, and a host of similar texts). The God of the Bible is a God of love and justice, not a crazy tyrant. Go ahead and set up straw men and knock them down; all that will happen is, you might burn a couple of calories.
      You should acquaint yourself with the principle of garbage in, garbage out; because it sums up your reasoning.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • cestlavie3

      Actually, Jesus would concur. He stated," enter by the narrow gate, for broad is the way that leads to destruction and many are those who find it." As for hell being a place of eternal torment for all unbelievers, I would disagree. Throughout the New Testament the contrast is made between those who "have" eternal life" and those that do not. The extinguishing of ones soul appears to be the consequence of unbelief. Of course, given the fact you reject the Scriptures, this is all meaningless.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  17. Not Fat

    I think it was Freud that said, "Religion is the psychological crutch of mankind."

    June 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  18. KM

    There is certainly nothing wrong with not believing in God. Every human being has the inalienable right to believe, within certain constraints as they apply to the rights of others, to believe whatever they wish. I can believe in the divinity of a tunafish sandwich if I so desire. There is nothing newsworhty about this man's stand. There have been extremely vocal athiests throughout history. The controversy is not so much an issue for society, it has application for those individuals who take issue whith it for whatever reason. I could personally care less what the man believes. There are much more compelling issues to be concerned about in society today. The economy is one of that comes to mind right off.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • John Gault

      You can pray it gets better.......

      June 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  19. Abbeystone

    They're still attention-seeking. What's changed?

    June 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Tr1Xen

      Great point.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  20. grantcv1

    Religion is the only form of child abuse that society tolerates. It scars children for life, causing them fear unnecessarily, pass judgment on other wrongfully, and be ignorant to much of what we now understand.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • worktolive

      Yea, you gotta be right-look how well the kids nowadays are doing compared to 30 years ago when God was still pretty much a part of family life and sin was sin. In fact, look how well adults are doing-husbands killing wives and kids weekly. And our country-it is broke and sin is rampant. Yep, guess you gotta be right.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, that MUST be it–because all other variables have remained constant, right worktolive? Everything else except religious belief is exactly the same.

      I'll bet you think bringing back the Lord's Prayer to the public schools will solve the education crisis, too.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • OTOH

      The downward slide can be also tied to the addition of "Under God" to the Pledge, and "In God We Trust" to the paper money in the 1950s!

      June 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • OTOH

      It's directly coincides with the removal of Nehi soda-pop from the schools... and the rise of artificial sweeteners!

      June 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • OTOH

      *It

      June 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.