By Christy Barritt
Least Religious States Revealed
According to a new Gallup poll, six of the least religious states in the country are in the Northeast, and they include Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Mississippi was found to be the most religious state in the union, with 59 percent of its population identifying themselves as “very religious.” Utah followed with 57 percent and then Alabama with 56 percent.
The results from the Gallup poll are based on the responses of 353,492 adults from across the country.
Gallup also identified two-thirds of the population of America as either moderately or very religious. Forty percent said they attend religious services every week or almost every week.
School Removes “God” from Popular Patriotic Song
Educators removed the word God from the popular Lee Greenwood song, “God Bless the USA,” and eventually pulled the song altogether from an upcoming event.
This happened at a Massachusetts elementary school. Students there were told to sing, “We love the USA.” instead of “God bless the USA.”
Parents fumed about the change, so school officials removed the song completely from a school assembly concert.
An online poll taken by Fox 25 in Boston showed that more than 80 percent of viewers were outraged that God’s name was removed from the song.
In response, singer Lee Greenwood released a statement to Fox News, saying, “The most important word in the whole piece of music is the word God, which is also in the title, ‘God Bless The USA.’”
Majority of Christians Hurt by Their Church
Recently the online news site The Blaze asked its readers, “Have you ever been hurt by your church?” The complete survey asked 13 questions and received more than 29,000 responses from participants regarding how they’ve been impacted by faith leaders and houses of worship.
Fifty-eight percent of those participating reported they’d had their feelings hurt by a faith leader in their church. Forty-four percent said that having their feelings hurt led them to leave a church.
When asked if fellow parishioners ever hurt their feelings, 64 percent answered “Yes.”
On the flip side, when the respondents were asked if they themselves had ever hurt the feelings of fellow parishioners or faith leaders, only 33 percent said they had.
The survey involved 2,600 participants, 97 percent claiming to be Christians.
Atheists Want Recognition in Military
The Military Association of Atheists & Free Thinkers (MAAF) is working to add more diversity within military chaplaincy.
The issue has come to the forefront at Fort Meade Army base in Maryland where an Army reservist recently submitted a lay leader application.
A lay leader in the Army and Air Force is appointed by a commanding officer and supervised and trained by the command chaplain. These leaders help with their specific religious group and support or fill in for chaplains when needed.
If his application is approved, the Army reservist will be allowed to work with chaplains to help atheists and humanists on base.
MAAF released a statement that said, “This would help to extend equal recognition and support of humanists and other nontheists at Fort Meade.”
Many religious leaders are opposed to this measure, claiming the move would weaken the chaplaincy. They also argue that those seeking nonreligious assistance already have that available through other services.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.