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Skyline - featured 220X165A survey puts Rochester in the bottom 25 of of 189 cities when it comes to the religiousness of the population.

Gallup found 29 percent of Rochester residents very religious, meaning “religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week.” Twenty-eight percent somewhat religious, meaning “religion is important in their lives but that they do not attend services regularly, or that religion is not important but that they still attend services.” Forty-three percent not are religious, saying religion is not important to their lives and they don’t attend services.

In the U.S. as a whole, 40 percent identified themselves as very religious and 29 percent as not religious.

Most of the religious cities were in the South, with the exception of a couple cities in Utah. Albany, New York’s state capital, was in the bottom ten. (There’s got to be a joke there somewhere.)

The results of the Gallup survey are close to what the Association of Religion Data Archives found in 2010. Only 44 percent of Rochester area residents adhered to a particular religion.

Do these findings surprise you? What are the implications?

A federal appeals court ruled the Town of Greece favored Christianity when it started every meeting with a prayer. The court sent the case back down to the federal court in Rochester, the Democrat and Chronicle first reported. The judges wrote:

“We conclude, on the record before us, that the town’s prayer practice must be viewed as an endorsement of a particular religious viewpoint. This conclusion is supported by several considerations, including the prayer-giver selection process, the content of the prayers, and the contextual actions (and inactions) of prayer-givers and town officials.

(snip)

Christian clergy delivered each and every one of the prayers for the first nine years of the town’s prayer practice, and nearly all of the prayers thereafter.

You can read the court’s decision below. I found it to be fascinating discussion about church and state.

 

Links of the Day:

– Fewer than half of the population in the Rochester metro area belong to a church or religious organization. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, 44.1 percent of residents adhered to a particular religion in 2010. That compares to 50.8 percent in 2000.

Catholics saw a big decline in numbers, losing nearly 80,000 congregants , or 24 percent of its membership in the last decade. But they were not alone. The Episcopal church lost 40 percent of its members, nearly 5,000 people. Greek Orthodox, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist churches all saw big drops.

The area’s Muslim population nearly doubled since 2000 to 9,133.

The Buffalo News, in a report analyzing the data for its region, said adherence rates don’t tell the full story:

But it doesn’t mean that all of those people have lost religious faith, (researcher Dale E. Jones) said.

“In one sense, it’s going to be a big number because it’s a catchall,” he said.

Other national studies still show that most Americans profess to be Christians.

“If you go knock on doors, 80 to 85 percent of people will tell you they’re Christian,” Jones said, “but they’re not Christian enough to belong in the local congregations.”

– The Village of Webster is embroiled in a fight over whether to join the Monroe County Water Authority. The village has its own water system, but residents complain it has too many minerals.

– This is why throwing incentives at businesses threatening to move is not always good public policy.

– A Detroit sports journalist writes poignantly about his own battle with depression after the suicide of Junior Seau.

Should college football be banned?