Religious Diversity, Religious Tolerance

In the wake of a very bad month for religious tolerance in the US  — including the shootings at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin;  the burning of a Mosque in Joplin, Missouri; and the insinuations about Muslim infiltration of government by a handful of Members of Congress, later denounced by some of their counterparts — religious diversity has been on my mind.

And, as I often do when I want to make at least a little more sense of the world, I went looking for data. What I came up with included data on religious adherence across the county (from the Association of Religion Data Archives), data on religiously-motivated hate crimes (from the FBI), and data on the demographics of religious adherents (Pew’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey).

Here’s a data point that will not surprise you (based on the 2010 U.S. Religious Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study): among religious adherents in Virginia, Evangelical Protestant denominations claim the most members, with 43% of church members belonging to an Evangelical denomination. Mainline Protestants make up another 24% of Virginia’s religious adherents, and Catholics compose 19%.

Continue reading