Do you know what the fastest growing religion in America is? It isn’t Christianity. According to the latest U.S. Religion Census that was just released on May 1, 2012, the fastest growing religion in America is Islam. The data for the census was compiled by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, and the results were released by the Association of Religion Data Archives. From the year 2000 to the year 2010, the census found that the number of Muslims living inside the United States increased by about 1 million to 2.6 million – a stunning increase of 66.7 percent. That is an astounding rate of growth. Meanwhile, most Christian denominations had rates of growth that were far below the overall rate of population growth in the United States, and some Christian denominations actually lost members. Sadly, when Barack Obama once said that “we are no longer a Christian nation” he wasn’t too far off the mark. Christianity is rapidly losing influence and other religions such as Islam are rapidly gaining members and building new places of worship. As other major religions such as Islam continue to grow in the United States, it is inevitable that this will reshape America in many different ways in the years ahead.
So what about other religious groups?
How did they fare according to the U.S. Religion Census?
Well, the following are some of the growth rates for major religious organizations from the year 2000 to the year 2010….
Evangelical Protestants: +1.7% (far behind the overall rate of population growth)
Mainline Protestants: -12.8% (an astounding decline)
But it was Islam that experienced the most explosive growth.
According to Ihsan Bagby, a professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Kentucky, there were about 1,200 mosques in America back in the year 2000.
According to this new census, there are now 2,106.
And these mega-mosques are not going unused. In some areas of the country, Islamic communities are experiencing absolutely explosive growth.
The following example comes from a recent USA Today article….
Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, saw growth explode by a whopping 473 percent in and around Orlando’s Orange County, according to the RCMS study, and he thinks the growth is actually double the 10,000 new Muslims reported by the study.
He said Muslim growth has been fueled by a wave of post-9/11 converts, American-born children of immigrants having kids of their own, and jobs in the booming medical industry. In central Florida, he said, Muslims are just following everyone else in search of “better weather, cheaper prices, cheaper homes.”
A lot of this growth is being fueled by immigration. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center back in 2007 discovered that 39 percent of all adult Muslims living in America were immigrants that had arrived in the United States since 1990.
This rapid influx of Muslims is reshaping communities all over America. For example, Muslim students now account for approximately 10 percent of the total number of students in the New York City School District.
And all over the country many school districts are now changing their school calendars to observe Islamic holidays.
In fact, in Dearborn, Michigan football practices are actually scheduled around Ramadan. The following is from a Fox News article….
In Dearborn, Mich., where schools are closed on both the day before and the day of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the predominantly-Muslim football team has switched its two-a-day summer practice schedule to 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. during Ramadan, so that Muslim players — who fast while the sun is up – won’t be forced to practice in the heat without drinking water.
The move received little backlash in Dearborn, because most of the football players are Muslims.
Dearborn is located just outside of Detroit, and it contains one of the densest Arab communities outside of the Middle East. Each day, the local mosque’s call to prayer can be clearly heard all over the city. Dearborn is a clear example of why we can no longer call America a “Christian nation”.
But Islam is not the only non-Christian religion that is growing rapidly in America.
The latest U.S. Religion Census found that non-Christian groups grew by 32 percent overall from the year 2000 to the year 2010.
Meanwhile, as I have written about previously, the decline of Christianity in America is accelerating.
By 2008, only 76 percent of all Americans identified themselves as “Christian” of one sort or another.
Meanwhile, atheism and the “not religious” are experiencing huge gains in numbers. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau says that the number of Americans with “no religion” more than doubled between 1990 and 2008.
Even many of those that still apply the label of “Christian” to themselves are not very committed. The latest U.S. Religion Census found that approximately 150 million Americans are not actively engaged with any religious community at all. That is nearly half of the population.
So America is changing.
It is becoming less religious and it is becoming less Christian.
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