Sec­u­lar trend?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“Noth­ing di­vides the United States from Europe like re­li­gion. Amer­ica has its pub­lic piety and its mul­ti­tude of thriv­ing sects; Europe has its of­fi­cial sec­u­lar­ism and its empty, mu­se­um­piece churches. Ninety per­cent of Amer­i­cans say they be­lieve in God, while only about 60 per­cent of Bri­tons, French and Ger­mans say the same.

“Amer­i­can pol­i­tics is riven by faith-based dis­putes that barely ex­ist across the At­lantic, while Euro­pean de­bates take place un­der a canopy of un­be­lief that’s unimag­in­able in the United States, where polls show that a Mus­lim or a ho­mo­sex­ual has a bet­ter chance of be­ing elected pres­i­dent than an ac­knowl­edged athe­ist.

“The af­ter­math of 9/11 has thrown this con­trast into sharp re­lief and seem­ingly pushed Europe and Amer­ica into perma- nent, Venus-and-Mars op­po­si­tion. But para­dox­i­cally, our era may be re­mem­bered as the mo­ment when the re­li­gious gulf be­tween the con­ti­nents be­gan to slowly close. In the United States, the Bush era has sum­moned up [. . . ] a mass sec­u­lar­ism that looks to Europe and sees a model for Amer­ica to fol­low.”

— Ross Douthat, writ­ing on “Crises of Faith,” in the July/Au­gust is­sue of the At­lantic Monthly

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