The most blogged about news story of the day:
A study claims that the religious devotion in the United States may actually contribute to its ills.
From a Times of London account published Tuesday:
The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, reports: "Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly skeptical world.
Author of the study is a social scientist from Baltimore named Gregory S. Paul, who mined data from the International Social Survey Programme, Gallup and other research groups to compare murder rates, abortion, suicide, teenage pregnancy etc... (Googling Paul, he appears to be a paleontologist.)
The Times: The study concluded that the US was the worlds only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from " uniquely high" adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.
"The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so."
This has attracted some comment.
"A truly astounding display of bigotry and arrogance," writes The Wide Awakes.
A commenter at Jew School kvetches:
It's really a us bashing story, comparing non religious uk (supposed low crime rate) with religious us (high crime rate); anyone with 1/8 of an ounce of brain would note there are hundreds of differences between the us and the uk that might contribute to different crime rates having nothing to do with religion. simple exercise, you're walking down a dark alley late at night, would you rather meet someone just coming out of a church meeting, or anyone else?
Peter C Glover's Wires From the Bunker doesn't buy it:
I can only apologise to our American cousins that a leading national British newspaper should have sunk so low. May God help us and perhaps give some of us who care sufficiently about truth to have the strength to do more than just carp about it.
I really cant imagine how much better a country this would be if we again started putting money into daycare, Headstart, and our schools.