The Fleeing Nones

By Bill Maher

Young people are leaving the Church in droves – and not just because the priest has had too much wine and he’s horny.

A new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute finds, “nearly four in ten (39%) young adults (ages 18-29) are religiously unaffiliated – three times the unaffiliated rate (13%) among seniors (ages 65 and older). While previous generations were also more likely to be religiously unaffiliated in their twenties, young adults today are nearly four times as likely as young adults a generation ago to identify as religiously unaffiliated. In 1986, for example, only 10% of young adults claimed no religious affiliation.”  They add, “Today, one-quarter (25%) of Americans claim no formal religious identity, making this group the single largest “religious group” in the U.S.”

So why are so many people leaving their religion to become an unaffiliated free agent? That’s the interesting part: 60 percent said it was because they “stopped believing in the religion’s teachings.” Translation: “I know bullshit when I smell it.” 32 percent said it was because “their family was never that religious growing up.” Translation: “My parents know bullshit when they smell it.” And 29 percent said it was because of “negative religious teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian people.”  Translation: “You people are just assholes. I’m out.”

The religious freedom crowd can wage their court battles to not have to issue gay marriage licenses or bake gay wedding cakes or to make sure a transgender woman named Charlene, wearing hoop earrings and a halter top, has to pee in the men’s room, but, in waging those battles, they’re losing the retention war. You can keep singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” but your troops are deserting. 

You can spin it however you like and contend that it’s religion that’s under attack, but when your policy is to single out decent people for discrimination and second-class citizenship, other decent people just innately sense that’s not Jesus-y.