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Decline away from organized religion is slow and generational

To The Daily Sun,

Reading right-wing letters to The Sun recently reminds me of torn hot air balloons that can't get off the ground no matter how much hot air is blown. They huff and they puff but are oblivious to the torn fabric. All their rage is due to their inability to accept scientific, technological, and generational change. They feel threatened as if it is personal, which it is not. Change is always in the wind no matter how hard they rage against it. They cannot stop it no matter how many toys they throw on the floor.

Climate change denial is dying in the U.S. just as religion is. In a study recently published in the American Journal of Sociology, Duke University and University College London found strong evidence that religion in the United States is fading. This is wonderful news for philosophical naturalists who contend that the natural world is the only world we have so let's get real and stop playing make-believe. This steady drop in belief and affiliation is driven mostly by generational differences. Many who study religion point to the information age as one of the culprits. Over all, the internet has not been friendly to religion. In the past if you had a serious question regarding existence and religion, you were confined to a deliberately closed information system that frustrated any search for answers. Now it is very different.

The study found that only 18 percent of Americans under 60 attended church. As I noted above, the decline is slow and generational. A robust 94 percent born before 1935 claimed a religious affiliation. For those born after 1975, it was 71 percent. Of those 65 and older, 68 percent have no doubt God exists but that number falls to 45 percent for those 18-30. So, 55 percent of those 18-30 doubt God exists. There have been many studies pointing out this trend, of which the 2012 Pew study regarding the "nones" is the most well known. According that study, "In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15 percent to just under 20 percent of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6 percent of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14 percenlt)." In five years!

Politically speaking, this is a welcome death knell for the Christian Right, who prefer the Bible over the Constitution. This means fewer religious "insanes" interfering with our political system. While religious liberals are pretty mellow, religious conservatives feverishly fight for a marriage between government and Christianity, which is anathema to the Constitution. In 2015, Public Policy Polling (PPP) conducted a survey and found that 57 percent of Republicans want to dismantle the Constitution and establish Christianity as the official national religion. Only 30 percent disagreed. Some people are worried about Mexicans and Muslims but the adversaries are already here.

Regarding the move to renewables, savvy capitalists are investing in the future.
According to Bloomberg, "The shift occurred in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 gigawatts in new plants that burn fossil fuels, according to an analysis presented Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance annual summit in New York. The shift will continue to accelerate, and by 2030 more than four times as much renewable capacity will be added." Investors know that fossil fuels are a thing of the past for the main grid and public transportation and are investing in the future. America's biggest corporation, Walmart, states on its webpage, "More than ever, we know that our goal to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy is the right goal, and we know that renewables combined with energy efficiency is especially powerful: for our customers, for our shareholders and for the future of generations to come. Walmart envisions a world where people don't have to choose between energy they can afford and energy that's good for communities and the planet." Some Ayn Rand-styled capitalist preachers in The Sun don't even understand how intelligent capitalists think. They just can't handle change nor do they understand market dynamics. Its all hot air.

James Veverka

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Gov. Hassan needs to take break from her travels &get down to business

To The Daily Sun,

While Governor Hassan is flying around the country raising money from millionaires to fill her campaign account, I found myself thinking about my family's own savings account. The hallmark of Gov. Hassan's term in office has involved taking more of our money to pay for more spending. She has little to show for it.

When she ran for governor she promised a jobs plan and an economic development plan. After three years of no such plan, the chamber pushed through a law that would require the governor to actually create a plan. Not only has she not had a plan, Hassan had allocated funds for job creation that she hadn't spent. And on top of that, she mismanaged the funds she did spend.

Governor Hassan needs to take a break from her travels and focus on the unfinished business of her administration — namely, making it easier for families like mine to afford life's necessities and save money to get ahead.

Kelley Teunessen


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