Letters to the editor, March 14

Overjoyed to see more Americans lack religion

"More Americans say they have no religion," so claims a headline for an article in the March 9 Ashland Daily Tidings describing the American Religious Identification Survey by The Program on Public Values at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. More than 54,000 adults were interviewed in 2008.

Those of us who cherish critical thinking, intellectual honesty and secular values are overjoyed to see these results — especially the figures which indicate traditional organized religion playing a diminishing role in many American lives today.

Examining this study in more detail one finds some encouraging information: 1) almost all religious denominations have lost ground since the first ARIS survey in 1990; 2) some 15 percent of Americans called the "Nones," (people who said "None" when asked their religious identity) claim no religion at all (up from 8 percent in 1990), and this category now outranks every other major American religious denomination except Catholics and Baptists. The report concludes that "the challenge to Christianity ... does not come from other religions but from a rejection of all forms of organized religion."

It is this non-religious 15 percent of the nation's population that a growing number of grassroots groups around the country target as their audience. Community has traditionally been a strong factor in church or synagogue connections, but many non-religious people — skeptics, freethinkers, atheists, humanists, agnostics and others — also look for community, events and programs in like-minded groups, such as The Jefferson Center in Ashland.

Bob Semes

The Jefferson Center, Ashland

Enjoy beautiful daffodils

Again this spring Ashlanders can enjoy lovely daffodils, a memorial gift from a Portland resident for his sister, who loved Ashland.

Several years ago thousands of bulbs were planted all over town and this year again they are cheering us up.

Margaret Gelatt


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