American Religion or Religinone?

GOPOPRO

What percent of Americans identify their religious preference as having no religion?

  1. How accurate was your weak prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. How surprising would this data be to the average Americans?

  4. Describe the trend since 1948 in Americans who identify their religious preference a “none”?

  5. What is your best explanation for that trend?

  6. In what way has that trend had the biggest impact on American politics?

  7. Explain whether this trend is good news for America.

  8. Use the data from the chart to make a claim that can be substantiated (backed up) by the data:

  9. A student named Wolfgang looked at this data and said to his class that “America is clearly becoming a less Christian nation.” Explain whether you agree with Wolfgang.

  10. If current trends continue, in what year will non-religious Americans be the largest “religious” group (plurality)?

  11. The Democratic presidential candidate who is most outspoken about his religion, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, is gay. How confusing is that to most Americans?

  12. Do you think most religious Americans will vote for Pete Buttigieg because he, like them, is so religious?

  13. POTUS Trump is clearly a non-religious person, yet many Christians are extremely devoted to his presidency. How do you explain that?

  14. Describe the impact you think religion will have on the 2020 election.

  15. Would it be fair to describe a very devoted non-religious female who lived in a non-religious convent as a “none-nun”?

  16. What state do you think is the least religious?*

  17. How do you think a state’s religiosity relates to its political affiliation?*

  18. Around the time of the Revolutionary War only 17 percent of the total American population belonged to a church congregation. How surprising is that information?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Read the Pew Report on America’s Changing Religious Landscape

Action Extension

Share any of the data on American religion on social media and describe the reaction in class or online.

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Let Religious Freedom Ring

What portion of Americans age 18-29 are not affiliated with any religion?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story this chart tells?

  3. In your opinion, is the data from the chart good news?

  4. What is the most significant trend (changes, differences between age groups,etc) in the data?

  5. Describe the main cause of that trend.

  6. What is the most significant consequence of that trend on American politics?

  7. Which age group from the chart above did the Framers look most like?

  8. Which age group from the chart above do Republicans look most like?

  9. Which age group from the chart above do Democrats look most like?

  10. Draw a column on the chart for America age 0-17. Based on the trends from this chart above, what do you think this youngest group of Americans would look like religiously?

  11. Is the religious makeup of the U.S. Congress more similar to 18-29 year olds or to 50-64 year olds?

  12. Why do you think that is?

  13. If the Congress was as religiously diverse as young America (age 18-35) how would the policies it makes be different?

  14. How much does your classroom or your school look like the data in the chart for Americans age 18-29?

    Visual Extension

Learning Extension

Read this FiveThirtyEight piece on changing religious demographics in America

Action Extension

Print out the “Generational Shift” chart above. Research the religious demographics of your school or your town and draw in a column for that data on the chart. Post the chart in your school (bulletin board, school newspaper, on a poster in the hall) or online.

Random but wonderful bonus visuals

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Separated at Birth Extension

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Church in State

What is the biggest religious group in the U.S. Congress?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story this data tells?

  3. What is one consequence of this?

  4. How do you think this impacts U.S. policy?

  5. What most surprised you about the data?

  6. How do you think this data has most changed over the past 20 years?

  7. How different do you think this chart will be in 20 years?

  8. What would this chart have looked like in 1790?

  9. In your opinion, is the increasing Religious diversity of Congress positive or negative?

  10. Which religious group do you think is most over represented in the U.S. Congress and why?*

  11. What is one impact of this over representation?

  12. Claim: Christianity is more over represented in the house than in the Senate. Using the data from the chart, Explain whether the claim is true.

  13. What explains that difference?

  14. How religiously different are the Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress?

  15. What explains that difference?

  16. The First Amendment guarantees freedom from religion and freedom of religion. How do you think the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment impacts the US Congress?

Learning Extension

Read the Pew Report on the religious makeup of the 116th Congress.

Action Extension

Contact your U.S. Representative or Senator and ask them to explain how religion impacts their work. Share their response in class or on line.

Visual Extension

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Bonus (unrelated and completely off-topic) charts

Separated at Birth Extension

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Religious States of Being

AP US Government and Politics

What percent of adults in your state are "highly religious"?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. When people say they are "Highly religious" what religion do you think most of them are talking about?

  3. What is the big story that this map tells?

  4. What's the biggest surprise in this map?

  5. How would this map have been different 100 years ago?

  6. How do you predict this map will be different when you are 50 years old?

  7. What is one trend you see in the map?

  8. What explains that trend?

  9. What is one consequence of that trend?

  10. MC Hammer famously said/sang/danced, "You got to pray just to make it each day." What do you think he would say about this map?

  11. If you had to give the US an overall religiosity score what would it be?

  12. How do you think US religiosity compares to other countries around the world?

  13. What is the impact of this map on the US political system in general?

  14. How did this map impact last year's presidential elections?

  15. Based on the map, explain the connection between religiosity and party affiliation.

  16. In the comments section, describe how you feel about the religiosity of your state and the United States in general:


Action Extension

Survey ten of your friends and family members about whether they consider themselves "highly religious." Compare your survey results to the rest of your state and share your results in class and on social media. If you think the US is not religious enough, go to church more. If you think the US is too religious, go to church less.


Learning Extension

Use the Pew Religion Calculator to find out how religious your state is, and check out the list of the top ten most religious states (mine is #10!)

Bonus Information*

Does Your Religion Like to Party?

AP US Government and Politics

In 2016, what religious affiliation was the most Republican and what was the most Democratic?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What is the big story here?

  4. If you had to make a generalization about religion and Republican voters what would it be?

  5. If you had to make a generalization about religion and Democratic voters what would it be?

  6. Many pundits say that America is a very divided country. What does this data say about that?

  7. Why do you think White evangelicals like Republicans so much?

  8. Why do you think religiously unaffiliated voters like Democrats so much?

  9. What does this data say about race in America?

  10. Donald Trump has been married 3 times and has never been an outwardly religious person. In fact this year, campaigning at Liberty University, he incorrectly referred to Second Corinthians as, "Two Corinthians". If you don't know why that's funny, ask your teacher. Why do you think White Evangelicals were so supportive of Donald Trump in the 2016 election?

  11. What was the biggest change in party affiliation for any group from 2006 to 2016?

  12. What exactly does religiously unaffiliated mean?

  13. How do you think these different religious groups compare by age?*

  14. If you were a Republican strategist, what about this data would make you happy and what would make you worried?

  15. If you were a Democratic strategist, what about this data would make you happy and what would make you worried?

*Bonus Chart

Learning Extension

Read the entire story at 538.com

Action Extension

Survey at least ten people. find out their religious affiliation (or lack thereof) and their political party leaning (between Donald J. Trump v Hillary R. Clinton). Share your findings in class or online.