For many reasons, religious beliefs have greatly influenced American public policy and political elections. Because of its demographics and history, the United States has numerically more Christians (and more Protestants) than any other country in the world. There are nearly 313 million people in America, making the United States the third most populous country in the world.
According to the 2012 U.S. Census, three quarters of Americans claimed adherence to the Christian faith. (Whether or not they understand Christianity is another matter.) These Christians have various affiliations: 140 million are nondenominational, 62 million are Catholic, 40 million are Evangelical Protestants, and 26 million are Mainline Protestants. The states with the greatest number of religious congregations are Texas, California, and Pennsylvania.
The next largest group categorized by the Census is comprised of those who identify as having no religion. Following this group are those who identify as Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu. more >>
Former evangelical megachurch leader Ulf Ekman, who in March announced to his congregation at Word of Life in Sweden that he was leaving the Protestant ministry to join the Roman Catholic Church, recognized in a new article that the decision had caused an "uproar" among the faithful.
"It caused more than just a stir when I told the congregation of the Evangelical megachurch that I served as pastor since I founded it 30 years ago that my wife and I intended to become Catholics," Ekman begins in a lengthy article published online by The Catholic Herald on Wednesday.
"It caused a real uproar in my country of Sweden, which remains overwhelmingly Protestant. The period from that day, March 9, until May 21, when we were received into the Catholic Church, was marked by contention and debate. I have binders full of articles, comments and reactions that appeared in the traditional media and on the internet." more >>
Hope Presbyterian Church of Minneapolis voted to leave Presbyterian Church (USA) and was dismissed back in May. The financial settlement for leaving was reached in late June.
The agreement was made between Hope Presbyterian and the PCUSA regional body it once belonged to, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.
In return for being allowed to leave, Hope Presbyterian must pay the presbytery the sum of $1.2 million and lose one of its campuses, named the Oliver Christian Ministry Center. more >>
A Brazilian billionaire preacher inaugurated a massive church building in Sao Paulo, Brazil last week, designed to be a $300 million replica of the original Temple of Solomon, as noted in the Bible's Old Testament.
The temple, which takes over an entire city block, is an 11-story building twice the size of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, and is complete with stone from Israel and a helipad for its founder's, Edir Macedo, convenience.
"This temple is not about a denominational project, but something so glorious and spiritual that transcends reason itself," said Macedo, according to the Temple of Solomon's website. "It will certainly awaken the dormant faith of those who are cold and will prompt a national and worldwide revival." more >>
Thousands of attendees are expected to attend the Assemblies of God 100th anniversary celebration in Springfield, Missouri, this week, including several international dignitaries. AG is one of the world's fastest-growing Protestant movements and the largest Pentecostal denomination.
"It's a great celebration of our church which is bringing in delegates from all over the world and all across America," says Dr. George Wood, the General Superintendent of Assemblies of God, as reported by Ozarks First. "There is a strong focus on evangelism - sharing the good word of Jesus Christ with those who don't know him."
In addition to AG General Superintendent Dr. George O. Wood, keynote addresses will be delivered by an array of international speakers, such as Yong Mok Cho of South Korea, Juan Carlos Escobar of Spain, Edward A. Grabovenko of Russia, Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi, Barnabas Mtokambali of Tanzania, Ivan Satyavrata of India, José Wellington of Brazil and Max Schläpfer of Switzerland. Other U.S. speakers include Hal Donaldson, John Lindell, Wilfredo "Choco" De Jesús, Nam Soo Kim, Jason Frenn (who ministers in Latin America), and Raegan Glugosh, a U.S. missionary to Romania. more >>
After two weeks of testimony, the trial phase of a legal dispute between The Episcopal Church and a Diocese that broke away over theological differences has concluded.
The lawsuit over the property and name of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina concluded last week, with the decision expected sometime in the fall.
In November 2012, the Diocese of South Carolina voted overwhelmingly to leave The Episcopal Church due to theological differences and the national denomination's treatment of the Rev. Mark Lawrence, bishop of the diocese. more >>