A few weeks ago a column by Bonnie Erbe to nobody’s surprise who is paying attention (PBS on their online site actually refers to her as “non-partisan” which says more about PBS than it does about her) noted church closing in the East and painted it as a result of the old church orthodoxy:
Dogmatic, dictatorial churches do not resound with today’s spirituality, and young people are not clamoring to join them. So sending a message that says, in essence, “Follow my rules or go to hell” might be a good way of retaining older parishioners used to such harsh boundaries. But as elderly parishioners die off, they take the church’s message with them.
I live in a city where 4 Catholic churches recently closed and it is a shame to see churches close in NY and other urban areas, yet lets look at Dave Weigel’s column today about redistricting which links to this rather good 8 decade chart at the NY Times and what do we see? We see a flight of people not from the church but in general from particular states.
Texas’ diversified economy, business-friendly regulations and low taxes have attracted not only immigrants but substantial inflow from the other 49 states. As a result, the 2010 reapportionment gives Texas four additional House seats. In contrast, California gets no new House seats, for the first time since it was admitted to the Union in 1850.
There’s a similar lesson in the fact that Florida gains two seats in the reapportionment and New York loses two.
This leads to a second point, which is that growth tends to be stronger where taxes are lower. Seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average. The other two, South Dakota and New Hampshire, had the fastest growth in their regions, the Midwest and New England.
I suspect that if you want to see where the church is growing and thriving just follow that electoral population.
My oldest son is a solid Catholic who is going to college on a full academic scholarship. As soon as he graduates he plans on getting out of this state and I can’t say as I blame him.
So Bonnie rather than your argument concerning the empty churches I would refer you to Stacy McCain’s explaining the demographic facts of life and Ed Driscoll who says this:
And it seems rather difficult to build an emerging Democratic majority when two of the most prominent “liberal” cities in America (very much in name only, given the mammoth regulatory mazes and bureaucratic armies these cities come equipped with) have such poor future demographics. Or as Mark Steyn, who inspired our headline above with this classic 2006 article, wrote about Europe’s similar (and not at all coincidental) demographic woes, “what’s the point of creating a secular utopia if it’s only for one generation?”
As even Illinois, which is among the democratic states losing a congressional seat, is learning you can’t vote the dead if you oppose them being born.