US News & World Report

More Americans 'accept' polygamy as legit, news media report, skipping faith voices

More Americans 'accept' polygamy as legit, news media report, skipping faith voices

There's a popular Facebook meme out these days: "You may want to sit down for this news: I have never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones. Ever."

Your correspondent hasn't viewed GoT either, and I've also skipped -- brace yourselves -- the TLC cable show Sister Wives, about a polygamous family.

But I do read the news, and thus Sister Wives appeared on the horizon when the Gallup Organization, which in recent years has examined various social attitudes along with its traditional political polling, revealed 17 percent of Americans surveyed now find polygamy "morally acceptable." That's up from 14 percent three years earlier.

Let the chattering begin, and, appropriately, let's start with the HuffPost (neé Huffington Post), which credits a change in wording with the greater acceptance, even if a Gallup official demurrs:

Gallup initially attributed a 2011 bump in Americans’ acceptance of polygamy to a change in the wording of the question. Before 2011, Gallup defined polygamy as being when “a husband has more than one wife at the same time.” ...

In 2011, Gallup changed its definition to reflect the term’s gender-neutrality, identifying polygamy as when “a married person has more than one spouse at the same time.” ...

The growing moral acceptance of polygamy may be part of a “broader leftward shift on moral issues,” [Gallup analyst Andrew] Dugan wrote, as well as increased depictions of the marital practice in popular media.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing same sex marriage in all 50 states, scholar and cultural commentator Fredrik deBoer argued in article on Politico that polygamy would be “the next horizon of social liberalism.” DeBoer seemed to echo in positive terms what many social conservatives ominously warned: that legal changes to so-called “traditional marriage” could lead to anything ― even group marriage.

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The liturgical color purple: Did Clintons make a statement about politics or faith?

The liturgical color purple: Did Clintons make a statement about politics or faith?

All over the world, millions and millions of Christians know what the color purple means.

More than anything else, it stands for seasons centering on the repentance of sins. Thus, it is the liturgical color for vestments and altar cloths that the truly ancient churches -- think Eastern Orthodoxy and the Church of Rome -- associate with Great Lent and also with the season known as Nativity Lent in the East and Advent in the West.

Of course, in the modern world Nativity Lent/Advent has been crushed by the cultural steamroller of Shopping-Mall Christmas (which already seems to be underway in television advertising). But that's another story, as in the actual cultural War on Christmas (as opposed to you know what).

Purple is also the liturgical color associated with royalty, as in Christ the King. In Western churches -- especially oldline Protestant churches -- most people link this connection with the purple candles in an Advent wreath. United Methodist churches retain some of these traditions through historic links to Anglicanism.

This brings us news-media speculations about why Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton elected to splash purple into their wardrobe when she gave her speech conceding that Donald Trump had won the presidency. Let's start with the top of this U.S. News & World Report take on the topic:

Hillary Clinton conceded the presidential election to Donald Trump on Wednesday in front of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.
Both Clintons made a bold statement with their clothing: Hillary donned a dark gray pantsuit with purple lapels and a purple blouse underneath, and Bill wore a matching purple necktie.
Throughout her campaign, Clinton has often sent a message with her fashion choices, so what did the purple ensemble mean?

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That Faith Counts study: Religion is bigger than Facebook, Google and Apple combined

That Faith Counts study: Religion is bigger than Facebook, Google and Apple combined

Whenever I teach religion reporting to college students, one of the first things I do is hand them a copy of an article by the late George Cornell of the Associated Press. It posed the question of what is of greater interest to Americans: Religion or sports?

Many people would choose sports but no, Americans in 1992 spent $56.7 billion on religion compared to $4 billion on sports, he wrote. I love giving people copies of Cornell’s piece.

Yes, it's old news. However, my colleague tmatt has written about its continuing impact. I have mourned the lack of a similar article with more recent data.

Until now. Recently, the Washington Post’s religion blog Articles of Faith told us there’s a new study out. The headline: “Study: Religion contributes more to the U.S. economy than Facebook, Google and Apple combined.”

I bet that got peoples’ attention.

Religion is big business. Just how big? A new study, published Wednesday by a father-daughter researcher team, says religion is bigger than Facebook, Google and Apple -- combined.
The article in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion said that the annual revenues of faith-based enterprises -- not just churches but hospitals, schools, charities and even gospel musicians and halal food makers -- is more than $378 billion a year. And that’s not counting the annual shopping bonanza motivated by Christmas.
Georgetown University’s Brian Grim and the Newseum’s Melissa Grim -- in a study sponsored by an organization called Faith Counts, which promotes the value of religion -- produced a 31-page breakdown of all the ways religion contributes to the U.S. economy.

Take a guess where the bulk of that money is concentrated.

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