Scientology Crime Syndicate

14 Feb 2000

Study: Religion no divorce preventive

By Virginia Culver
Denver Post Religion Writer

Jan. 8 - There are more divorces among born-again Christians than among atheists, a new study shows. Among born-again Christians, the highest rate of divorce is among Baptists, according to the nationwide survey, done by Barna Research Group, an independent marketing and research association in Ventura, Calif.

Twenty-nine percent of all adult Baptists surveyed have been divorced, while 21 percent of atheists have been divorced.

The results, which came from interviews with 4,000 adults throughout 1999, showed that 30 percent of Jews have been through a divorce, 28 percent of Episcopalians have been and 24 percent of Mormons have had a marital split.

Among other categories of Christians, the percentage of divorce was 21 percent for Catholics and Lutherans, 26 percent for Methodists, 34 percent for non-denominational Christians, 28 percent for Pentecostals and 23 percent of Presbyterians.

George Barna, founder and head of Barna Research, said the findings about high divorce among born-again Christians aren't new. "While it may be alarming, that pattern has been in place for some time," he said.

"Even more disturbing is that when those (born-again) individuals experience a divorce, many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of the churches' ministry to families," he said.

The American Atheists Inc., said the findings show that "religious claims of a superior morality is not supported by the data.

"Atheists reject, and rightly so, the primitive patriarchal attitudes so prevalent in many religions with respect to marriage," said Ron Barrier, a spokesman for the New Jersey-based organization.

"It would seem to me that churches are the last places one should go for family support, and the statistics bear this out," he said.

The Barna study showed some other facts that may be surprising. Baby boomers, "widely criticized for their selfishness and inattention of family needs," said Barna, have a lower divorce rate than the previous "builders" generation, those people aged 53 to 72.

Barna's study showed that 37 percent of the builders have been divorced, while 34 percent of the boomers have been. Only 18 percent of seniors have been divorced.

Other results showed that 27 percent of whites get divorced, 22 percent of African-Americans do, and 20 percent of Hispanics get divorced. Only 8 percent of Asians get divorced, the study showed. Barna also found that divorce in the Northeast is at 19 percent, but the number is 26 percent in the West and 27 percent in the South and the Midwest.

Barna interviewed people in the 48 continental United States. The estimated sampling error is plus or minus 2 percent.

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