I can’t remember if someone around here has linked to Joseph Bottum’s article in the latest First Things on the "Death of Protestant America." Smart article. Here are two interesting tidbits:
The death of the Mainline is the central historical fact of our time: the event that distinguishes the past several decades from every other period in American history. Almost every one of our current political and cultural oddities, our contradictions and obscurities, derives from this fact: The Mainline has lost the capacity to set, or even significantly influence, the national vocabulary or the national self-understanding.And:
The actual organizations at the center—the defining churches in each of the denominations that make up the Mainline—have fallen to insignificance. The Disciples of Christ with 750,000 members, the United Church of Christ with 1.2 million, the American Baptist Churches with 1.5 million, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with 2.3 million, the Episcopalians with 2.3 million, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 5 million, and the United Methodist Church with 8.1 million: That’s around 21 million people, in a nation of more than 300 million. The conservative Southern Baptist Convention alone has 16 million members in the United States. The Catholic Church has 67 million.