Sunday, August 15, 2004

The Not So Godless Northwest

On pages 52 and 53 of the September, 2004, issue of The Atlantic magazine, there is an article entitled “The God Vote”. In it there is a color coded map of the United States, broken down by county, which supposedly shows how "religious" or "godless" Americans are. Now, whether or not my part of the country should be called the "The Godless Northwest," I don’t know, but there is one thing about the map that immediately struck me as completely ridiculous. Looking at it, Kootenai county, here in North Idaho, which is where I reside, was placed all the way at the bottom for "percentage of population claimed by religious groups," which is supposedly the statistic used to color the map. But there is something fishy about this, because I can testify that never before in my life I have seen an area like Kootenai county where there are so many churches, located here and there, and everywhere. Everything from mega-churches with multiple thousands of members to little "strip mall churches." Given its comparatively sparse population, Kootenai country must have the largest number of churches per capita of any place in the nation.