Patrick B. McGuigan
A new study lists Oklahoma as the tenth most Christian state in America. The analysis from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) compiles and distills information for all states, many municipalities and most counties. The focus is on U.S. religious adherence.
Reporting on the study for The Huffington Post, reporter Jahnabi Barooah noted researchers found Utah to be the nation’s most Christian state, with 78 percent of residents identifying themselves as Christian. Maine was pegged as the least Christian state, with about 27 percent calling themselves Christian. Latter-day Saints are included in the listing of Christian churches in this study.
The study focuses on congregations, members, adherents, attendance (weekly) and other factors. The newest effort includes expanded coverage of Orthodox Christians, independent churches, Buddhists, Hindus, Jewish congregations, and Muslims. In all, the analysis distills information from and about a total of 344,894 congregations including some 150,686,156 adherents.
The analysis includes Evangelicals and conservative Christian denominations, traditional “mainline” Protestants, Roman Catholics and adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons).
In all, the study’s sample listed, among other categories, Roman Catholics as the largest single group, at 19.1 percent of the population, followed by Evangelicals/Conservative Protestants at 14.3 percent, “mainline” Protestants totaling 7.3 percent, and Latter-day Saints at 2 percent.
Among Evangelicals and Conservatives, the Southern Baptist Convention was the largest single denomination, with 19,896,975 adherents (about 6.4 percent of the total).
Brian Hobbs of Oklahoma City, spokesman for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, reflected in an interview with CapitolBeatOK, “When it comes to religious surveys, Oklahoma typically tests high in a number of important areas, such as churchgoing.” The convention, Oklahoma’s largest single denomination, consists of approximately 1,800 Southern Baptist churches in the state.
He continued, “While there is much for which Christians can be thankful, we understand that our state’s social problems — such as the high divorce rate and high drug use — suggest there is much work to do in sharing Christ and the saving power of the Gospel in Oklahoma, as well as throughout America.”
The formal name of the new analysis is “2010 U.S. Religious Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study (RCMS).” The ASARB has done the research to coincide with the U.S. Census since 1990, building on studies originally conducted by the National Council of Churches and the Glenmary Research Center, beginning in the 1950s.
The analysis is detailed, understandable to intelligent “lay” readers, and the researchers’ methodology freely shared, allowing readers to consider the validity of conclusions for themselves.