March 5, 2013
“Don’t call us ‘the nones’: In praise of religious independence”
Writing for the Washington Post, Christian Piatt says, “In politics, someone can officially identify as “independent,” and they are considered to be a cut-above the fray. We think highly of those independent thinkers. So why is it that, when it comes to religion, you can’t be independent, but instead you have to be a ‘none’?” He says that using the term “nones” for people simply because they are not affiliated with institutional religion implies something negative— an absence, a lack of something. But in actuality, many unaffiliated people may have found other ways to connect with God and/or with other people in distinctly spiritual ways apart from a recognized religious body. Often, however, headlines and media reports on survey findings aren’t nuanced in a way that captures that fact. Take some time also to read a response to Piatt’s piece from Alan Cooperman of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.