A few years ago the Los Angeles Times reported that the 'most rapidly growing category today is composed of those Americans who say they have no religious affiliation.'
It's really not hard to see why. Respondents claimed they were alienated from organized religion due to its increasingly conservative politics.
It's not as if the examples of the kind of outrageous intolerance they're lamenting have been in short supply. Last week the world watched in horror as Pastor Charles L. Worley made headlines for suggesting that America's gays and lesbians should be locked behind an electrified fence and left to die.
'Forty years ago they would've hung, bless God, from a white oak tree! Wouldn't they? Amen,' the pastor from the Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina said. His congregation immediately shouted Amen's in agreement.
Pastor Worley was advocating the genocide of gays who he said would 'die out' from their inability to reproduce. Critics have wondered where he thought gay people came from in the first place but the pastor didn't intend to puzzle over the details.
A week before him Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina also made headlines for encouraging local parents to beat their sons if they exhibited suspected gay behavior.
North Carolina, by the way, has just passed Amendment One, a needless piece of anti-gay bigotry that prevents gay couples from forming a legal marriage or even a civil union, banishing their relationships and their reality to a legal outer darkness. The only way the majority of heterosexual North Carolinians could secure their marriages was to prevent their gay neighbors from contracting their own, apparently.
In twenty years Amendment One will shame the sons of daughters of the people who voted for it now. In the meantime it's just another expression of the religious and social homophobia that now engulfs the state and right wing politics nationally.
The message from North Carolina is the message from conservative Christianity: God hates gays, God hates abortion, God hates liberals, God wrote the US constitution, Marxist Socialist Liberals have defied God, God will punish America for its growing Godlessness.
These were once considered the views of religious extremists, but now they are sentiments parroted by Republican politicians seeking your vote in a presidential primary.
Having made God in their own intolerant image, and having decided He hates all the same people they do, is it any wonder He's an increasingly hard sell to the rest of the nation?
Forget the blarney! What it actually costs to live in Ireland