QUOTE: “Those distinctions, which seemed so important as the various Protestant churches were identifying and evolving ... are really not that important to the average churchgoer in the United States.” —Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, reacting to a recent study showing Americans are more loyal to the brands of their toothpaste or toilet paper than to their church denomination. The Ellison Research survey found that only 16 percent of all Protestants would consider only one denomination (compared to 22 and 19 percent who would do the same with toothpaste and toilet paper). Last year, a similar study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life revealed that 44 percent of all Americans had switched from one denomination to another. “It has become unfashionable to claim to be denominationally loyal,” commented Nancy Ammerman, a sociologist of religion at Boston University School of Theology. “It has become ... kind of the way people expect to talk about their religiosity, to say that they wouldn’t put denomination above some other important criteria. … You can have very, very theologically conservative Presbyterian churches and very, very liberal Presbyterian churches, so people have sort of also gotten into their heads that the label on the door doesn’t tell them what they need to know.” [Religion News Service, 2/3/09]
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