Since attacks, religion's importance is showing more gains than church attendance.
Gallup is reporting that while America has seen an increase in church attendance since September 11, it hasn't been a dramatic one (video | text). A poll conducted September. 21 and 22 asked those surveyed if they had attended church or synagogue in the last seven days. Forty-seven percent said they had. But this isn't a dramatic rise. The percentage of those saying "yes" has floated around 40 to 45 percent for the last two years. In both February and March of this year, 41 percent said they had been to services in the previous week.
While more Americans are not necessarily going to church or synagogue, Gallup shows that religion has become important in more lives since the attacks. In a poll conducted September 21 and 22, 64 percent said religion is "very important" to them. This is the highest percentage in the survey since 1965. In recent years, the percentage has been in the high 50s and topped out at 62 percent in 1998.
Despite survey results, anecdotal evidence continues to point to an upsurge in America's religious life, church attendance, and a desire for prayer. Last Sunday, 20,000 people transformed New York's Yankee Stadium into an interfaith chapel. A Milwaukee television station is reporting that Bibles, Qur'ans, and books on faith are seeing huge sale increases, and selling out in some stores.
Media coverage is also focusing on the "life-affirming," hands-on, and enormously demanding ministry facing ministers, priests, and rabbis, as Americans now need both consoling and answers to tough questions. Newspapers have picked up on the religious issues that the nation is now wrestling with: "Where was God?" "Where was Satan?" and "What ...1