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1 October 2009updated 05 Oct 2023 8:31am

Recession hits religion

A surprising report from the US

By Sholto Byrnes

You might have thought that religions would be thriving, if that’s quite the word, during the global recession. In hard times, it’s easy to understand why non-believers might be tempted to turn to faith, if only as a kind of insurance policy. A report from America, however, “Religious life won’t be the same after downturn”, suggests that significant numbers of congregations and religious schools are in trouble and face closure.

The reason for this is that religion is big business in America. Nothing comes without a price tag in the Land of the Free, though the association between religion and money in the US has often seemed at odds with the messages being preached. Perhaps some of these institutions should have paid more attention to the words of St Paul:

As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches . . .

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