Murphy's Law: June 1, 2004

Archives

The old adage that there are no atheists in foxholes does not appear to apply as much as it used to. It turns out that the active duty troops in the American armed forces are somewhat less religious than the population as a whole. 

Americans over all are 78 percent Christian, 1.3 percent Jewish, .5 percent Moslem, .4 percent Hindu, 13 percent unknown or none and the rest various other sects and faiths. But the troops are 55 percent Christian, .3 percent Moslem, .27 percent Jewish, .04 percent Hindu, .24 percent Buddhist and 34 percent unknown or no preference. Part of this may be a generational thing, as the troops are younger than the population as a whole. People become more religious as they get older. Another factor is probably education, as the high education standards for recruits means those in uniform have several years more formal education than their civilian peers. More literate too, as people in uniform read at a level a full year ahead of civilians. As people become more educated, they tend to be less religious. 

While most religions are underrepresented in the military, there are some exceptions. The Mormons (Latter Day Saints), represent 1.3 percent of the American population, and 1.1 percent of the troops. Catholics, which are 25 percent of the population, are 22 percent of the troops. The Mormons are recruited energetically by the military. Mormon families emphasize education and clean living for their kids, which makes them ideal candidates for enlisted or officer slots. Because nearly all Mormon men spend two years as missionaries, and many do this in foreign countries (after learning the local language at Mormon schools), Mormons are particularly sought after for intelligence, translation and Special Forces jobs. The largest concentration of reserve Military Intelligence units is located in Utah, a state with a majority Mormon population. If Mormons cannot be enticed into active duty, the armed forces makes it easier for the well educated and multi-lingual Mormons to join these reserve units.

Even so, when American troops work with those from other countries, the foreign soldiers are surprised at how religious the U.S. troops are. Thats because the United States has the highest rate of religious participation in the industrialized nations. 

 


Article Archive

Murphy's Law: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close