An observant reader sent me this article from 2002:
An important aspect of Americans’ religious beliefs changed dramatically in the 1990s. The proportion of Americans reporting “no religious preference” doubled from 7 percent to an unprecedented level of 14 percent between 1991 and 2000, and this increase is attributable to changes in both population characteristics and the politicization of religion, according to research by University of California-Berkeley sociologists published in the current issue of the American Sociological Review.
In their April article, “Why More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Politics and Generations,” co-authors Michael Hout and Claude Fischer* report that the decline had little to do with religious skepticism, since most respondents continue to hold conventional religious beliefs. Factors that appear to be responsible for the escalation in alienation from organized religion instead include demographic shifts (e.g., age group membership, delayed marriage and parenthood) and political beliefs.
Finally, some clear-cut evidence that American atheism was on the rise just before Hurricane Katrina! If reading the Bible teaches us nothing else, it teaches us that God punishes the unrepentant sinner more harshly for his very stiff-neckedness. It was this same quality which has led God to punish us over and over again this decade, for despite our pious President, our nation wallows in iniquity. Do you think the Almighty wouldn’t notice? He has, and has punished us accordingly. Hurricane Katrina is but one of many examples. Who knows, but that worse may yet come, unless we turn away from this secularist flirtation with perdition. Therein lies madness, my friends. Therein lies madness.