Christians experience a sharp decline in U.S.

They still dominate the American landscape and its politics, but as a percentage of the population, Christians have suffered a sharp decline over the last seven years, according to the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life:

Historically black Protestant denominations have held steady. White evangelical Protestant groups have increased in raw numbers, but their share of the growing U.S. population has decreased slightly.

The South remains the most religious region in the U.S., but it is subject to the same trend:

Religious “nones” now constitute 19% of the adult population in the South (up from 13% in 2007), 22% of the population in the Midwest (up from 16%), 25% of the population in the Northeast (up from 16%) and 28% of the population in the West (up from 21%). In the West, the religiously unaffiliated are more numerous than Catholics (23%), evangelicals (22%) and every other religious group.

***

The business community has a lot of backs to watch after this legislative session. We're starting to see the payback begin.

Among the fiercest advocates was state Sen. Brandon Beach, the Alpharetta Republican and MARTA champion. A fundraiser is being held for him tonight, and the list of hosts is impressive: Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk.

You can see the invite here.

***

Prior to Monday’s vote for majority leader, members of the House Republican caucus eulogized state Rep. Harry Geisinger, who died earlier this month.

So far, we’ve heard only one name mentioned as a candidate to replace the north Fulton lawmaker – and that would be Betty Price, the Roswell city council member and spouse of U.S. Rep. Tom Price.

***

As we reported, House Republicans named Jon Burns of Newington as their majority leader on Monday. Burns, a member of Speaker David Ralston's leadership team, defeated Allen Peake of Macon, who -- in his speech to the body -- alluded to a fear of retaliation among his supporters.

Peake seems to have changed his mind. From his note to House Republicans, entitled "Learning from Losing":

"I also want to be very clear - Jon Burns won this race fair and square, in a secret ballot. Our members voted as they saw fit, who they thought was the best candidate. He is our duly elected Majority Leader, and I respect the will of our House members. No one forced anyone to vote for or against me, or Jon. The ballot box is the ultimate determiner of who we want leading us. And I respect that."

***

A third camp has emerged in the battle for GOP chair between John Padgett and challenger Alex Johnson: The 'none of the above' ticket.

Jessica Szilagyi over at Peach Pundit urges disaffected Republicans - "the silent majority," she calls them - to protest the race by abstaining from the vote this weekend. She writes:

Neither candidate has outlined how they will bring the party together and ensure victory in 2016. Even a novice knows we had a lot going “for” Republicans in the 2014 elections. We will have to work harder and longer to yield the same results in 2016. And we don’t need the same results in 2016 – we need better.

We’ve seen no mention of assets, financial or otherwise. We’ve seen no charisma, no vision, not even a quality joke. There’s been no attempt to win our votes for either side. The sides are split and both candidates are counting on their ‘team.’

She's not alone. Among her comrades are delegates from Newton, Spalding and Harris counties, as well as Jason Pye, an influential libertarian voice in the Georgia GOP.

All in all, this is a blow to Johnson's insurgent chairmanship campaign.

***

The Augusta Chronicle reports that more than 700 people attended Monday funeral services for former state senator Joey Brush, 59, who died when a car pulled into the path of his motorcycle. The article includes this:

The former legislator was a longtime advocate for motorcycle safety legislation and motorcyclists rights, and a large contingent of bikers were at Monday’s funeral to pay their respects. More than 30 Harleys and other motorcycles were parked prominently in the front of the church on Cox Road.

***

Not to call sour grapes, but if you Google the phrase “Volvo and South Carolina,” up pops a Forbes magazine article riffing off the company’s decision to set up shop in South Carolina:

[T]he Volvo announcement debuts as a bit of a head-scratcher to some players in the automotive industry and to some economic-development experts who are trying to understand the fundamental assumptions and underlying strategic goals of Volvo and its parent, China-based Zhejiang Geely Holdings. Volvo executives didn’t immediately provide a lot of details about their strategy, motives and plans.

Volvo has few U.S. sales, non-descript products, a paltry number of dealers, and a brand reputation in this country that most charitably can be described as dormant. So there aren’t a lot of reasons to believe Volvo’s fortunes in America will change much, especially over the short term. Yet the company seems determined to erect a plant in the United States anyway.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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