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Religion across the globe is changing — but not the way that you think

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AlterNet and other progressive news sites frequently publish articles about the decline of Christian hegemony in the United States. While this view is to some extent true, it doesn’t necessarily account for other long-term demographic trends, including population growth and migration. In a new report, The Future of World Religions, the Pew Research Center attempts to round out the picture and look at patterns of faith on a global scale.

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Because of the difficulty of anticipating world events far in the future, the report tracks projections through 2050, a span of time during which the world’s population will increase from 6.9 to 9.3 billion. The findings are fascinating. Over the next few decades, the world’s religious composition will shift dramatically, thanks primarily to “differences in fertility rates and the size of youth populations among the world’s major religions.” By 2050, for the first time in history, the percentage of the population that is Muslim (30%) will be nearly equal to the percentage that is Christian (31%). And while all the major religious groups except Buddhists will see an increase in absolute numbers, many, including the unaffiliated, will decline as a share of the global population.

The overall decline in the unaffiliated population speaks to the importance of geography in analyzing patterns of religious growth. Countries such as the United States and France will see a rise in people who identify as atheist, agnostic or other, helping to drive the total number of unaffiliated from 1.13 to 1.23 billion. In the U.S., they will grow from 16 to 26 percent of the population by midcentury, an increase that will have a significant impact on our political culture and legislative focus. In 40 years, for instance, we may not be battling for so-called religious freedom bills in three states. We know that “nones” tend to be more politically liberal, more highly educated and younger than other religious groups.

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But globally, their share of the population will fall:

Religions with many adherents in developing countries—where birthrates are high, and infant mortality rates generally have been falling—are likely to grow quickly….Today’s religiously unaffiliated population…is heavily concentrated in places with low fertility and aging populations, such as Europe, North America, China and Japan.

Youth and fertility rates help explain the huge projected increase in the Muslim population, which will grow by an astonishing 73 percent. Islam will spread faster than any other major religion, in part because Muslims have the highest fertility rate (3.1 children per women) and the youngest population (34 percent are under the age of 15).

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‘Horde of clueless angry white men’: Internet mocks Matt Gaetz for leading a raid on a secure impeachment hearing

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On Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) led a gang of two dozen conservative lawmakers as they barged into a classified evidence meeting in the impeachment proceeding against President Donald Trump.

Gaetz — who is not a member of the Intelligence Committee but has demanded the right to review sensitive evidence as if he is one — received scorn from commenters on social media for his stunt:

This is their plan? I’m so fucking relieved we’re up against Matt Gaetz.

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BUSTED: Newly uncovered White House budget docs undercut one of Trump’s last defenses in Ukraine scandal

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President Donald Trump's insistence that he only pushed Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden because he was concerned about "corruption" has been one of his primary defenses against House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

However, the Washington Post has uncovered some White House budget documents that directly undercut the president's defense.

According to the Post, the Trump administration "has sought repeatedly to cut foreign aid programs tasked with combating corruption in Ukraine and elsewhere overseas" even though the White House has insisted that it is laser-focused on promoting good governance in the country.

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‘Beyond parody’: Matt Gaetz and dozens of his GOP colleagues try to barge into secret hearing in latest anti-impeachment stunt

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On Wednesday, a group of right-wing representatives led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tried to storm into a secure facility for classified information being used as part of the impeachment proceedings, demanding to be informed of the process.

They are almost certain to be ejected because they are not members of the committees reviewing the evidence.

Reporters reacted with astonishment at the stunt:

More than two dozen House conservatives rail on Schiff and the process outside the closed impeachment proceedings, and have now entered the SCIF - and they are bound to be kicked out bc they don’t serve on the three committees conducting the probe. It is being led by Matt Gaetz

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