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By John Burger, Aleteia, Dec 08, 2019
Political scientist has found disturbing trends, but it’s the church where the poor can learn to step up from poverty.
“How I would like a Church that is poor and for the poor,” Pope Francis said soon after his election in 2013. But if the recent findings of political scientist Ryan P. Burge are accurate, there might not be all that many poor people in the pews.
Burge, who teaches at Eastern Illinois University and whose research appears on the site Religion in Public, wrote at Christianity Today that the poor in America are leaving the church “en masse.”
That, he said, is a shame, because churches (of whatever denomination) are the very places that can provide the “social networks and social capital” that can help the poor can find ways out of poverty.
Burge took four income brackets from the General Social Survey (GSS) and calculated the share of people in each who said they never attended religious services. “The change over the last 46 years was stunning,” he writes. ….