March 10th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

More Americans say they have no religion



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

More Americans are saying they have no religion - according to a wide ranging study done by Trinity College.

The survey shows 15 percent of those polled say they have no religion; that's up from about eight percent in 1990. Northern New England and the Pacific Northwest are the least religious regions. And the number of Americans with no religion rose in every single state.

Organized religion seems to be playing a smaller role in many people's lives. 30 percent of married couples say they didn't have a religious wedding ceremony, and 27 percent say they don't want a religious funeral.

Nonetheless almost 70 percent of those surveyed say they believe there is a God; and another 12 percent say they believe in a higher power but not the God of traditional organized religions.

Some suggest that the rise in evangelical Christianity is actually contributing to the rejection of religion by other Americans. The survey shows about one in three are evangelicals. The number of evangelicals is actually increasing while the number of Christians overall is declining.

Other findings include:

- The percentage of Catholics in the U.S. has remained steady since 1990.

- The percentage of Muslims has doubled since then but remains statistically very small.

- Mormons have remained steady as a percentage of the population.

- Finally, the number of Jews is falling if the category includes only those who define themselves as religious Jews.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when more Americans say they have no religion?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Religion
March 10th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Talking to Taliban a good idea?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama may have started a bit of a sandstorm with his suggestion to reach out to moderate members of the Taliban in order to end the Afghan insurgency.

President Obama suggests that like U.S. peace agreements with Sunni militias, there may be similar opportunities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In an interview with the New York Times, the president suggested that just like the U.S. made peace agreements with Sunni militias in Iraq, there may be similar opportunities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mr. Obama acknowledged that this situation could be more complex than Iraq.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai welcomed the proposal; and some Western politicians and military officials say this war can't be won by military means alone - that some kind of reconciliation will be necessary.

But others are more skeptical. One expert says "'moderate Taliban" is like "moderate killer - is there such a thing?" And CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen says doing deals with the Taliban could further destabilize Afghanistan. He says it will always be possible to bribe some Taliban - pointing out that the Afghan government has had an amnesty program for Taliban fighters for four years and thousands have already agreed to it.

But Bergen says these kinds of deals are more "in the realm of fantasy than sustainable policy." For starters, he says the Afghan government is too weak to negotiate with the Taliban. Also, the Taliban believe they may be winning in Afghanistan so they probably see no need to talk. Bergen says the Taliban and al Qaeda have grown much closer since 9/11 and it will likely be more difficult now to separate them.

Here’s my question to you: Is talking to the Taliban a good idea?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Afghanistan • Government
March 10th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

If recession lasts for years, how will you cope?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. economy has "fallen off a cliff," is going through "a death by a thousand cuts," and those who think it will recover this year are "delusional." All this according to a couple of the sharper financial minds out there.

Billionaire Warren Buffett likens the current battle against prolonged recession to a Pearl Harbor-like situation.

Nouriel Roubini, a professor at New York University's Business school tells CNBC there's no hope the current recession, which is already 15 months old, will end this year. He says it will "more than likely last into 2010."

Roubini says most of our financial institutions are "entirely insolvent" and the government should temporarily take over the banks, clean them up and get them working again. Although he says there will be a light at the end of the tunnel; Roubini believes things will probably get worse before they get better.

If that's not dismal enough for you - there's Warren Buffett. Also speaking to CNBC, the billionaire investor described the current crisis as an "economic Pearl Harbor" and says the economy has "fallen off a cliff." He says it "can't turn around on a dime" and that a turnaround won't happen fast.

Buffett predicts unemployment will get worse before it gets better; and he says inflation has the "potential" to be worse than it was in the 1970s. Buffett suggests that five years from now the economy will be running fine.

Five years. That's a very long time for the millions of Americans who are already suffering and have been for months - without jobs, with rising costs for health care and education, and with decreased home values and mounting foreclosures.

Here’s my question to you: How will you cope if the current recession lasts for a number of years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Recession
March 10th, 2009
12:00 PM ET

GOP becoming a cartoon

The Republican Party is becoming a cartoon.

Where to start?

Cafferty: Republicans are missing a golden opportunity to redeem themselves.

Bobby Jindal: "I'm certainly not nearly as good of a speaker as Obama." Good OF a speaker? How about not as good at eighth-grade grammar either. It's embarrassing.

Sarah Palin? Billing the taxpayers for her kids to travel to official events the children weren't even invited to? She finally agreed to pay back the state for that money she took.

Her per diem charges to the state in the amount of $17,000 while she was living at home instead of in the governor's mansion? She has now agreed to pay the taxes owed on that money. Another tawdry grab at a few dollars that didn't belong to her.

Michael Steele, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, down on his knees apologizing to the helium-filled poster boy of the conservative right? Pathetic.

If the Republicans are ever to emerge from the long dark night they have created for themselves it will have to be without pandering to the right wing nuts that comprise Rush Limbaugh's radio audience. Didn't they learn anything in the last election?

Click here for the full CNN.com column.

Filed under: GOP • Republican Party • Sarah Palin