Single people are one of the fastest growing demographics in the world — but declining rapidly in churches and synagogues.
Did you know that single people are one of the fastest growing demographics in the world — and one of the fastest declining segments in terms of membership in organized religions?
I don’t think it’s because we’re “wild heathens” (as some might believe), it’s because most traditional religions ― Christian, Jewish, Muslim and others ― view singlehood as an unnatural state that must be cured through marriage. Religious leaders often give single people the feeling they’re not fully welcome in their church, and who wants to go to a party where you’re not considered on equal footing with the married guests?
I think marriage can be a fine and dandy choice, if you find the right person and want to do it, but I think being single is fine too. Each option has its advantages and each has its own set of challenges.
Although I’m not an expert on religion, my spiritual well-being is one of the most important parts of my life. And, as far as I know, there isn’t an 11th commandment that says, “Thou shalt be married.” So I’m disturbed when I hear ministers address congregations in ways that clearly leave singles out of the picture — or see church activities that focus solely on married couples and families.
Spirituality, religion and how it fits into our lives as single people is a fascinating topic. That’s why I’m happy to announce that we will be exploring this with a new column by Julia Duin.
Julia is the religion editor at the Washington Times. She has a master’s degree from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and has written five books on religious issues. She is also single, raising an adopted daughter as a single parent, and very well acquainted with the discrimination that single people often face when they run up against “marriage minded” religious leaders.
Be sure to read her first column premiering this week, Churches Dismiss Singles Who Wish to Adopt, and I invite you to participate in the online discussions at the end of not only this article, but all of our Singular e-zine stories that are published every Monday.