Last week I happened upon a chart showing how common certain words related to mainline Protestantism appeared in the New York Times. I was immediately intrigued to see that Presbyterians have received better coverage than others since 1860 and that the use of the term peaked in 1937, appearing that year in 2,149 articles.
After determining how to create my own charts, I made one reflecting the names of the four traditions with which I have had formal affiliation: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Presbyterian (PCUSA), Lutheran (ELCA), and United Church of Christ.
In 2010 the percentages of articles containing each of the key words or phrases I selected were
- Presbyterian – 0.42%
- Lutheran – 0.11%
- United Church of Christ – 0.04%
- Disciples of Christ – 0.00%.
When considered as a group, however, over 1/2 of 1% of articles (1 in 200) contained one of these Protestant denominations in 2010.
- Why do you think Presbyterians have received more coverage than any other mainline denomination each year since 1860?
- Create your own graph by entering key religious words/phrases, then share something you learned from this exercise.