Post Sept. 11 Increase in Attendence at Religious Services Levels Out

February 3, 2002

Source: The Seattle Times

On February 3, 2002, The Seattle Times reported that "in the weeks immediately following Sept. 11, church pews, synagogue seats and mosque prayer halls were filled as they hadn't been in years. People openly talked about God and religion, uttered prayers and returned to places of worship they hadn't been inside since childhood. Some predicted a revival of religious life in America... But these days, the initial rush has tapered off. Americans, it seems, have gone back to life as usual, which, for most, doesn't include weekly attendance at religious institutions... Indeed, a nationwide poll by The Gallup Organization shows that the number of people saying they had attended church or synagogue in the past week went up immediately after Sept. 11 but settled back down to pre-Sept. 11 levels -- about 40 percent -- by the end of last year... American society has historically gone through cycles of revival of religious interest, typically at times of massive social and cultural change... Religious leaders say it's human nature to reach for faith during times of crisis and just as human to return to regular habits when the crisis has passed... Even if the numbers are down, some say church attendance is not the only way to measure religious and spiritual interest in America. They believe that Sept. 11 has had an effect in much more subtle ways -- prompting everything from individual exploration of different faiths to a deepening commitment from those who are already faithful."