As a non-believer (unlike some people, I’m willing to commit), I shouldn’t really care that people who condemn “organized religion” often do so because any kind of orthodoxy feels uncomfortable, icky, or archaic. Although I might not have any skin in the game (other than the skin that will burn in the eternity of the flaming tombs if I’m wrong) this exodus sounds like bad news. Established churches help a free society thrive as they strengthen communities, families, and civil society in general.

More than that, as a political matter, the consistency and stubbornness of those churches are their most attractive features.

Religion, after all, is, by definition, an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems that try to make sense of existence. These traditions, which often come with a couple thousand years of intellectual experience, tend to defend long-established mores against the vagaries of culture and ideology.

And these days, it’s these people who can be counted on to counterbalance the most zealous, intrusive, faith-based force in the nation. Or, let me put it this way: There’s only one denomination in the country that condemns this atheist for not accepting all moral codes, language, and ideas —and it’s not the Methodists.