Religion Worth Over $1 Trillion to America Annually
This is the claim proudly cited by RNS, the Religious News Service (here): “that would make religion the 15th largest national economy in the world.” It’s about the same size as America’s technology sector. God is great, allahu akbar.
The person making this claim, Dr. Brian Grim, is president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) and a professor at Georgetown University. His bio says he is an advisor to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, has given TED talks, and “has appeared as an expert on global religion on numerous media outlets, including CNN, BBC, Fox, CBS, C-SPAN, and regularly presents to high level audiences throughout the world including the White House, State Department, European Parliament, the Vatican, and various the United Nations bodies including the Human Rights Council, and the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the UN Global Compact.” In short, he is closely associated with the elite. Since the earliest days of history in Mesopotamia and Egypt, religion has always been coupled with the elites. (Christianity was a small cult before Constantine.)
A trillion dollars a year is a lot of money. What is being done with it? All major religions stress the need to help the poor. If religion only set aside a tithe for the poor, it could soon eliminate poverty. Why haven’t we heard more about this? Over the last half century, those godless Chinese Communists have done far more to eliminate poverty.
Dr. Grim’s estimates of value added are absurd, and would not normally pass the sniff test. But religion is special. Where else would the stench of pederasty and its cover-up be tolerated for decades? In academics, religion is the only field where intellectual dishonesty is not only tolerated, but is virtually required. Keep in mind that the Catholic Church invented the term propaganda. (Pope Gregory XV established the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide in 1622.) RNS and religious news in general is largely propaganda. RNS is less discriminating than most propagandists. You don’t have to be too careful with the credulous.
Update- The story recently got picked up by the U.K.'s Guardian (here). The paper's religious reporter simply repeated Grim's talking points.