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Religions Thrive In A Free Market, Too

Many people are disturbed by the rising appeal of the religious right. But I don't believe there is reason to be concerned--so long as religions must compete for followers and no religion receives special treatment from the government.

In a competitive environment, born-again Christians, Orthodox Jews, fundamentalist Moslems, and other groups attract members only if they meet spiritual and moral needs better than mainline religions. Most people believe individuals have the power to determine their lifestyles even when they grow up under difficult circumstances. They expect religious preaching to reaffirm their need to take responsibility for their behavior. With mainline religions failing to stress the need for people to exercise self-control and responsibility, they are losing members to fundamentalist groups with more traditional teachings. Fundamentalists also have been in the forefront of attacking the breakdown of the family, pornography, and disrespect for authority.