Dan Gilgoff calls attention to Melissa Block’s NPR profile of Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski by noting, “You don’t often hear American politicians who hail from the burgeoning ‘spiritual but not religious’ demographic discuss their beliefs but…” Here’s the extended quote from the governor, whom Block accompanied on an excursion on the South Santiam River to talk about his passions for fly fishing and green jobs:
“Sometimes, you have to get out like this to really understand why you
do what you do,” he says. “This is what Oregon’s all about. This is who
we are as people — on the natural resource side of our lives. … I
must admit, I may not be as religious but I’m very spiritual — and I
believe if there is a God, this is where he lives. He’s on the river,
he’s in the mountains — this is what it’s all about.”
Kulongoski might be out of the ordinary in another state, but not (as he implies) in Oregon. Its rate of religious identification is among the lowest in the country; and environmentalism is its civil religion. Kulongoski’s statement is more or less equivalent to the governor of Alabama talking about what a devoted Baptist he is.