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ELCA Lutherans elect first openly gay bishop

(RNS) Observers say the election of the first openly gay Lutheran bishop in the United States is as significant as the decision to ordain women clergy, but they don't expect the decision to split the 4 million-member ELCA.

Martin Marty: Measuring religious intensity

Mainline Protestantism and Catholicism in America rise together, hold steady together, and decline together. The reasons for the decline may vary, from group to group, but few in church life have it easy today. “Decline,” it turns out, is contagious.