Below is commentary on the USA Today story Are There Really 64 Million U.S. Roman Catholics?
US Roman Catholic Membership
To no surprise Southern Baptists are not the only religious organization suffering from AWOL members. The 2007 Official Catholic Directory for the Roman Catholic Church in America boasts of a staggering 64 million members. However, according the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, 9.5 million people consider themselves to be ex-Catholics. Of these 9.5 million ex-Catholics, 28% said they left religion altogether, while 11% claimed to have become Baptist. We can assume (maybe) that they were re-Baptized by immersion following their conversion.
In 2005 the SBC claimed 16.3 million members. An increase of 400k members from 2000, an average of 80k per year. The rub is, prepare yourself, that only 38% or 6.2 million claim to regularly attend the church's primary worship service. In other words, there are 10.1 million "ghosts" on the SBC rolls.
Just as one may question the Catholic, they have the right to question the SBC - "What about integrity of church membership and accurately representing your rolls?" If you are seeing the inconsistencies and asking similar questions, have no fear.
Help is on the way.
"Who We Gonna Call?"
"Who we gonna call?" You may ask. The SBC Ghostbusters. Who else? They ain't afraid of no ghosts. The SBC Ghostbusters are a wily group of paraecclesiologists armed with proton pacs (read, membership interview process) and not afraid of a little ectoplasmic slime (read, difficulties of purging the rolls). They set up shop in a rundown firehouse and are ready for business. Their ghost eliminating method is sure to route out the Gatekeeper and Keymaster from your paranormal roster.
Select your paraecclesiologist SBC Ghostbuster.
~Dr. Raymond Stantz, aka, Dan Aykroyd, aka Mark Dever
~Dr. Peter Venkman, aka Bill Murray, aka Tom Ascol
~Dr. Egon Spengler, aka Harold Ramis, aka Matt Schmucker
~Winston Zeddmore, aka Ernie Hudson, aka Thabiti Anyabwile
There you have them...the SBC Ghostbusters.