The Good. . .
There are states with respectable numbers with regard to church attendance. It is always a good thing when say 40% church attendance happens. I am fortunate to live in one of them, Tennessee, and am surrounded by others.
We should cite these as relevant statistics in the arguments of whether or not Americans are a religious people and whether or not faith is vibrant and vital in this land.
We should not be content with these statistics or let them define for us whether or not the work of the kingdom is done. God does not watch statistics but has called us to proclaim the Gospel to every corner, to call the world to faith in Christ, to repentance of their sins, and to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. That does not stop because of good stats and it does not become more urgent because of bad stats -- it is what the Church does because of who she is. Period.
The Bad. . .
It is a sad state of affairs when the oldest of the colonies have become places where the faith and the faithful are the least vigorous -- thinking that one of the basic measurements of vitality is actual church attendance and not simply the numbers of names on a membership roll.
It is also a dangerous thing when the institutions of higher education, schools that receive disproportionate respect and esteem, are located in pockets the least friendly to the faith and the least tolerant of the faithful.
The Ugly. . .
The ugly is this -- the Gallup organization does not differentiate between orthodox Christianity or sectarian and distorted or false expressions of Christianity. So the numbers for Utah, for example, are highly affected by Mormon church attendance though Mormons reject Nicene Trinitarian doctrinal formulation and the Christology of Chalcedon which would be basic for any Christian orthodoxy.
The ugly is also this -- the reporting of church attendance is highly subjective and requires the people being surveyed to remember for themselves and to recall accurately how often they attend. I fear here that too many people have a faulty recollection that favors a higher church attendance than is true simply because people tend to think this way. So, good or bad, the actual numbers may not be even as high as was reported here. . .