A single paragraph tells much of what Hungerman has researched and reported:
This paper considers substituting one charitable activity for another in the context of religious practice. I examine the impact of the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal on both Catholic and non-Catholic religiosity. I find that the scandal led to a 2-million-member fall in the Catholic population that was compensated by an increase in non-Catholic participation and by an increase in non-affiliation. Back-of the- envelope calculations suggest the scandal generated over 3 billion dollars in donations to non-Catholic faiths. Those substituting out of Catholicism frequently chose highly dissimilar alternatives; for example, Baptist churches gained significantly from the scandal while the Episcopal Church did not. These results challenge several theories of religious participation and suggest that regulatory policies or other shocks specific to one religious group could have important spillover effects on other religious groups.Others may comment on the report and whether or not its conclusions are valid but those who trade off sacramental faith and life for radical protestantism are not only Roman Catholics. Not a few Lutherans have swum the Cumberland and shed the baggage of Real Presence, Infant Baptism, means of grace, Law and Gospel, etc. And for the life of me, I cannot figure out why.
I am left with the unmistakable conclusion they were not very good Roman Catholics or Lutherans in the first place OR they just plain don't see or care about the radical difference. In either case, it makes me mighty nervous. I have often thought romantic thoughts about Orthodoxy but I would be an Orthodox Christian with nostalgia and melancholy for Lutheran hymnody, liturgy, and theology. I don't want to trade one thing for another. It is part of what keeps me a Lutheran. The romance of other traditions must deal with the solid marriage I have to Lutheran confession and practice (though I do lament that the Lutherans who confess and practice it are not always very Lutheran in their confession and practice).
I cannot imagine that these were well catechized and could leave without longing or emptiness for what they must leave behind to join a church like the Southern Baptists. If they could leave it behind without regret then that signals a grave situation and crisis not only for Rome but for Wittenberg as well. Some who comment on this Forum are relatively harsh on those who swim the Tiber or Bosporus but far more Lutherans swim the Cumberland than toward Rome or Constantinople. If the findings of the good professor are found true, then, St. Louis, we have a problem!