More Americans Switching Religions Some of the most e-mailed, viewed and commented on stories on the Web, including word of a rise in church shopping.
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More Americans Switching Religions

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More Americans Switching Religions

More Americans Switching Religions

More Americans Switching Religions

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Some of the most e-mailed, viewed and commented on stories on the Web, including word of a rise in church shopping.


Hey, welcome to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from the NPR News. We're online all the time at

And, you know, the news is made in a lot of different ways. But mostly, it's reporters, editors decide what they want to cover, what's important. Newsmakers say things, we cover them. Events happen. But what gives the news legs? It's you. You email these stories. You talk about them. You keep them alive. And we revisit those stories by a segment we call The Most.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: Ian, what do you got?

IAN CHILLAG: Today, this is the most emailed from the Boston Globe. Headline: "More Americans Changing Religious Denomination, Study Finds." This is a study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Pretty interesting stuff here. Forty-four percent of American adults have left the denomination of their childhood for another denomination, another faith, or no faith at all. There's a lot of interesting numbers here.

One sort of long-view thing is that people are sort of seeking more personal religions, and that - you know, and a lot of people are not affiliating themselves with the faith. People around the study are careful to say, well, that doesn't mean that, you know, people are necessarily leaving faith altogether or becoming agnostic. And you can actually link sort of people thinking of their religion as unaffiliated with the rise in evangelical Christianity, because those religions - while they are, you know, there are these big churches associated within with that, there's often kind of the offer of a more personal experience. Sort of a…

MARTIN: And they're a real departure from traditional Protestant religions and…

CHILLAG: Yeah. Yeah.

MARTIN: …big, major religious institutions.

CHILLAG: Yeah. And, you know, people can sort of find things within those churches that reflect their lifestyle.

MARTIN: Interesting. Well, thank you for that.

Tricia, what do you have to say? What do you have to say for yourself today?

TRICIA McKINNEY: I'm very predictable. I'm doing Google Trends. Have you heard of this thing? It's, you know…


Oh, you mean the most searched terms from Google?

McKINNEY: You're right. So I'm going to tell you about number one when I woke up this morning, but I'm not going to tell you what it is until a little bit. I'll just tell you where it comes from. It comes from Valerie Bertinelli's appearance yesterday on "Oprah." Okay, this peaked at about 1:00 o'clock yesterday Eastern Time. Valerie Bertinelli was on "Oprah," and she was talking about her marriage to Eddie Van Halen when she was 20 years old. And she admits to drug use. She admits to being unfaithful to her ex-husband.

But that's not what sent the Oprah people to the Googler. What did they want to look up? It had to do with her losing 40 pounds and becoming a new spokesperson for Jenny Craig. So the term everybody looked up was Walkvest. Here's a little clip.

(Soundbite of infomercial)

Ms. VALERIE BERTINELLI (Actress): These are the miracle vests. They're really amazing. It's called the Walkvest. What you do is you put weights in here, so you're burning more calories. That's what I like about it.

Unidentified Man: More quickly.



STEWART: I see - I'm looking at one online. It looks like a bulletproof vest. It kind of look like those things they put on reporters.

MARTIN: And that clip that you played, it was Valerie and her new husband walking out their house, zipping their little vests on. And they walk hand-and-hand off into the forest. And it looked kind of nice.

McKINNEY: It did look nice.


McKINNEY: Now, but see, I didn't watch this. I know you did, Rachel, so I need your help with this. So what did Oprah say that sent everyone to Google?

MARTIN: She basically endorsed it. I mean, after that - Oprah looked at that -because Valerie is describing how it kind of tricks your body into thinking your heavier than you are. As you continue to lose weight, you've add more and more weights. So you're actually burn more calories when you're exercising. Oprah looked at Valerie like, humina, humina. I had no idea there's something out there like that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: That's one thing my weight guru didn't tell me about. Get me a Walkvest. So she like looked at the camera and said we got to get ourselves one of those.

McKINNEY: So when Oprah says we got to get ourselves one of those, everybody goes to Google and they look it up.

STEWART: There you go.

DAN PASHMAN: I think I'm going to start, a friend of mine - gut is my permanent Walkvest.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: What do you think?

STEWART: Walkbelt.

PASHMAN: (unintelligible). Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: It's my Walkbody.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Okay, what do you have?

PASHMAN: I have the most read from the Anchorage Daily News way up there in Alaska. A brand new event - this event called the Fur Rendezvous in Anchorage, which apparently has been not so popular in recent years. Residents are discontented, so they added a new event to the Fur Rendezvous up there in Anchorage. And it is called the Running of the Reindeer.

So the article is "Antlers Away: Hoofs, Feet Pound Down Fourth Avenue as Thousands Turn Out for Inaugural Event." It's just like the Running of the Bulls, except with reindeer running down a snow-covered Fourth Avenue in Anchorage.

Now, reindeer aren't quite as vicious as bulls. In fact, apparently, they weren't even sure if the reindeer would even chase anyone…

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: …because these are domesticated.

STEWART: They're nice, actually.

PASHMAN: Right. Right. The article says they weren't sure whether the reindeer would run, amble or cower against the snow fence intimidated by the whole scene. But some of these residents were essentially talking trash to the reindeer beforehand by eating reindeer sausage. And…

MARTIN: Way to bring them back to pork products.

PASHMAN: Yeah, exactly. Well, that's not pork.

STEWART: Pork sausage.

MARTIN: I'd had reindeer turkey, it's not bad.

PASHMAN: I believe it. I believe it. But the event was a success, and no major injuries were had. And well, except for the reindeer that ended up with the - in the sausage stand later in the week.

MARTIN: Sausage.

PASHMAN: But it looks like the Running of the Reindeer was a success up there in Anchorage.

STEWART: It's good to know. I feel better.


CAITLIN KENNEY: I have the most viewed at the Wall Street Journal. Speaking of running wildlife, this is a story about how last week, China's state-run news agency issued an unusual public apology for publishing a doctored photograph of wildlife frolicking near a high-speed train. Apparently, when China launched their new rail system that connect China to remote to the end plateau, a lot of environmentalists were worried about it. So this picture came out, showed these beautiful antelope running by the train. And, you know, it was a fake.

STEWART: How did they find out it was a fake?

KENNEY: Well, they saw the picture first in a subway station, and this guy who claimed he's a really big fan of the photographer looked closely. He rubbed a little dust off the photograph and saw what looked like a splicing line. So he posts this online, and basically the photographers and animal experts, like, went nuts. And The Wall Street Journal did a really cool thing on their Web site where they sort of break it down and they point out the splicing line like a tell-tell rock. Things how the antelope wouldn't be running that close to the train because they've be scared by the noise. So it's pretty nuts.


PASHMAN: They even found a rock that is in another photograph by this same photographer. The same rock had been dropped in, Photoshopped into two different pictures.

STEWART: Buddy, use a different rock.

PASHMAN: Yeah, come one.

STEWART: It's like, just come on.

PASHMAN: That says Photoshop 101.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Matt, are you going to wrap us up?

MATT MARTINEZ: Is it my turn now?

MARTIN: Your turn now.

MARTINEZ: I'm sorry. I just barreled in here. I'm sorry to interrupted at the beginning of The Most. I'm such a radio professional. I'm in this other studio…

STEWART: Is this thing on? Is this thing on? (unintelligible)

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTINEZ: And I come to the studio, and everything's dark, and I'm like, hey, what's going on everyone? I can't hear anything. Yeah. National Radio.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: What do you have to say for yourself?

MARTINEZ: Okay. I have one of the most emailed stories at It's actually number seven right now. And I'd go higher, but we've already done those. You know, they're our stories, or they're things that we've already featured. But this has been a quick climber since yesterday morning. It's about beets, which I personally love - I cook in butter and serve in a salad with pine nuts and Boston Head lettuce.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Always good to know.

MARTINEZ: Well, actually, it turns out beets aren't just for salad anymore. They're also being used for melting snow and ice. And if you don't believe me, I've dug up a reporter. Her name is Amanda Rabinowitz from WKSU in Kent, Ohio, and she will explain now.

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