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The question is often raised as to why Oregon is the only state in the USA to pass a law (Death With Dignity Act, 1994) allowing physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Part of the answer lies in that fewer Oregonians go to church, and this is again confirmed.

A study released Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, found that 27 percent of Oregonians are unaffiliated with any religion, compared with 16 percent of all Americans nationally.

No other state has a higher percentage of unaffiliated adults, although New Hampshire and Vermont, grouped together, are at 26 percent, and Maine and Colorado are each at 25 percent.

Nationally, 44percent of Americans have either switched their religious affiliation since childhood or dropped out of any formal religious group. The survey found that Americans’ faith identity fluctuates during their lives, with vast numbers moving away from the faith tradition of their childhood to embrace other religious traditions — or no faith at all. The survey interviewed 35,000 people.

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