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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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Of Church and State

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life just released a survey of religiosity by state. The poll ranked states based on four factors: how many residents call faith important, how often they attend worship services, how often they pray and how many have an absolute belief in God. 

Mississippi ranked no. 1. New Hampshire and Vermont came in as the least religious state. Because the survey required a certain sample size, some states were combined, and there were only 46 rankings.

Virginia ranked no. 18, with 59 percent calling faith important. Forty-one percent of Virginians attend worship services weekly, slightly above the national average of 39 percent. Fifty-nine percent of Virginians pray daily, and 72 percent say they have an absolute belief in God.