Friday, September 7, 2012

America tightens its Bible Belt

Jesus Land in red, USA in other colors.

The bible belt is a vast stretch of wasteland reaching from the Atlantic ocean to just past the border of Texas and New Mexico, a primitive land of rusty pickup trucks, bluegrass music, and severe punishment for minorities.

In recent years though this land of sour milk and killer honey bees has been losing steam, as other religious groups, and political persuasions, begin to make inroads into the vast kingdom of Jesus Land.

On one front, New Mexico, which 50 years ago was about half consumed by bible belt fundamentalism, has gone blue, and only a thin strip of land on its border with Texas is even disputed territory now, with hispanic immigration bringing in liberal Catholicism there.

The hispanic Catholics are slowly moving north into Texas, and in a few decades it could theoretically become a swing state.

Florida also has a large number of more liberal immigrants which in the last decade has stripped most of its southern half of bible belt status.

Even Virginia, once a homeland of KKK members and incest has recently swung to become a more moderate territory.

Religioisity is curiously inversely related to state academic achievement.

As the bible belt slowly thins, marginal locations bordering it are slowly warming up to civil rights, racial equality, marriage equality, women's rights, and voting for people who aren't members of the Ku Klux Klan. It will be a proud day indeed when the bible belt inevitably disappears altogether as extreme evangelism loses more and more power, as it has been slowly dying since the early 1980s.


  1. I am a freethinker like you (i.e. please don't ad hominem me), but the high school graduation rates appear to have no direct correlation to religiosity. Take a look at the slightly blue graduation rate of Utah, the current home fort of those guardians of 'murkan values who pray towards Kolob. Among even more examples, the red values in the particularly secular northwest also fly errant to your theory.

    1. For all their faults Mormons do prop up education- albeit an education including mythology masquerading as fact- but they do encourage their members to seek degrees.

      The west coast may be able to be explained ironically by depression- the weather there is notoriously rainy and cold, and the rate of folks being happy does seem to also affect graduation rates.