Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Religion and Ignorance

A recent survey has determined which states of the United States are the most "religious."  I'm not sure exactly how those involved came to such a conclusion, but they would appear, at first glance, to be correct.

Here are the ten most religious states.

1.  Mississippi
2.  Utah
3.  Alabama
4.  Louisiana
5.  Arkansas
6.  South Carolina
7.  Tennessee
8.  North Carolina
9.  Georgia
10.  Oklahoma

All of the above are from the deep South with the exception of Utah and Oklahoma.  Utah, of course, is dominated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka Mormonism, so that explains their 2nd place ranking. 

Oklahoma, if you've ever been there, is, except for the eastern part of the state, pretty much a wasteland.  It consists of miles and miles of sand all of which is hotter than hell (in the summertime), and lately I've been reading it is a place most likely to experience earthquakes!  There isn't a lot to do in Oklahoma other than raise cattle and chase chickens.  And go to church.

Now consider the eight left - all from the south:  These are old Confederate states, many of which contain large pluralities who remain unhappy to this day that they lost the Civil War or, as they prefer to call it, the War Between the States." 

I've known folks from these states who in the 21st century still argue that the Civil War had little to do with slavery but was all about "states' rights."   They believe that their state's rights trump the rights of the Federal Government even though the Constitution and history proves they're wrong.

Not only so, but these states, collectively, have the worst educational systems in the nation.  They rank on or near the bottom in almost every scale of educational excellence.

Which may be one reason they publicly defy the "church/state separation" clause in our Constitution.  These are the states where, in defiance of the Constitution, they fight to offer Christian prayer as part of the school day; where they believe that their god will love them more if they post copies of the Decalogue on courthouse walls; where LBGT folks remain pretty much unwelcome; where a genteel southern drawl can mask an inordinate hatred for anyone different than a white person, born and bred in the South. 

These born and bred southerners may be religious and while most of them may lay claim to Christianity, their religion is a far cry from the teachings and beliefs of the man from Galilee as presented in the Gospel stories - the man who sought out the outcasts, the sick, the poor, those marginalized by society; the man who had absolutely nothing good to say about rich folks or wealth; who saw money not as something to be sought but as something dangerous and to be avoided for it could easily destroy the soul.  The Jesus of the Gospels is on record as saying clearly that if a you did not care for the poor, the sick and those in prison the deity would cast you into an eternal hellfire.  (It's easy to see why that passage is not a desirable topic for a Sunday sermon!)

Nor did this Jesus call on his followers to upset the political applecart.  He did not counsel making the government religious.  Rather he said those who would follow him should pay their taxes and concern themselves primarily about caring for their fellow human beings.

In summary, the most religious states in our country provide the worst educational opportunities for their citizens and religion is used to justify their ignorance and their hatred for people who are different than they are. 

Now, obviously not everyone in these states is ignorant nor hateful.  Millions are good people; law-abiding citizens who believe in and fight to maintain our Constitution.  Unfortunately, there are not enough such people which means the bad guys continue to win and rule.

If you don't believe this, take a look at the governors of these states, their legislatures and the people they elect to serve in the United States Congress.  Most of them would be much more at home in the 19th century and some, such as the clown Jindal in Louisiana, would probably find the days of the Inquisition to be the cat's meow.

* Pat Robertson (pictured above) does not live in one of the aforementioned states, but he's a born and bred southerner who would be comfy in any one of the ten.


William Kendall said...

There is such a backwardness among too many leaders in that part of the country, catering to the sanctimonious, self righteous whackjob side of the faith.

I saw something a few days back that made me laugh- the Religious Right would be horrified by just how much of a liberal Christ would be.

As to Pat... that vile man won't be missed when he finally shuffles off this mortal coil.

Ken Hughes said...

I hail from North Carolina and my hometown's name was changed from Leaksville, to Eden in a historic first and last for the state in 1967. You may read the story @ www.leaksville.com if you like. When I departed for good in 1993 there were within the 21,000 acre city populated by 15,000 Edenites and over run with 125 churches. Do the math and you will see the entire population could easily be housed under a church roof at the same time.

As a self-outed and proud atheist it was too much to bear. My missus and I moved to Fort Lauderdale and now live in Texas of all places. I've just gotta' get out of the south some day, but at 70, time's getting short.

I'm still a high profile atheist, look for "Wise Free Thinkers & Skeptics" on www.MeetUp.com and you'll see. Kep the big "A" flag flying high!

Lowell said...

Thanks for the comments! Ken, best wishes. We lived in Texas for a number of years. There's much to like about the state but it's run by a bunch of moronic numbskulls and I don't see that changing anytime soon. :)

Florida isn't much better, though, if at all!

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