16 February 2009

The Bible Belt

A few months ago, another CW blogger mocked my contention that the South remains the last great bastion of Judeo-Christian conservatism in the United States, even though poll after poll shows that to be the truth - the South is still the "Bible Belt."

Now comes this story:

A recent poll of more than 350,000 Americans on the importance of religion revealed that the nation is separated into enclaves of widely divergent viewpoints on faith, with some states and regions clearly religious and others significantly secular. Gallup conducted a telephone poll of 355,334 U.S. adults, asking the question, "Is religion an important part of your daily life?" As one might suspect, states from the "Bible Belt" scored the highest, with 85 percent of Mississippians and 79 percent of Tennesseeans, for example, answering yes. The poll also revealed, however, that in addition to the Bible Belt, the U.S. also has a pair of "secular strips." The New England states of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine scored the lowest in the nation, with only 42 percent of Vermont residents – or less than half the percentage of those in Mississippi – answering yes.

Complete story here. Virginia, despite the impact of Northern Virginia, remains a very important part of the Bible Belt.

"From Virginia sprung the Southern Mind, a mind which favoured the local community, Burkean conservatism, the folkways of ancestors, an unwavering orthodox Christian faith." ~ Alphonse Vinh


Gil said...

I am sure you are familiar with the Rappahannock Line. In eastern VA, south of the river is the South. North of it is "occupied Northern Virginia." I currently hold an outpost in Fairfax County.

Gil said...

A few years ago, then SCV Chaplain-in-Chief, Fr. Alistair Anderson, wrote a series of articles outlining religious differences between North and South that played a large role in the onset of The War. Basically: religion in the North was European oriented, largely intellectual, and stressed social work rather than conversion. In the South, religion was Bible oriented, stressed individual conversion, and was a religion of the heart.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Gil - I agree, but would add that the North was also heavily influenced by Transcendentalism and Unitarianism, which, of course, led to some of the differences you point out. Mandy modern historians fail to give proper weight to these differences.

It is impossible to fully understand the sectional differences without an understanding of the religious and cultural differences between the two sections.

13thBama said...


Greetings to the Fairfax outpost! I am writing from the Shenandoah outpost! Sheridan wishes he had the number of yankees that this area now has. Southwest Virginia is looking better and better every day!

13thBama said...

In reading some writing regarding the invasion of North Alabama during the WBTS, I was shocked to read how many times the Union soldiers stabled horses in churches and out and out trampled Bibles. They were obviously a different type of people than my ancestors.