Saturday, January 31, 2009

The maw of the Bible Belt

Gallup has new poll results out: the religiousity of individual states in the USA.

They asked people "Is religion an important part of your daily life?"

Unsurprisingly, a majority (65%) said yes. And again, a real shocker is that people from the Bible Belt states were far more likely to say yes than people from Pacific or New England states. This data matches nicely with gallup's previous poll, which indicates that these states have large non-religious populations while the Bible Belt states have relatively few. The religious epicenter is undoubtedly somewhere in Alabama, spreading like kudzu to all nearby states, including my own state of North Carolina, #8 on the rarely-coveted most religious states in the Union category.

It's official, I live in Jesusland USA.

In North Carolina in particular, the joke is that we have two religions: Baptist and Catholic. (Other protestant denominations are dwarfed by the baptists, there are very few non-Christian believers, and evangelicals are humorously known to view Catholicism as another religion entirely rather than a different denomination in the same religion)

The good news is that the religious stranglehold is slipping, with national dips in approval of organized religion and increasing secular outlooks among the younger generations. So maybe there's hope after all.

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