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August 17, 2011

Comments

Agree that Indiana is a junior member of the bible belt.

Heck, even parts of Pennsylvania could be considered so. Pretty much any rural area that is not commuting distance from a big city and is not a resort area.

Indiana should be upgraded to full membership. West Virginia should maybe be a junior member instead.

The West half of lower Michigan is strongly in the born-again christian category. I think there needs to be a distinction on sects of Christianity. I wouldn't put strong Catholic or Mormon states/areas as part of the bible belt.

The bible belt is the South basically. The parts of the country where socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a huge part of the culture. Places where the first thing people ask you is what church you attend instead of where you went to school. I think that is a good litmus test of if you are in the Bible Belt or not.

I live in Omaha and there is no way it should be included in the Bible Belt. Most people are Catholic and there are very few evangelical Christians here. My friends that have moved to southern states are shocked by the social role of the churches there. No one would ever ask where you went to church right after they met you in Omaha/Lincoln.

You list West Virginia first in the Bible Belt? Have you ever been there? WV has gambling casinos and fully nude strip joints. Virginia has neither. WV also has a lot more bars per capita then VA.

Well, there's a lot of violence in the bible, so I think the entire state of Florida has to be in there.

I think this map is pretty accurate. I suspect you included the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas because you have never actually been to this part of the country and have no clue what it is like here. The culture is completely different than the South and evangelical Christianity is not prevalent here.

http://liberapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Bible_Belt

I would include central Florida (Orlando) as well.

Idaho is a weird state that definitely has that element there.

"Between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia lies Alabama."

Iowa is one of less than 10 states to legalize gay marriage. Would a Bible belt state do that?

Where do you place Utah and Idaho?

[HS: The Mormon Belt. And the Catskills are the Borscht Belt.]

"WV has gambling casinos and fully nude strip joints."

That's not uncommon. Louisiana, GA, Alabama and the Carolinas all have nude strip joints, too.

Atlanta has as many strip clubs per capita as Las Vegas. (although most of them are black strip clubs)

"I think this map is pretty accurate. I suspect you included the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas because you have never actually been to this part of the country and have no clue what it is like here. The culture is completely different than the South and evangelical Christianity is not prevalent here."

I think any state that has gone out of its way to restrict abortion rights, gay marriage and impose creationism, not caring about jobs or other important productive issues should be considered Bible Belt states...so, I would definitely include Kansas and some of the others.

Someone once said that Missour has St. Louis in the east, Kansas City in the west, and Alabama in the middle. The central part of the state is where all the religious enthusiasm is, but the cities are where all the people live.

Therefore I'd call Missouri a junior partner. Springfield is undoubtely the Bible Belt. St. Louis, considerably less so. Most of the white residents of St. Louis are Catholic and (like most Catholics) somewhat milquetoast about it.

New Hampshire is in many respects a northern outpost of the Bible Belt or at least the Sunbelt.

This map is most illustrative of the Bible Belt, since the term is associated with evangelical Baptism:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Religions_of_the_US.PNG/800px-Religions_of_the_US.PNG

Like Brian, I also live in Omaha and to suggest that the upper midwest is identical to the south in terms of religion and culture is naive and wrong.

Sure, its all flyover country, but it isn't religiously homogeneous. Evangelical Christianity is a world apart from other denominations. They deserve the appellation Bible Belt because they take the literally.

any state where anything a progressive doesn't like is going on = bible belt

"...take the bible literally."

Engineer is correct. Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania might well be considered Bible Belt too.

As a practical matter I hate the term "Buckle of the Bible Belt". You will get tons of google hits on that- all describing different places.

Atlanta "Buckle of the Bible Belt" Mr. New York Times? I dont think so.

I went to graduate school at Purdue University, which is located in a small city in Indiana (West Lafayette). Much of the area's social life outside the university seems to be church-related, and young singles seem to join mainstream Protestant churches in order to meet people. I think this is common in small cities and towns in the Midwest, but it doesn't really make the region part of the Bible Belt in the sense that Alabama and Mississippi are. Most of the people I met in Young Republicans in the Lafayette-West Lafayette area seemed fairly secular in outlook, even though most belonged to Protestant churches. This was in the 1970s, however, and perhaps things have changed since then. But I suspect that there is still limited opportunity for social networking in small Midwestern towns other than the Protestant churches.

Rob - You have a point. Kansas has done some seriously backward things. That is why large sections of it are in the map I posted. The rural parts of the country are a cultural wasteland. I totally agree and am not being sarcastic. But most people in the northern midwest live in largish cities.

I think all states in America "give rise to large number of Christian politicians." Are there a huge number of atheist or hindu politicians being elected somewhere in the US that I am not aware of? If you look at the politicians elected in this part of the country, it is mainly moderates. The northern midwest is filled with apathetic Catholics and Lutherans. Not southern-style religious conservatives. To include them as part of the bible belt is simply ignorance on the part of Half Sigma. I can't blame him though. If I didn't live in Omaha I certainly wouldn't be spending time in this part of the country for fun.

"I would include central Florida (Orlando) as well."

Orlando resident here. I do not agree with this point. I agree with HS's assessment that the panhandle is Bible Belt.

I associate "bible belt" with revivalist/evangelical Protestantism, and I don't feel that in Orlando. I think our population of Puerto Ricans and other hispanics, whom are overwhelming Catholic, makes it hard for Orlando to be "bible belt".

Some of these Bible Belt states may have all-nude strip clubs, but I guarantee none of the clubs have any full flavor women :(

The reason there is a lot of violence in the bible belt isn't religion, it's the demographic makeup of the South.

Orlando must be part of the bible belt. It is the only city in the U.S where a Christian music radio station is ranked #1.

I agree with the other commenters that the religious culture in the Deep South, where I am from, is extremely different from that of the Midwest, where much of my extended family is from. To categorize them together as the Bible Belt may be technically correct but it is about as predictive as lumping conservative and reformed Jews into one group.

I would define the Bible Belt as the SEC states plus Texas.

If you want to know whether or not you live in the Bible Belt, just approach your most conservative, white religious neighbor. Engage him/her in a conversation on whether it's possible that Jesus drank fermented wine.

If that person insists "NO!!" very vehemently, then you live in the Bible Belt. If that person doesn't, then you probably don't live in the Bible Belt.

"Some of these Bible Belt states may have all-nude strip clubs, but I guarantee none of the clubs have any full flavor women :( "

LOL

Orlando/Central Florida shouldn't be considered part of the Bible Belt. Demographically it's a marketer's paradise. Ethnic and religious groups tend to mirror the country as a whole.

A Christian music station being number one is more of a reflection of the decline of the radio market in Central Florida in recent years than of the strength of evangelicals.

"Places where the first thing people ask you is what church you attend instead of where you went to school. I think that is a good litmus test of if you are in the Bible Belt or not."

I live in the reddest part of the Bible Belt and outside of small towns no one asks me what church I go to. It could change in certain social circles though I suppose.

Also, while the entire Gulf Coast from Texas to the panhandle is definitely part of the Bible Belt, there are a fair amount of Catholics around there too so that may alter the local flavor of the "belt" a little bit.

The general social survey has questions on belief in the literal truth of the Bible, so that would be a good indicator.

Louisiana may be part of the Bible Belt, but New Orleans surely isn't.

People in these states should focus less on the bible and more on their belt. Yes, I mean they're fat as hell.

Living in Ohio and having lived in Indiana, I would limit the Bible Belt to those states south of the Ohio R. and east of the Mississippi R, excepting Florida.

States west of the Mississippi are conservative, but not in the sense of believing in the literal infallibility of the Bible. Even in the old South such beliefs are less common because of the South's integration into the rest of the country and large-scale Yankee immigration.

The Bible Belt may, in fact, be disappearing. We are long from the Monkey Trial.

MeetTheBlacks wrote, "People in these states should focus less on the bible and more on their belt. Yes, I mean they're fat as hell."

That's not a bible belt thing. The worldwide obesity rate has been growing for years. In fact, the rest of America is only trailing the bible belt by about 5 years. The rate currently averages about 25% outside the belt compared to 31% inside. That doesn't exactly afford one bragging rights.

Check out the CDC's animated map.
www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

Peter maybe you live in NH, I do, but I would say there is no public religious enthusiasm at all in NH. For me "bible belt" implies the public element. There may be some born again churches as there are in all New England states, but they carry no way "on the street."

New Hampshire's conservatism is more non-sectarian traditionalist and not a "Moral Majority" type movement.

I'm impressed that HS actually has heard of the pac-12.

"People in these states should focus less on the bible and more on their belt. Yes, I mean they're fat as hell."

Black people should also take your advice. Less trips to the Golden Arches and more trips to the gym.

"People in these states should focus less on the bible and more on their belt. Yes, I mean they're fat as hell."


From one those states and I agree. It's pretty amusing how the whole "gluttony is a sin" thing is selectively ignored by the great lot of them.

Shifting back to the original post ... southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois definitely belong in the Bible Belt.

The reason is that many people migrated roughly due west, so the inhabitants of those areas were originally from below the Mason-Dixon line.

This is why those were the areas of the Union that were most sympathetic to the confederacy (outside of NYC).

destructure-

"MeetTheBlacks wrote, "People in these states should focus less on the bible and more on their belt. Yes, I mean they're fat as hell."

That's not a bible belt thing"

You are right, but it is neverless interesting that Christians, particularly Evangelicals, seem to place gluttony in a different category from other 'sins' and are generally more tolerant of it.

I have known many practicing Catholics who like to drink and smoke, which is frowned upon in Evangelical circles. Yet I noticed when my friend joined a largely Evangelical Christian dating site on the internet that a huge number of the people on there were very fat (of course this may be the reason they are on the site, so it may not be a truly accurate sample). This tallies with what I have seen on my church visits over recent years to Baptist/ Evangelical churches with Christian friends/family.

Perhaps others know better and can enlighten me, but it does seem to be a common failing which is not fully addressed by churches. It hardly presents their faith in a very positive light, and does rather detract from the God Channel-type claims of Christians that Jesus has made their life whole and joyful, etc, when they are hundreds of pounds overweight.

[HS: Being overweight is correlated with low social class, low IQ, and low future time orientation.]

Iowa, in the Bible belt?

Iowa: which allows gay marriage?

Iowa: which recently has given its electoral votes repeatedly to Democrats, even when they nominated losers (ie. Dukakis in 1988, Gore in 2000?) . . . not counting 2004, when it went for Bush (which just shows what a loser Kerry was)?

Iowa: who has the lefty liberal Tom Harkin as a senator?

I dont think so.

"People in these states should focus less on the bible and more on their belt. Yes, I mean they're fat as hell."

Southerners don't necessarily eat more than others by volume, they just choose to fry or use heavy grease/lard at an alarming frequency. Plus, you have lots of dry counties down South and sweet cola drinks take the place of alcohol. It's no coincidence that both coke and pepsi were developed in the Deep South. (GA and NC, respectively)

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