Gallup released another one of its trademark surveys, this time exploring which states are the “most” and “least” religious. Does it surprise you that Gallup found the majority of those identifying as “very religious” in the South (the “Bible Belt”)? Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote, “Mississippi’s the most religious US state, and it’s one of eight states where Gallup classifies at least half of the residents as ‘very religious’”. Of course, there’s an exception to the “Southern rule”. As we’re sure you’ve already noticed, and despite the fact that it’s surrounded by states that are either “average” or “below average” in religiosity, Utah’s the second most religious state in the country. Newport stated, “Coupled with the Southern states in the high-religiosity category is Utah, the majority of whose residents are Mormon… the most religious group in America today”.
Gallup’s Top Ten “Most Religious” US States (percentage identifying as “Very Religious”):
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the “least religious” states in the USA are primarily located in New England. Does that surprise anyone either? Newport observed, “Vermont and New Hampshire are the least religious states, and are two of the five states… along with Maine, Massachusetts, and Alaska… where less than 30 percent of all residents are ‘very religious’”.
Gallup’s Top Ten “Least Religious” US States (percentage identifying as “Very Religious”):
So how did Gallup go about putting together this report? That is, what does Gallup mean by “very religious” and how does one qualify as such? Newport explained, “Gallup classifies 40 percent of Americans nationwide as very religious… based on their statement that religion’s an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week. Another 32 percent of Americans are nonreligious, based on their statement that religion isn’t an important part of their daily life and that they seldom or never attend religious services. The remaining 28 percent of Americans are moderately religious, because they say religion’s important, but that they don’t attend services regularly or because they say religion isn’t important, but still attend services”.
Gallup’s Level of Religiosity in the USA by State:
However, why is there a huge discrepancy between the Southern states and New England? Apparently, it has to do with “state culture”. The Gallup report stated, “Gallup research has shown that these state differences appear to be part of a ‘state culture’ phenomenon, and aren’t the result of differences in the underlying demographics or religious identities in the states”. It appears that there’s something about the culture and normative structure of a state, no doubt based partly on that state’s history, which affects its residents’ propensity to attend religious services and to declare that religion is important in their daily lives.
So, what’s the takeaway? What did we learn from Gallup? Their report observed, “America remains a generally religious nation, with more than two-thirds of the nation’s residents classified as very or moderately religious. These overall national averages, however, conceal dramatic regional differences in religiosity across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Of course, there are political implications”. Religion is related to politics in today’s America, and it is clear from a glance at Gallup’s map posted above that the “most religious” states in the union generally are the most Republican, whilst the “least religious” states skew more toward the Democratic Party. This means that the most divided states… and, thus, those where most of the heavy-duty campaigning in this year’s presidential election will be taking place… are the ones where residents tend to be neither at the very religious nor at the nonreligious end of the spectrum. That is, President Obama shouldn’t worry about winning over Vermont as much as he should worry about Ohio. Likewise, whoever the GOP nominee is, he probably shouldn’t waste too much time campaigning in Maine, and should focus more on, say, Arizona.
29 March 2012
This is a crook survey due to poorly-conceived questions and crank presuppositions on the part of the pollsters. To start with, it disregards the differences inherent in two planes. We have Christian vs Non-Christian standards, and Sectarian vs Normative Christian standards. For instance, in New York and California, there are higher levels of non-Christian believers, whose definitions of “religiosity” aren’t those of the Gallup Poll. In addition, “Catholic” (i.e. Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican) believers tend not to be weekly attendees, for normal Sunday attendance amongst “Catholics” tends to average out at one in six. What this survey shows in bold relief is not religion vs irreligion, but rather Normative Christianity vs Sectarian “Evangelicalism”. Every state in the Top Ten has a Sectarian majority amongst believers… amongst the Bottom Ten, some are secular (in the West) and New York/New England are more “Catholic”, thus, having fewer weekly attendees.
My submission is that Sectarianism has secular and political ramifications. Let’s look at a map below of state acceptance of corporal punishment in the schools:
It’s interesting how the permissibility of corporal punishment and Gallup’s “most religious” status so often coincide. This is due to the tenets of Sectarianism (and these odd tenets do set Sectarians apart from Christians). To begin with, we have the strange idea of salvation current amongst Sectarians… that one “gives one’s heart to Jayzuss”… for a group that hollers so loudly about its adherence to Scripture, such a phrase is unknown to the Bible. Jayzuss is NOT the same as the Lord Christ worshipped by Christians. Jayzuss smiles at violence, Jayzuss hates all gays and degenerates, and his votaries are to attack all those who only seem “threatening”, not only all those who differ from them in doctrine, but in lifestyle as well. In states with Sectarian majorities, one finds over-permissive gun laws, and “stand your ground” laws.
This is due to the aggressive subculture of the original settlers of the American South, exacerbated by the Slave Culture of Antebellum Dixie. Evangelicalism is a religious apologia for racism, a vicious capitalism that would make Jay Gould blush, and a violent armed attitude to life. This isn’t “religious” in the least, and the fact that such people attend services weekly and “tithe” doesn’t redeem it in the least. If you want a key to the region, look at the history of Texas. Anglo settlers went to Texas and brought their slaves with them. When Mexico abolished slavery, the settlers refused to follow the law and revolted. Anglo society in Texas lionises these slave-holding insurrectionists to this day. These people don’t really believe in laws; they believe in personal revenge and “honour”, they would’ve refused to abolish slavery had it occurred via legislative fiat by the Congress.
Here’s another telling map… it’s of the regions that suck most on the Federal tit:
From the top, let’s leave Alaska and Hawaii to the side… they’re special cases, requiring special outlays. However, do notice that Alaska is on the “plus” side of the ledger, meaning that Sarah Palin took all the federal bucks that she could lay her hands on… that does blow her “conservative” pretensions all to hell, doesn’t it? Do notice that the Sectarian-majority states with their rants of “personal responsibility” are first in line at the Fed’s slop chute. In short, they’re hypocritical liars and smarmy poseurs. That’s “most religious”… do excuse me, as I hurl!
Sometimes, even bad surveys serve a purpose, as does this one. For instance, there was a crook survey just published by the Ecumenical Patriarchate claiming all sorts of crank notions… I’m going to go after that one after I study an independent academic survey more thoroughly (for instance, it undercounted Native Orthodox in Alaska, and, probably, over-counted Greeks). It does have a good moment or two, though. To return to the Gallup Survey, it does show us where the Sectarians are strongest, and where the Radical Republican Redoubt will be after the Obama Landslide this fall. Make no mistake on it… the GOP’s now so heavily tied to Sectarian crazies that it’s becoming a regional and confessional faction. However, that’s another post…