by Max Brantley
On Christmas Eve, Brummett ponders the South, a place with more church goers, more race problems and better football than just about anywhere.
Plainly, traditional religious devotion has political and cultural overtones. Those states most religious in the traditional sense are also the most culturally and politically conservative. Republican, that is.
They also have some of the nation’s most severe poverty and some of the nation’s most stubbornly lingering racial division and inequality. In fact, the state ranked first in all major religious observance categories is also the state with the lowest per capita income and the greatest heritage of race problems, that being, of course, Mississippi.
All of that probably means that poor and oppressed people desperately need something positive in their lives and that church provides the only something. It also probably means that states with the most static populations, meaning without great influxes of people moving in from other areas of the country, tend to cling to the way they’ve always done things.
I'd add that the treatment of the poor, sick and oppressed by some who are highly religious suggests a need for a little remedial Sunday school.