Gimme That Old Time Religion.

Via Daniel and Ned is this Gallup map of states that were surveyed on the importance of religion in daily life:

At The Monkey Cage, John Sides notes that this map is misleading; in almost every state, a solid majority of people say that religion is an important part of their lives. What this map does then is (unintentionally) perpetuate a familiar stereotype about religiosity: Americans on the (liberal) coasts are thoroughly godless, while “heartland” and Southern Americans are full of that old time religion. Indeed, all this map really reflects is our national conception of “religiosity.” The simple fact is that for the past thirty or so years, the public face of “religion” has been Southern, white and evangelical. And the public figures (politicians or otherwise) that we think of as being “religious” typically come from that milleu. Indeed, I’d argue that Republicans are perceived as being “more religious” in large part because the GOP is a mostly southern, evangelical party. If liberal, mainline Protestantism or Catholicism were the dominant religions in our public life, then I’m fairly sure surveys of this sort would reflect that.

(cross-posted from U.S. of J.)

One thought on “Gimme That Old Time Religion.

  1. Molly February 9, 2009 at 1:36 pm Reply

    I am an urban coastal Northeasterner living in the south now. It makes me laugh that secular humanism is not considered a religion. It is an entire code of ethics and morals to subscribe to, passed down through generations, with heroes, villains, and an ever-fluctuating set of rules and ideals. In my opinion, the coastal states are very religious, just not in that shout-y, red-faced, bigoted way.

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