Mississippi Atheists Blog to Close

This blog, Mississippi Atheists, has been running on fumes for some time now. All metrics used to assess the health of a blog were down in 2015 (e.g., post frequency, traffic, ad revenue, comments). The domain will expire in May, and I have decided not to renew it. That means that it is time to say goodbye to the Mississippi Atheists blog.

My initial vision of providing a space for atheists across our state to share their perspectives never really materialized, and it was not ever my intent to write this blog by myself (I already have an atheist blog). We were lucky enough to have some great contributing authors over the years, but none stuck around for long. It has been evident for awhile that I do not have the time, energy, or passion needed to maintain this blog.


How Religious is Mississippi?

I seriously doubt that this is going to surprise anybody, but I could not resist running our state through the Pew Research Center's "How religious is your state?" index based on data collected during their Religious Landscape Study. Mississippi tied with Alabama for first place.

It appears that 82% of Mississippians indicate that they believe in some sort of god "with absolute certainty." I suppose the silver lining is that it is only 82% and seems certain to decline in the future.


Mississippi Votes on Tuesday

Following Donald Trump's wins in Tennessee and Alabama on Super Tuesday, it seems quite reasonable to predict that he will win Mississippi when we vote here on Tuesday. This would be consistent with the most recent polls I could find, showing Trump way out in front. The departure of Ben Carson after Super Tuesday might give Ted Cruz a boost; however, it is unlikely to be large enough to matter given the size of Trump's apparent lead (24 points). It wasn't more than a few months ago that I couldn't imagine Trump having a chance here against Cruz's Christian extremist credentials, but he is now comfortably in the lead.

The situation appears to be even clearer on the Democratic side, with Hillary Clinton ahead of Bernie Sanders by a whopping 54 points. Not even close. I had a feeling the Democratic race would be all but over by the time I'd have the chance to vote, but I was really hoping to be wrong. My guess is that this will translate into many Democratic voters staying home on Tuesday. I think that's unfortunate, but it is certainly understandable.

If you are looking for information on voting in Mississippi, you can find it here.


Looks Like Mississippi is Keeping the Confederate Flag

Mississippi state flag
Last summer, Mississippi's state flag was receiving quite a bit of attention. A mass murder had just taken place in South Carolina, and the nation's attention briefly turned to the divisive symbol some states still had flying above their government buildings. There was soon a movement afoot to remove the Confederate flag, and it had a great deal of momentum behind it. Not surprisingly, attention was quickly directed at Mississippi. There were numerous calls for our state to change our flag.

At the time, Mississippi's legislature had but a few options. They could have come out in strong opposition to the push to change the flag, as it seemed that this was how many of our elected officials felt at the time. Of course, doing so probably would have resulted in some bad outcomes for our state. Alternatively, they could have opted to change the flag. This almost certainly would have been well received and helped to dispel some of the stereotypes about our state. It would have been heralded by many as an indicator that we had made some real progress. In the end, our elected officials chose the third option: stall.


Ask Legislators to Oppose Religious Exemptions for Child Vaccinations (HB 939)

Smallpox vaccineThe Secular Coalition for America has issued an action alert calling on Mississippians to contact our elected officials and ask them to oppose House Bill 939. HB 939 is another piece of legislation designed to allow parents to refuse to vaccinate their children by claiming a religious exemption.

Surprisingly, mandatory vaccination is one of the few positive areas where our state has been ahead of most others on this important public health issue. It would be a shame to see us lose ground due to the Christian right.