Left Behind in Mississippi

left behind
left behind (Photo credit: Gustavo Devito)
We heard a great deal about the "nones" in 2012, those who reported being religiously unaffiliated in survey after survey. Throughout the U.S., their numbers are increasing while Christianity appears to be in decline. Well, maybe not throughout all of the U.S. Here in Mississippi, I have not seen much evidence to convince me that Christianity is losing any of the influence it enjoys. If trends continue so the the U.S. becomes somewhat more secular, will Mississippi be left behind clinging to superstition?

I suppose the argument could be made that we've already been left behind in a number of other areas. Looking at the proportion of our citizens living below the federal poverty line, our infant mortality rate, the educational achievement of our children, and many other indicators, we've already got quite a bit of catching up to do. It ought to be clear by now that the pervasive influence of evangelical fundamentalist Christianity and conservative economic policies have taken a real toll on our state over the years.

I know it is the first day of a new year, and I am supposed to have a more hopeful tone. I suppose we could tell ourselves that we're at the bottom and that things can only get better. I'm not sure I believe that. The hostility to atheism and anything other than the far-right Fox "News" sort of conservatism that runs rampant here is a heavy burden, one that will likely take generations to overcome. I guess my question for you today is whether you think we've started the process of overcoming it or not.

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