Religious geography

In case you ever wonder about how far people’s beliefs affect the rest of society, (Well, alright, the advent of suicide bombing probably means you have an idea that there may some connection – Look, I’m just trying to introduce the blog, OK?) piece in the Times that compares a USA map of religious adherents as a percentage of all residents, with another map showing whether each state voted Democrat or Republican in the 2004 elections.

There is a broad (but moderately convincing) similarity between the map of the densest areas of god-adherents and the map locations of Republican states.

This reinforces an impression that the Republicans have pretty well hijacked Christian “belief” across swathes of the USA.

If you keep repeating over and over that Christianity = “traditional values” = Republican, some of it is bound to stick.

I always wonder how the uncomfortable bits of Christian writings – like the Sermon on the Mount – are so easily reconciled with the social policies of the Republican right, but I assume that the religious have to get well used to picking and choosing what to actually follow in their “unerring” texts.

Otherwise, the bizarre prohibitions and injunctions in Leviticus would have to be a daily guide for Christian fundamentalists. Which would be a moderately good grin for the rest of us.

As it is, US religion-in-politics seems to relate to just being anti-abortion and anti-gay – neither of which I can remember as having been big concerns of Jesus, from my school RE lessons. In fact, I thought “Render unto Caesar” was about as overtly “political” as the New Testament got.

But, then, I have to admit to having paid minimal attention, so these may indeed have been hot political issues in ca. 0 AD Palestine.