What the Bible Belt Means
Slide 6 of 6
So, while a secular-minded critic targeted the majority scriptural values of a committed Christian community — in the original case, East Tennessee — to paint a broad-brush-stroke of drab irredeemable, backwoods intolerance and call it “the Bible Belt,” the reality is something quite different.
As a matter of faith, to the dismay of others like Mencken, both the New England Pilgrims and the Jamestown founders were residents of a “Bible Belt.” Moreover, members of the Reformed Christian Faith, Protestantism, along with a minority of Roman Catholics and Jewish congregants, formed a larger community of committed Judeo-Christian citizens who expressed their faith by founding a seamlessly sewn belt of Biblical values. And that Bible Belt was called the United States of America.
Brunn, Stanley D., Gerald R. Webster, and J. Clark Archer. 2011. "The Bible Belt in a Changing South: Shrinking, Relocating, and Multiple Buckles". Southeastern Geographer. 51, no. 4: 513-549.
Hall, David W. Election Day Sermons. Oak Ridge, TN: Kuyper Institute, 1996.
Teachout, Terry. The Skeptic: The Life of H.L. Mencken. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
Vail, R. W. G. A Check List of New England Election Sermons. Worcester, Mass: Society [i.e. the American Antiquarian Society], 1936.
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Michael A. Milton, PhD (University of Wales; MPA, UNC Chapel Hill; MDiv, Knox Seminary) is a retired seminary chancellor and currently serves as the James Ragsdale Chair of Missions at Erskine Theological Seminary. He is the President of Faith for Living and the D. James Kennedy Institute a long-time Presbyterian minister, and Chaplain (Colonel) USA-R. Dr. Milton is the author of more than thirty books and a musician with five albums released. Mike and his wife, Mae, reside in North Carolina.