Letters from the Bible Belt

I received this letter from a fan, and I thought I might share it with all of you.

Dear Jacob,

My wife recently stumbled along you podcast on iTunes. I started to listen to your show and I wanted to tell you first off that I have become a huge fan. I started to listen to your archived podcasts and I got to the one where you talk about religion in the Deep South. I am from Charleston, SC. I live here with the evangelical reich and was very interested in hearing your take on what you thought it would be like to be an atheist in the south. So I thought I would write you and give you a first hand opion of what it is truly like. I do not keep the fact that I am an atheist a secret from anyone except my wife’s parents and not out fear or embarrassment but because the are good people and the thought of them not being able to dance in the afterlife without there daughter would crush them. As far as my place in society it has not held my back from anything. No one has openly shunned my family or me for our lack of religious beliefs. I have advanced quickly in my career making it to a management level in spite of the fact that I am openly an atheist and that I call the religious right out on there hypocritical bullshit every chance that I get. One of the biggest problems that I face is that I live in place where they hang the Ten Commandments in our schools right next to the Bill of Rights and the Emancipation Proclamation on the belief that it is a historical document.
Also the religious assholes here have brainwashed some of the most intelligent people I know into thinking that here is no evidence for evolution, and that the world is only ten thousand years old. [A] comment you will here hear a lot is that I don’t believe in evolution I can’t explain why I just know that I didn’t come from a monkey.” Now these are not the words of an uneducated idiot these are things that you here from people of all class and educational backgrounds. Religion is big here in the south but it is not as openly pushy as you would expect. People here every once in a while try to bring my family and I over to the right sideĀ of thinking. For the most part as long as you don’t wonder over to a Baptist Church on Sunday morning you are pretty much left alone. Thanks for reading my email.

I want to thank Jason for his kind words, and for sharing his experience of living in the ‘Bible Belt’. I’m glad most of his peers chose not to involve themselves too much in his life. I would argue, however, that if you were going to try and get rid of the Ten Commandments in schools (in order to fulfill the spirit of the Constitution), you would notice much more animosity than you are accustomed to.

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