ARTICLES & COMMENTARY:
INFO & EYE OPENERS FROM OTHERS:
We hear an awful lot from conservatives in the Bible Belt and on the TV about how we all should be living. Certainly a culture that teaches the conservative religious values of the Christian right must have clean living written all over it. And lots of ripe fruit from their morally superior lives abounding.
It doesn't. Far from it. People that talk the loudest may be the ones walking the slowest. Joining its history of Biblically correct bigotry and discrimination, it is an area with the highest divorce, murder, STD/HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, single parent homes, infant mortality, and obesity rates in the nation. As a region, the Bible Belt has the poorest health care systems and the lowest rates of high school graduation. (See census.gov quick facts on right of census home page) The evangelical Barna Survey Group also tells us that conservative Christians have the highest rates of divorce of any religious group in the US. Atheists and Catholics had the lowest. NBationally, Massachusetts and Connecticut. those liberal northeastern states! have the strongest marriages. So, with camera, pen, and report card in hand, let's take a peak at this 'morally superior and not so shy about it' Christian nation whose only rise above it all seems to be the one in their pants.
As you will clearly see, if the so-called religious conservatism were required to clean up their own house before addressing ours, we would never hear from them again. We can only dream.
BIBLE BELT IS A DIVORCE BELT:
NCPA - Social Issues - Bible Belt Leads U.S. In Divorces
"Aside from the quickie-divorce Mecca of Nevada, no region of the United States has a higher divorce rate than the Bible Belt."
Bible Belt Couples 'Put Asunder' More, Despite New Efforts. Highest rate of increase of cohabitation:
"The census found that in the 1990's, the number of unmarried couples living together jumped by 97 percent in Oklahoma, 125 percent in Arkansas and 123 percent in Tennessee. These increases in the buckle of the Bible Belt are well above the 72 percent increase in unmarried couples that the census found in the nation as a whole."
"A posse of public health nurses, social workers, pastors and extension agents has been deputized to bring down a divorce rate that in Oklahoma, as in several states across the Bible Belt, is among the highest in the country."
U.S. divorce rates: for various faith groups, age groups and geographical areas.
"Barna released the results of their poll about divorce on 1999-DEC-21. 1 They had interviewed 3,854 adults from the 48 contiguous states. The sampling error is within two percentage points.
The survey found:
--11% of the adult population is
"While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages."
SNS Online Oklahomans marry young, don't stay hitched.
"Although it is in the buckle of the Bible Belt, conservative Oklahoma with its population of 3 million, has a divorce rate more than twice as high as New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and other populous states."
By the hypocrites, these are the constantly demonized liberal states of the Northeast.
"Only neighboring Arkansas has a higher divorce rate, if you discount Nevada where "quickie" divorces are big business."
Salon Mothers Who Think | Southern governors declare war on divorce.
TEEN PREGNANCY BELT
Dept of Health and Human Services: DHHS
Teen Pregnancy Birth Rate for Teens 1950- 1997 Statistics
In 'Abstinence-only' country: Bexar County, TX: 40 per 1000. National average, 22 per 1000
Below from: National and State-Specific Pregnancy Rates Among White Adolescents ---
Quote below from News Hounds: "Teen Sex and Cocaine" on Fox News' Dayside with Linda Vester, 6-1-05
When President Bush was Governor of Texas he instituted the abstinence-only sex-ed programs within the state. Texas now has the highest teen pregnancy birth rate of any state in the union and also one of the highest STD rates among teenagers.
THE BIBLE BELT IS THE HOMOCIDE BELT:
Salon article, PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE AMMO by Steve Champman
Murder Rates 1995 - 2003
Bureau of Justice Statistics Homicide trends in the US: Regional trends
Bureau of Justice Statistics Homicide Trends in the United States: Trends in homicide rates by region
BIBLE BELT IS THE UNHEALTHY BELT:
Healthiest State 2004
Healthiest State 1993 to 2004
Healthiest State Factors
In this next section, I have used the most up to date statistics that are available in HTML. For newer slides see HIV//STD site index which will point you to newer slides and reports in PDF and PowerPoint @ CDC/NCHSTP/Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
THE BIBLE BELT IS AN HIV BELT
HIV/AIDS Surveillance - General Epidemiology : Slide #7
HIV/AIDS Surveillance - General Epidemiology : Slide #11
An older report but quite representative National Report Card on STDs
THE BIBLE BELT IS A CHLAMYDIA BELT
Chlamydia: Rates by state: United States and outlying areas, 2001
Chlamydia: Positivity among 17-37 year-old women entering the U.S. Army by state of residence, 1999
Chlamydia: Positivity among 17-37 year-old men entering the U.S. Army by state of residence, 1999-2000
Chlamydia: Prevalence among 16-24 year-old women entering the National Job Training Program by state of residence, 2000
The South: Chlamydia case rates by county, 2001
THE BIBLE BELT IS A GONORRHEA BELT
Gonorrhea: Prevalence among 16-24 year-old women entering the National Job Training Program by state of residence, 2000
Gonorrhea: Positivity among 17-37 year-old men entering the U.S. Army by state of residence, 1999-2000
Gonorrhea: Rates by state: United States and outlying areas, 2001
Gonorrhea: Positivity among 15-24 year old women tested in family planning clinics by state: United States and outlying areas, 2001
The South: Gonorrhea case rates by county, 2001
THE BIBLE BELT IS A SYPHILIS BELT
Primary and Secondary Syphilis: United States, 2000--2001
From the above site:
"By region, the South had the highest rate, accounting for 56.2% of cases occurring in 2001 and 62.0% in 2000."
Primary and secondary syphilis: Rates by state: United States and outlying areas, 2001
Primary and secondary syphilis: Rates for women by state:
The South: Primary and secondary syphilis case rates by county, 2001
USA: Most religious western nation has weakest families
From the USA Today article:
In the USA, 8.1% of coupled households are made up of unmarried, heterosexual partners. Although many European countries have higher cohabitation rates, divorce rates in those countries are lower, and more children grow up with both biological parents, even though the parents may not be married, Popenoe says.
The USA has the lowest percentage among Western nations of children who grow up with both biological parents, 63%, the report says.
"The United States has the weakest families in the Western world because we have the highest divorce rate and the highest rate of solo parenting," Popenoe says.
As you can see, the most religious part of the USA has the weakest families in the USA. The USA has the weakest families in the western world. And we play religion like it makes a difference. It does not.