April 16, 2021

White or Not, Christian Nationalism is a Serious Problem in the United States

map of the world

Here's a quick thought that is bound to be controversial in some circles:

Christian Nationalism is a problem in the United States.
Now here is a slightly longer and more nuanced thought that is almost certain to be even more controversial in some circles today:
Placing the word "white" in front of "Christian nationalism" in the statement above does not make the statement any more (or less) true, powerful, or persuasive.

April 13, 2021

Observations From the Bible Belt: A Church on Every Corner

Baptist church

I ran across a few questions posted on Twitter recently about regional differences in religiosity here in the United States, and I thought I'd address one of them for this post. The question I've selected has to do with differences in the number of churches per capita, not so much from a numbers perspective but more from one's subjective experience. The questioner had commented about how it seems to her that there is a church on practically every corner here in the bible belt. She was curious about whether this is true in other parts of the U.S. or is yet another way that things are different here. Having grown up in one of the least religious regions and moved to one of the most religious regions (and lived in a few that split the difference in between), I figured I'd share a few observations.

The first thing I'd note is that while there are major regional differences when it comes to religion and religiosity, it is important to recognize that there are also big urban-rural differences within regions. A big city located in the bible belt may have more in common with cities in other regions than it does with small towns in the bible belt. Thus, there are going to be exceptions to almost anything we'd say abotu regional differences.

April 10, 2021

The Best Argument Against Getting the COVID Vaccine

medical mask

In order for this intentionally brief post to make any sense at all, I need to convince you of something first. When I say that something is "the best argument I have heard against" something, this does not mean that I consider it to be a good argument. In fact, it could be an extremely poor argument. All such a statement means is that I consider it the best argument I've heard in what could be a vast collection of weak arguments.

With that out of the way, the best argument I've heard against getting one of the COVID vaccines when one is eligible to do so would have to be some version of the following:

I looked into it, but it doesn't seem like getting vaccinated changes much of anything. The CDC is making it sound like getting vaccinated only means I can do a few more things somewhat more safely. These are things I either am already doing or don't particularly care about doing. If I still have to social distance with strangers and wear a damn mask everywhere I go, I don't see any point in getting vaccinated. Why take the risk when there is relatively little to be gained?

April 7, 2021

The High Price of Calling Others Names on Social Media

don't act like sheep

I remember when I first realized that something was wrong, but I'm a bit vague about some of the details. It was several years ago. I am not sure about the specific platform. I believe it was Facebook, but it could have been YouTube or Reddit. I was reading through some exchanges when the following comment caught my eye:

Go kill yourself!
The person who said this repeated it several times with slight variations (e.g., "You are too stupid to live," "You should do all of us a favor and kill yourself today"). What initially looked like a minor political disagreement had quickly devolved into this crap. I realize this sort of thing is commonplace today, but it was the first time I had seen it.

I found myself wondering about the person who was on the receiving end of this. How old were they? Was it possible that they were a child? Was it possible that they were depressed or suffering from some other mental health ailment that might have left them vulnerable to this sort of thing? How could the aggressor behave like this without considering the consequences?