Thursday, January 06, 2005

From Jim Hightower's website:
COLOR-CODED MORALITY
12/20/2004

One thing we learned from the recent unpleasantness––otherwise known as the presidential election––is that folks in the Red States live lives centered around family values that are stronger and fundamentally more moral than the liberal lifestyles of those Blue State people in, say, Massachusetts. Right?
The political pundits insist that this regional morality gap explains George W's Red-State victory and has altered American politics for the foreseeable future. Democrats, they say, are hopelessly out of touch with the deep family values practiced by born-again Christians in the South and Midwestern heartland.
Interesting if true. But, quick: Name the state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation. It's the very state that Bush, the Pat Robertson-style political preachers, and others on the ultra-right constantly denounce as the absolute nadir of decadent liberalism: Massachusetts. It's divorce rate is barely half that of George's home state of Texas, for example.
Nor is Massachusetts some sort of statistical anomaly. The region with the lowest rate of family breakups in America is the Northeast, including such blue, blue states as New York, New Jersey, Maine, and leftie-crunchie Vermont. The highest rates are in, of all places, the Bible Belt, where you still see billboards piously proclaiming: "The family that prays together, stays together." George Barna, a born-again Christian and the head of a research group that does surveys among faith groups, finds that only 19 percent of Northeasterners have divorced, compared to 27 percent of Southerners and Midwesterners.
Barna's surveys also revealed another surprise––the divorce rate among conservative Christians is much higher than for other faith groups. Twenty-seven percent of born-again Christians have been divorced, as opposed to 24 percent of other Christians, and––Holy Moly!––only 21 percent of atheists and agnostics.
Maybe the pundits should just quit trying to color-code America.

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