The Bible Belt is an informal region in the Southern United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism plays a strong role in society and politics, and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation's average.
The region is usually contrasted with the religiously diverse Midwest and Great Lakes, the Mormon Corridor in Utah and southern Idaho, and the relatively secular Western and New England regions of the United States. Whereas the state with the highest percentage of residents identifying as non-religious is the New England state of Vermont at 37%, in the Bible Belt state of Alabama it is just 12%. Tennessee has the highest proportion of Evangelical Protestants, at 52%.. The Evangelical influence is strongest in northern Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, southern Virginia, South Carolina, and eastern Texas. The earliest known usage of the term "Bible Belt" was by American journalist and social commentator H. L. Mencken, who in 1924 wrote in the Chicago Daily Tribune: "The old game, I suspect, is beginning to play out in the Bible Belt." In 1927, Mencken claimed the term as his invention.
The name "Bible Belt" has been applied historically to the South and parts of the Midwest, but is more commonly identified with the South. In a 1961 study, Wilbur Zelinsky delineated the region as the area in which Protestant denominations, especially Southern Baptist, Methodist, and evangelical, are the predominant religious affiliation. The region thus defined included most of the Southern United States, including most of Texas and Oklahoma, and in the states south of the Ohio River, and extending east to include central West Virginia and Virginia, from the Shenandoah Valley southward. In addition, the Bible Belt covers most of Missouri and Kentucky and southern parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. On the other hand, areas in the South which are not considered part of the Bible Belt include heavily Catholic Southern Louisiana, central and southern Florida, which have been settled mainly by immigrants and Americans from elsewhere in the country, and overwhelmingly Hispanic South Texas. A 1978 study by Charles Heatwole identified the Bible Belt as the region dominated by 24 fundamentalist Protestant denominations, corresponding to essentially the same area mapped by Zelinsky.
According to Stephen W. Tweedie, an Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography at Oklahoma State University, the Bible Belt is now viewed in terms of numerical concentration of the audience for religious television. He finds two belts: one more eastern that stretches from Florida, (excluding Miami, Tampa and South Florida), through Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and into Southern Virginia ; and another concentrated in Texas (excluding El Paso, and South Texas), Arkansas, Louisiana, (excluding New Orleans and Acadiana), Oklahoma, Missouri (excluding St. Louis), Kansas, and Mississippi. "[H]is research also broke the Bible Belt into two core regions, a western region and an eastern region. Tweedie's western Bible Belt was focused on a core that extended from Little Rock, Arkansas to Tulsa, Oklahoma. His eastern Bible Belt was focused on a core that included the major population centers of Virginia and North Carolina.
A study was commissioned by the American Bible Society to survey the importance of the Bible in the metropolitan areas of the United States. The report was based on 42,855 interviews conducted between 2005 and 2012. It determined the 10 most "Bible-minded" cities were Knoxville, Tennessee; Shreveport, Louisiana; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Springfield, Missouri; Charlotte, North Carolina;, Lynchburg, Virginia; Huntsville-Decatur, Alabama; and Charleston, West Virginia.
In addition to the South, there is a smaller Bible Belt in West Michigan, centered around the heavily Dutch-influenced cities of Holland and Grand Rapids. Christian colleges in that region include Calvin College, Hope College, Cornerstone University, Grace Bible College, and Kuyper College. West Michigan is generally fiscally and socially conservative.
During the colonial period (1607–1776), the South was a stronghold of the Anglican church. Its transition to a stronghold of non-Anglican Protestantism occurred gradually over the next century as a series of religious revival movements, many associated with the Baptist denomination, gained great popularity in the region.
It seems a link between the colonial Bible Belt (the North, especially New England with its Puritan heritage) and the later Southern Bible Belt may be seen in the impact which some Northern figures had on the religious development of the South (perhaps not incomparable to the origins of Mormonism in the North, in spite of its later association with Utah). "The centre of Particular Baptist activity in early America was in the Middle Colonies. In 1707 five churches in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware were united to form the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and through the association they embarked upon vigorous missionary activity. By 1760 the Philadelphia association included churches located in the present states of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia; and by 1767 further multiplication of churches had necessitated the formation of two subsidiary associations, the Warren in New England and the Ketochton in Virginia. The Philadelphia association also provided leadership in organizing the Charleston Association in the Carolinas in 1751." An influential figure was Shubal Stearns: "Shubael Stearns, a New England Separate Baptist, migrated to Sandy Creek, North Carolina, in 1755 and initiated a revival that quickly penetrated the entire Piedmont region. The churches he organized were brought together in 1758 to form the Sandy Creek Association". Stearns was brother-in-law of Daniel Marshall, who was born in Windsor, Connecticut and "is generally considered the first great Baptist leader in Georgia. He founded Kiokee Baptist Church, the oldest continuing Baptist congregation in the state". Also, Wait Palmer, of Toland, Connecticut,:84 - 85 may have influenced African American Christianity in the South: "The Silver Bluff, South Carolina, revival was a seminal development, whose role among blacks rivalled that played by the Sandy Creek revival of the Separate Baptists, to which it was indirectly related. It was probably the same Wait Palmer who had baptized Shubal Stearns in 1751 who came to Silver Bluff in 1775, baptizing and constituting a church. Abraham Marshall, who encouraged the later offshoots, was a Separate Baptist of the Sandy Creek school. The revival at the Silver Bluff plantation of George Galphin (some twelve miles from Augusta, Georgia) had brought David George to the Afro-Baptist faith and had provided a ministry for George Liele".:188 According to Thomas S. Kidd, "As early as 1758, Sandy Creek missionaries helped organize a slave congregation, the Bluestone Church, on the plantation of William Byrd III, which may have been the first independently functioning African American church in North America. The church did not last long, but it reflected the Baptists' commitment to evangelizing African Americans".:249 And according to Gayraud S. Wilmore, "The preaching of New England Congregationalists such as Jonathan Edwards about the coming millennium, and his conviction that Christians were called to prepare for it, reached the slaves through the far-ranging missionary work of white evangelists such as Shubal Stearns, Wait Palmer, and Matthew Moore - all of whom left Congregationalism and became Separatist Baptist preachers in the plantation country of Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia".:168
Several locations are occasionally referred to as "the Buckle of the Bible Belt":
There has been research that links evangelical Protestantism with social conservatism. In 1950, President Harry S. Truman told Catholic leaders he wanted to send an ambassador to the Vatican. Truman said the leading Democrats in Congress approved, but they warned him, "it would defeat Democratic Senators and Congressmen in the Bible Belt."
In presidential elections, the Bible Belt states of Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas have voted for the Republican candidate in all elections since 1980; Oklahoma has supported the Republican presidential candidate in every election since 1968. Other Bible Belt states have voted for the Republican presidential candidate in the majority of elections since 1980, but have gone to the Democratic candidate either once or twice since then. However, with the exception of Mississippi, historical geographer Barry Vann shows that counties in the upland areas of the Appalachians and the Ozarks have a more conservative voting pattern than the counties located in the coastal plains.
Toowoomba city in Queensland has long been regarded as fertile ground for Christian fundamentalist right-wing movements  that adhere to biblical literalism, particularly those within the Pentecostal and charismatic stream of Christianity. This was exemplified by the highly publicised rise and subsequent fall of Howard Carter and the Logos Foundation in the 1980s. The Logos Foundation and other similar movements that have followed it, operate in a controlling, authoritarian and almost cultish manner, contributing to their notoriety. Other similarly conservative Pentecostal churches within the city have, since that time, banded together into a loose federation known as the Toowoomba Christian Leaders' Network. (note - most traditional church denominations have their own, separate ecumenical group) This network views itself as having a divine mission to 'take the city for the Lord' and as such, endorses elements of religious right-wing political advocacy, such as the Australian Christian Lobby(ACL). ACL's former managing director who was raised in the Logos Foundation and is a former Toowoomba City councillor is Lyle Shelton. These church groups are strongly associated with North American trends such as the New Apostolic Reformation, Dominion theology, Five-fold ministry thinking, Kingdom Now theology and revivalism. They support the achievement of a type of theocratic society where conservative and literal interpretations of the bible are the dominant drivers of government, education, the Arts, the media and entertainment. Churches involved in this group currently include the successor organization to the Logos Foundation, the Toowoomba City Church, along with the Range Christian Fellowship, Spring Street Assembly of God, Christian Outreach Centre, Hume Ridge Church of Christ, Revival Ministries of Australia Shiloh Centre, the Edge Christian Centre and many others.
Census results show religious belief in the country is more prevalent in the east running from north to south along the border with Russia, particularly in those areas with large populations of Russian Orthodox, Estonian Orthodox and Orthodox Old Believers.
Rural portions of Bavaria, approximately stretching from Franconia into Württemberg, constitute Germany's Bible Belt with mostly Catholics, some Lutherans and Reformed Protestants. An area in Erzgebirge in Saxony has been described also as the "Saxon Bible Belt" with a notable evangelical Protestant/Christian fundamentalist/free church community, as well as some conservative Lutheran parishes that are opposed to homosexual marriage. Nevertheless, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Saxony approved church resolutions regarding the issue regardless of opinions within those parishes.
In New Zealand, Mount Roskill, Auckland, contains the highest number of churches per capita in the country, and is the home of several Christian political candidates. The electorate was one of the last in the country to go "wet", in 1999, having formerly been a dry area where the selling of alcohol was prohibited.
At the 2013 New Zealand census, the Mangere–Otahuhu local board area of Auckland had the highest concentration of Christians in New Zealand, with 67.7 percent of the local board's 71,000 residents identifying as such.
The area normally called the Bible Belt of Sweden is centered on Jönköping in southern Sweden and contains numerous free churches. There are also numerous conservative Lutheran Laestadians in the Torne valley area in the far north of the country.
In Northern Ireland, the area in County Antrim stretching from roughly Ballymoney to Larne and centred in the area of Ballymena is often referred to as a Bible Belt. This is because the area is heavily Protestant with a large evangelical community. From 1970 to 2010, the MP for North Antrim was Ian Paisley, a Free Presbyterian minister well known for his theological fundamentalism. The town of Ballymena, the largest town in the constituency, is often referred to as the "buckle" of the Bible Belt. In the Republic of Ireland, County Wicklow and western parts of County Cork have the highest population of Protestants.
The 2008 United States presidential election in Oklahoma took place on November 4, 2008, and was part of the 2008 United States presidential election. Voters chose 7 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Oklahoma was won by Republican nominee John McCain with a 31.3% margin of victory. Prior to the election, all 17 news organizations considered this a state McCain would win, or otherwise considered as a safe red state. A strongly conservative state located in the Bible Belt where evangelical Christianity plays a large role, Oklahoma has swung and trended more to the Republicans in recent years than any other state. Having voted for the Republican presidential nominee in every election since 1968, Oklahoma once again showcased its status as a Republican stronghold in 2008 with Republican John McCain capturing 65.65% of the vote.Benyamin Cohen
Benyamin Cohen (born 1975) is an American journalist and author. He is the author of the memoir My Jesus Year: A Rabbi's Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith published by HarperOne. Publisher's Weekly named it one of the best books of the year for which Cohen received the Georgia Author of the Year Award. He was the founder and editor of the award-winning national magazine American Jewish Life and the online magazine Jewsweek, and he has written for the Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, the Washington Post, and Slate. Prior to that he edited Torah from Dixie, thoughts on the weekly Bible portion, which was later turned into a book by the same name. He served as the content director for the Mother Nature Network, a science and environmental news website.
In 2014, he became the Editorial Director of the website From The Grapevine.
In 2018, he began hosting the weekly interview podcast "Our Friend from Israel."Bible Belt (Netherlands)
The Bible Belt (Dutch: De Bijbelgordel) is a strip of land in the Netherlands with the highest concentration of conservative orthodox Calvinist Protestants in the country. It was named after the Bible Belt of the United States.
The Bible Belt stretches from Zeeland, through the West-Betuwe and Veluwe, to the northern parts of the province Overijssel. However, some communities with strong conservative Protestant leanings are situated outside the belt. For example, Urk, considered by many as one of the most traditional communities in the country, and some municipalities of Friesland (Dantumadiel for example) have characteristics typical of the Bible Belt. Other places in this area are Yerseke, Tholen, Ouddorp, Opheusden, Kesteren, Barneveld, Nunspeet, Elspeet and Staphorst. The three biggest cities regarded to be part of the Bible Belt are Ede, Veenendaal and Kampen. Outside the Bible Belt there are other sizable communities of Calvinist Protestants, such as in Rijssen.Bible Belt (Norway)
The Norwegian Bible Belt (Norwegian: bibelbeltet) is a loosely defined southwestern coastal area of Norway, which is more religious than most of Norway. Typically, the definition covers Western Norway (Vestlandet) and Southern Norway (Sørlandet), which includes the counties of Rogaland (typically called the "buckle" of the Bible Belt), Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane, Møre og Romsdal, Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder. However, the most urban areas, such as Stavanger (once known as the 'religious capital of Norway'), have become strongly secularised since the 1960s and are no longer considered part of the Bible Belt.Bible Belt (Sweden)
The Swedish Bible Belt (Swedish: Bibelbältet) is a region centered on Jönköping in northern Småland where demographics show that people are characteristically more religious. (Christian) In the Bible Belt the free churches are relatively popular in comparison to the Church of Sweden.Bible Belt (album)
Bible Belt is the début release by soul singer-songwriter Diane Birch. The lead single is "Nothing But a Miracle". An acoustic version of the song "Rewind" appears on a season 3 episode of The Vampire Diaries.Diane Birch
Diane Birch (born January 24, 1983) is an American singer-songwriter.Does the Bible Belt
Does the Bible Belt is the third album and ninth Bravo stand-up comedy special by stand-up comedian Kathy Griffin, and eleventh special overall. It was televised live from the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee on June 8, 2010 (2010-06-08) on Bravo. It was also re-released on October 30, 2012 (2012-10-30) as part of The Kathy Griffin Collection: Red, White & Raw.Garden of Prayer
Garden of Prayer is a 1954 album of songs recorded by American singer Jo Stafford, accompanied by the orchestra of Paul Weston. Each of the eight tracks on this album has a religious or inspirational theme. It was released in 1954 by Columbia Records (CL 6286), then reissued on CD in 2010 by Sinetone AMR, and appears under two titles - either Garden of Prayer or Beautiful Garden of Prayer.
A contemporary reviewer writing for Billboard was quite impressed. They praised Stafford for being able to "sing almost any type of tune" and for doing "a first-rate job here". Stafford sings these "sacred songs....with deep conviction and sincerity", and the reviewer notes that the album should be quite popular in the Bible Belt of the United States.Hills District
The Hills District (alternatively, the Hills Shire, the Hills, the Garden Shire, Sydney Hills, or Sydney's Bible Belt, previously the Baulkham Hills Shire) is a general term for the north-western suburbs of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Situated within the Greater Western Sydney region, its constituent suburbs are generally located in the local government area of The Hills Shire; some parts of the Hornsby Shire, Blacktown and Parramatta Cities are generally given the title.It's All About to Change
It's All About To Change is the second studio album by American country singer Travis Tritt, released on Warner Bros. Records in 1991. The tracks "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'", "Nothing Short of Dying", "Anymore", and "Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)" were released as singles; "Bible Belt" also charted from unsolicited airplay. "Anymore" was the second single of Tritt's career to reach Number One on the Hot Country Songs charts. Overall, this is Tritt's highest-certified album; with sales of over three million copies in the U.S., it has been certified 3× Platinum by the RIAA. He recorded the song "Bible Belt" for My Cousin Vinny in collaboration with the band Little Feat, and this placement gained him some exposure.Mansfield, Queensland
Mansfield is a suburb of Brisbane, Australia, situated approximately 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) south-east of the CBD. It is located in the region of the city which is now colloquially known as the "Bible Belt" due to the large number of people who have settled there to be close to Christian schools and churches. It was named in 1967, after the Queensland governor of the time Sir Alan Mansfield.
The suburb recorded a population of approximately 8,700 at the 2016 Australian Census. The suburb has a moderate Greek presence with under 2.3% of the population speaking Greek as a first language.Part of the eastern boundary of the suburb is marked by the Gateway Motorway.Marjoe
Marjoe is a 1972 American documentary film produced and directed by Howard Smith and Sarah Kernochan about the life of evangelist Marjoe Gortner. It won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.Molenwaard
Molenwaard is a former municipality in the western Netherlands, in the southeastern part of the province of South Holland, and the northwestern part of the region of Alblasserwaard. It was the result of a merger of the municipalities of Graafstroom, Liesveld, and Nieuw-Lekkerland on 1 January 2013. On 1 January 2019 it merged with Giessenlanden, together they form the new municipality of Molenlanden. Molenwaard had about 29,000 inhabitants and an area of about 126 km2 (49 sq mi). The largest settlements are Bleskensgraaf, Groot-Ammers, and Nieuw-Lekkerland.
Molenwaard can be characterized as a landscape of polders existing of vast pastures traversed by ditches and canals, like the Groote- of Achterwaterschap, and the Ammersche Boezem. In the outermost northwest one can find the famous windmills of Kinderdijk. About 1.5 m below sea level, the municipality is bordered by the Lek river in the north and briefly the Noord river in the west. On its area flows the Graafstroom or the Alblas.
Religiously, the municipality is part of the Bible Belt, resulting in the dominance of the Christian parties in politics.Mormon Corridor
The Mormon Corridor is the areas of Western North America that were settled between 1850 and approximately 1890 by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), who are commonly known as Mormons.In academic literature, the area is also commonly called the Mormon culture region. It has also been referred to as the Book of Mormon belt as a cultural reference to the Bible Belt of the southeastern United States, and the Book of Mormon.Redhead murders
The "Redhead murders", are a series of unsolved homicides believed to have been committed by an unidentified serial killer, also known as the Bible Belt Strangler, in various parts of the United States, including Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. It is presumed that the killings occurred between October 1978 and the 1980s, but they may have continued until 1992. The victims, many of whom have never been identified, usually had reddish hair and their bodies were abandoned along major highways in the United States; presumably, they were hitchhiking or engaged in prostitution. Authorities are unsure of how many people were responsible for these murders, if they were all performed by the same perpetrator(s), or how many victims there were. It is believed that a total of six to eleven victims were involved. Of the presumed victims, four have been identified.Southeast Texas
Southeast Texas is a sub-region of East Texas located in the southeast corner of the U.S. state of Texas. The sub-region is geographically centered on the Houston–Sugar Land–The Woodlands, and Beaumont–Port Arthur metropolitan areas.
Culturally, Southeast Texas is more closely akin to the Gulf Coast, Louisiana, or even Mississippi, than it is to West Texas. Much of modern Southeast Texas culture has its roots in traditions that go back for generations. Southeast Texas is consistent with much of the rest of rural Texas in that it is a part of the Bible Belt, an area in which many inhabitants have strongly Fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Many of the largest cities in East Texas outside Houston still follow a rural Southern way of life, especially in dialect, mannerisms, religion, and cuisine.
Though 35 percent of Texas' population is now Hispanic, African-Americans are still the most populous minority in Southeast Texas. During the Civil Rights Movement several communities clashed over racial integration issues.The Rimers of Eldritch
The Rimers of Eldritch is a play by Lanford Wilson. The play is set in the mid-20th century in Eldritch, Missouri, a decaying Bible Belt town that once was a prosperous coal mining community. The plot focuses on the murder of the aging local hermit, Skelly Mannor, by a woman, Nelly Windrod, who mistakenly thought he was committing rape when he was actually trying to prevent a rape from occurring.
"Belt" regions of the United States