The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share (MPSIMS)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-15-2011, 04:55 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 11,307
So where is the buckle of the Bible Belt?

It seems like just about every other place you can name has been called the "buckle of the Bible Belt" by somebody or other. So which of these claims has a basis in fac... rea... ... logic?

First of all, what defines a "buckle" in terms of a geographic "belt"? That isn't clear. If Italy is a boot, one can make a reasonable estimation that Naples is about the 10th grommet up. But the shape of the Bible Belt does not much resemble a belt, except for maybe a wrestling championship belt that covers the entire height of the abdomen.

Looking at the Bible Belt's geographical extent on a map, the shape is near rectangular enough that the geographical center of the area is easy to roughly figure out. So why not nominate the geographical center for the buckle? By my estimation, that would be right about in Corinth, Mississippi. Interesting fact about Corinth, though—the most famous native of it is "Thomas Hal Phillips, America's first gay author and a well-known Hollywood screenwriter. Phillips is best known for The Bitterweed Path, a novel depicting the relationship of two young men in the Southern United States at the turn of the century." Sweet.

So what are your nominees for the buckle, and how come?

Last edited by Johanna; 07-15-2011 at 04:59 PM..
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 07-15-2011, 04:58 PM
Cub Mistress Cub Mistress is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 2,486
I've always heard Nashville described as the buckle of the Bible Belt. You do realize it's just a figure of speech, right?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-15-2011, 05:19 PM
Toucanna Toucanna is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
For years, I've referred to south-central Texas along with the "Hill Country" as the "tab end" of the Bible Belt. Don't know if anyone else calls it that, though.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-15-2011, 05:33 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 22,041
That part of the bible belt that hits you in the mouth when it's swung at you would be the Buckle.

For me, that's Nashville.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-15-2011, 05:36 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 11,307
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cub Mistress View Post
You do realize it's just a figure of speech, right?
What, and take the fun out of fundamentalism?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-15-2011, 06:07 PM
Toucanna Toucanna is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cub Mistress View Post
I've always heard Nashville described as the buckle of the Bible Belt.{snip}
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toucanna View Post
...I've referred to south-central Texas along with the "Hill Country" as the "tab end" of the Bible Belt.{snip}
In Post #5 of this thread, Lynn Bodoni (whose location reads: Fort Worth, Tx) states, "I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt."

Just an observation, FWIW. No big deal. Regards,
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-16-2011, 07:47 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 11,307
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toucanna View Post
In Post #5 of this thread, Lynn Bodoni (whose location reads: Fort Worth, Tx) states, "I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt."

Just an observation, FWIW. No big deal. Regards,
Thanks. Lynn's assertion was my inspiration for starting this thread, and I meant to link to it in my OP and credit her for it.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-16-2011, 08:00 AM
BigT BigT is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
AS far as I understand, the term means the location with the largest number of (Protestant) churches per capita. Unfortunately, I have no idea where that is.

EDIT: Well, not entirely per capita. A small town can't win. It must be per some number of people.)

Last edited by BigT; 07-16-2011 at 08:03 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-16-2011, 08:06 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
Creature of the Night
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 20,803
We've got the Southern Baptist Seminary here in Fort Worth, and you just don't get more fundamentally Biblical than Southern Baptists. We've got other religious schools as well, but the seminary is what I consider a bible college, that is, good for religious training and not much else. ALL of the degree programs require religious classes.

Want some science education? This is what they offer:

Quote:
The Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies

The Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies will strengthen your skills in interpreting and understanding the Bible as well as your ability to disciple others to walk closely with the Lord. A comprehensive look at the narrative and thematic structure of the Bible will enhance your personal spiritual growth and your ability to teach others.

In the 125-hour Biblical Studies degree, you’ll take courses in Old and New Testament studies, systematic theology, interpretive methods, apologetics, evangelism, missions, Baptist heritage, and others. General courses in English, math, science and history are also offered.
This doesn't really qualify as science, IMO, but it's what they offer as such.

And where a buckle is depends on whether the belt is being worn or not.

When I said that, I meant that we have a LOT of fundamentalist Christians in this area.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-17-2011, 05:00 PM
Duckster Duckster is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 12,674
That belt isn't cinched that well, if at all, by the number of visible plumber's butts and whale tails ...
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-17-2011, 05:17 PM
F. U. Shakespeare F. U. Shakespeare is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Baltimore or less
Posts: 3,111
Life imitates art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
Want some science education? This is what they offer:

This doesn't really qualify as science, IMO, but it's what they offer as such.
FWIW, Mr. Vernon Wormer, the hyper-hawk civics teacher in the National Lampoon high school yearbook parody (and who inspired the character of Dean Vernon Wormer in "Animal House") graduated from "Texas Baptist Tech".
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-17-2011, 05:45 PM
mcgato mcgato is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
I lived in Charlotte, NC, and it was often referred to as the "Buckle of the Bible Belt."
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-17-2011, 07:12 PM
Slithy Tove Slithy Tove is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Having lived out West and down South, I'll have to disagree with Lynn on that one. Out in the desert you'll find scattered Christian sects of a few dozen devotees who see no difference between the Baptists of Tulsa and the Episcopalians of Manhatten. Southern Baptists don't hold with infant damnation, for example. But you'd have no trouble between Landcaster California and Colorado Springs finding someone who'll insist that aborted fetuses suffer everything Hell can inflict for all eternity, due to their not accepting Jesus as their personal savings. Jesus said "you must be born again," and not being born in the first place is no excuse.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-18-2011, 10:40 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 9,359
Springfield, MO, has a mess of religious colleges, and it's somewhat in the center of the Bible Belt, where the buckle ought to be. Texas? Carolina? You guys are on the edges, which is an automatic disqualification.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-18-2011, 11:05 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
I think looking for it based on geographic centrality is taking the metaphor the wrong way. It's more about "buckle" as the working end, the linchpin. (If Mencken had called it the "Bible Chain," we'd be talking about the "anchor," which of course is not in the middle.) In terms of Bibliosity, this is often understood to mean prominent evangelists, seminaries, Christian colleges. Claimants on this basis include Lynchburg, Charlotte, Nashville, Tulsa, and Dallas-Fort Worth.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-19-2011, 04:37 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
Creature of the Night
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 20,803
Here in Texas, we are having some people who are deadly serious about including Intelligent Design in our science textbooks. I think that one qualification to being the buckle should include people who want ID in our science classes.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-19-2011, 08:09 AM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
What you're seeing, when you look at the Bible Belt map, IS the buckle. It's a huge Pro Wrestling-style buckle with its top & bottom peaks running from Missouri to Louisiana. It conceals the actual belt.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-19-2011, 08:34 AM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
—the most famous native of it is "Thomas Hal Phillips,
"the most famous"? You don't know anything about Corinth, do you?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:43 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.