The Resistance Reports
March 19, 2017
“As the nation’s sexual culture evolved over the last couple of decades, die-hard anti-abortion advocates pressed on. They became a powerful force at the local and state levels, driven by mean-spirited vengeance, desperate because their influence was waning. With Trump’s victory, Mike Pence as VP and Republican control of both Houses of Congress, a new round of the culture wars will be launched and the South will likely be a major battleground.
Throughout this period, valiant purity warriors fought on. Religious stalwarts in Montgomery, AL, Oak Grove, KY, Peoria, IL, and other localities regularly host “purity balls,” annual galas at which fathers escort their virginal daughters to celebrate chastity. (Such “balls” would not seem out-of-place among patriarchal- and orthodox-religious groups.) In addition, the Liberty Counsel, of Orlando, FL, promotes “Christian religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the traditional family,” and organizes an annual national Day of Purity for teenagers. Who knows, a Trump administration – along with a Christian Congress — might require purity balls be held in all schools,” writes David Rosen is the author of Sex, Sin & Subversion: The Transformation of 1950s New York’s Forbidden into America’s New Normal (Skyhorse, 2015). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; check out www.DavidRosenWrites.com.
A 2009 study from Kansas State University (KSU) found that the Bible Belt had the highest concentration of people engaged in the “seven deadly sins.” The researchers used federal data to map out “sin” throughout the nation and found it most concentrated in the South. The findings drew much media attention — and was condemnation by Christian conservatives.
The Bible Belt is an informal region in the southeastern and south-central 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 Bible Belt consists of much of the Southern United States as well as parts of adjacent areas. 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.
The region is usually contrasted with the mainline Protestantism and Catholicism of the Northeastern United States, the religiously diverse Midwest and Great Lakes, the Mormon Corridor in Utah and southern Idaho, and the relatively secular Western United States. Whereas the state with the highest percentage of residents identifying as non-religious is the New England state of Vermont at 34%, in the Bible Belt state of Alabama it is just 3%. Mississippi has the highest proportion of Baptists, at 75%. 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.” Mencken claimed the term as his invention in 1927.
In the 6th century, Pope Gregory the Great specified the seven deadly sins: (i) pride – an excessive belief in one’s own abilities; (ii) envy – excessive jealousy for others’ traits, status or abilities; (iii) anger – excessive fury or wrath; (iv) gluttony — an excessive desire to consume more than that which one requires; (v) greed – an excessive desire for material wealth or gain, no matter the consequences; (vi) sloth – excessive self-indulgence, laziness, a refusal to accept work discipline; and (vii) lust – an excessive craving for the sexual pleasures of the body. Each persists into the postmodern world, defining key aspects of 21st century life.
Lust is especially revealing, signifying not only the autoerotic sexual pleasures experienced with oneself as a physical, natural being, but the erotic relations with another(s), whether real or imaginary. One imaginary expression of lust is pornography – and porn viewing is alive and well in America.
he seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices of Christian origin. Behaviors or habits are classified under this category if they directly give birth to other immoralities.According to the standard list, they are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth, which are also contrary to the seven virtues. These sins are often thought to be abuses or excessive versions of one’s natural faculties or passions (for example, gluttony abuses one’s desire to eat).
This classification originated with the desert fathers, especially Evagrius Ponticus, who identified seven or eight evil thoughts or spirits that one needed to overcome. Evagrius’ pupil John Cassian, with his book The Institutes, brought the classification to Europe, where it became fundamental to Catholic confessional practices as evident in penitential manuals, sermons like “The Parson’s Tale” from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and artworks like Dante’s Purgatory (where the penitents of Mount Purgatory are depicted as being grouped and penanced according to the worst capital sin they committed). The Church used the doctrine of the deadly sins in order to help people stop their inclination towards evil before dire consequences and misdeeds occur; the leader-teachers especially focused on pride (which is thought to be the one that severs the soul from Grace, and one that is representative and the very essence of all evil) and greed, both of which are seen as inherently sinful and as underlying all other sins (although greed, when viewed just by itself and discounting all the sins it might lead to, is generally thought be less serious than sloth). To inspire people to focus on the seven deadly sins, the vices are discussed in treatises, and depicted in paintings and sculpture decorations on churches. Peter Brueghel the Elder‘s prints of the Seven Deadly Sins and extremely numerous other works, both non-religious and religious, show the continuity of this practice in the culture and everyday life of the modern era.
The Christian Post Reports (source):
A set of United States maps showing the counties that have the highest concentrations of sin, based on the “Seven Deadly Sins,” has caused a stir since Memolition reposted it this month. In each of the maps the southeast, an area often referred to as the “Bible Belt” for its tradition of faith, has the largest amount of sin per capita.
“We compiled those maps from the standpoint of geographic information science,” Mitch Stimers, who worked on the study as a graduate student at Kansas State University in 2009, told The Christian Post in an interview on Friday.
Now a director of institutional research and instructor of geography and geosciences at Cloud County Community College, Stimers insisted, “we weren’t attempting to interject any moral interpretation into them.”
Each of the seven sins – originally codified by Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century – was measured by population research data, such as the total number of violent crimes reported to the FBI (wrath). On the maps, red areas have the highest concentration of sin, blue the least, and most sins pervade the Bible Belt.
“Those swaths of red through the South – people automatically interpret that as the Bible Belt being more sinful, but the proxies we used are well known to be correlated to lower income,” Stimers explained.
The particular sin of greed has garnered the most attention recently, as it was measured by comparing average incomes with the total number of inhabitants living beneath the poverty live.
This measurement assumes that if incomes are vastly unequal in an area, that inequality must have been caused by greed. “It is commonly assumed that the rich are de facto greedy and that theft and corruption are their means to wealth accumulation. Thus, they view any income inequality as inherently unjust,” Anne Bradley, vice president of Economic Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics (IFWE), commented in a blog post on the Seven Deadly Sins report.
Income inequality, far from an indicator of vice, is a fundamental reality in a world where different people have different talents, Bradley and her fellow Christian scholars told CP earlier this week. “Greed is a heart issue, not an income issue,” IFWE’s Elise Amyx explained in the same blog post. She argued that these statistics do not reveal the true hearts of Americans, and cannot portray sin accurately.
Rudy Rasmus, founding pastor of St. John’s Methodist Church in Houston, agreed that sin – and especially greed – is a matter of the heart, not statistics. In his article about the Seven Deadly Sins maps, Rasmus argued that greed is caused by scarcity.
“The major obstacle in today’s world prohibiting the sharing of love is scarcity, inadequacy and insecurity,” Rasmus wrote. Instead of worrying if they will have enough, Christians should embrace the presence of God and share His love with others. “Scarcity divides the moment; pure presence lets it be what it is, as it is,” Rasmus declared.
The geographers note on the website, “Cardinal vices, cardinal sins, or more commonly, the seven deadly sins, have been discussed and debated since at least the fourth century.” It also lists Pope Gregory I’s list: luxuria (lust), gula( gluttony), avaritia (greed), acedia (sloth), ira (wrath), invidia (envy), and superbia (pride).
The researchers used the best data available to them – “sociologic and economic characteristics” – rather than the human heart. “Pride, the ‘greatest’ and ‘root’ of all sins, was determined to be the aggregation of each sin,” the further website explains.