Mississippi Is the Most Religious and Vermont the Least Religious of the States

Hmm. I wonder what other comparisons might one make?



The folks over at Gallup have just released their data comparing the religiosity of Americans by state. Mississippi wins with 59 percent of the Magnolia State's residents describing themselves as "very religious." In comparison, only 21 percent of the flinty inhabitants of the Green Mountain State would so describe their religious convictions. But does the propensity to sinning correlate with a lack of religious belief? Not so much.

For example, folks in Mississippi are, on the face of it, less inclined than those in Vermont to turn the other cheek when it comes to violent crime, especially murder. In 2015, Mississippi ranked number 2 (just behind neighboring Louisiana) in the nation with a homicide rate of 8.7 per 100,000 citizens. Vermont ranked 47 out of 50 with only 1.5 murders per 100,000 (New Hampshire and Hawaii were more peaceable).

What about sexual mores and family structure? With respect to the prevalence of the sexually transmitted diseases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, Mississippi ranks 5, 3, and 12, whereas Vermont's rank is 46, 49, and 46 respectively. Mississippi ranks number 1 in percent of births to unmarried mothers (54 percent in 2014) compared to Vermont's rank of 28 (39.5 percent in 2014). The national average was 40.2 percent of all births in 2014. Mississippi came in at number 2 after the District of Columbia with regard to the percentage of children living in single parent homes, 53 and 48 percent respectively. In Vermont 28 percent of kids live in single-parent families.

What about overall happiness? After all, it frequently reported that religious people are happier than non-religious folk. Surely, the stronger faith of Mississippians must make them happier than more doubtful and dour Vermonters? Well no. Mississippians ranking at 48th out 51 jurisdictions surveyed are only a bit happier than folks living in Kentucky, Alabama and West Virginia. Vermonters at number 14 are lot happier than Mississippians but aren't nearly as joyous as folks in Utah which stands as our happiest state.

NEXT: The Geopolitics of LSD

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  1. All that Jesus-talk makes them horny, so they shag their sisters who end up as single mothers.

    1. /sarc, I suppose I need to add.

      1. I’m not a very religious person and I understand that this phrase is tripe, but if you’re still wondering why Trump won, condescending people like Ron are exhibit A

        1. if you’re still wondering why Trump won, condescending people like [insert name here] are exhibit A.

          I can easily envision your comment as follows should Clinton have won: “If you’re still wondering why Clinton won, condescending people like [insert name here] are exhibit A.”

        2. And:

          “Utah which stands as our happiest state.”

          but…but…but…ain’t Utah full of religious yokels?

          Ron disgraces himself by cherry-picking data. Maybe look at other factors…age, income (vs local), race.

          1. The difference is education. Mormons typically do get a decent education, in spite of their religiosity. Southerners – not so much. Mississippi seems to always be on the very bottom when it comes to education.

            1. Mormons typically do get a decent education, in spite of their religiosity.

              ? Why would you think that the two are negatively correlated (or that one causes the other to be stifled)?


  2. Yeah Ron, maybe there are some other variables going on there besides religion. But then again, the sun did come up this morning and the rooster did crow. So maybe one caused the other. You called it Ron.

    1. I think he’s saying “you so-called God couldn’t save you from single motherhood, disease and violent crime, bwahaha!”

      Interesting that when necessary, left-libertarians are willing to assume that single motherhood and broken families are bad things.

      1. TF: Actually, as I understand it, the faithful do tend to decry those behaviors. I believe that they call them, well, gosh, I think it starts with an “s” – oh what is it? Oh, yes, sins. They tend to call them sins.

        BTW, I would think that all libertarians would agree that people should take responsibility for their actions and try not to harm other people.

        1. But independently of what all those religious people think, is single motherhood a sub-optimal situation compared to an intact family? Allowing for how it isn’t always Mom’s fault, there are exceptions, etc., etc.

          1. I still think it is fine for Ron to make this argument, even if he doesn’t believe that single-parent homes are “less than” because he is arguing from the moral understanding of a religious person to say “even by YOUR standards things are bad”.

            If I am understanding it correctly, anyways.

            1. I wanted to clarify, because he mentioned single motherhood alongside murder and sexually transmitted diseases. As to the latter two, I presume he thinks these things are objectively, not just “bad according to YOUR so-called morality.”

              1. objectively *bad*, not just “bad according to YOUR so-called morality.”

          2. If it is suboptimal, it might explain the happiness difference.

            Its like Ron hasn’t even heard of confounding variables.

        2. Oh, yes, sins. They tend to call them sins.

          Which explains the high level of religion. Non-sinners have no need of religion (at least Christianity).

          1. Yes, even if surveys showed that Jesus’ followers contained a disproportionate number of prostitutes and tax collectors, that would simply illustrate His remark that “I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” (Luke 5:32).

            Of course, the statistics Ron Bailey cites don’t tell us whether the Mississippians doing the all the murdering and screwing are the same Mississippians who are highly religious (by their own estimate, at least).

            1. I imagine Billy Joe Bob about to go knock over a liquor store, but just before he steps out the door he pauses to assure the Gallup pollster that, yes, he is very religious.

            2. Might be that Mississippi having the highest percentage of black residents per state (37%) and Vermont having the next to lowest percentage (1%) might also contribute somewhat to those disparities.

              Kinda like Hawaii having the best weather and highest percentage of Asian citizens might contribute to it having the lowest murder rate, and Utah having the highest percentage of Mormons might contribute to it having the happiest citizens.

              1. The good news is that the black crime rate isn’t about genetics, but about culture – and a fairly recent cultural development, too.

                Once released from slavery, the first thing many black people did was look for their families – because wicked masters and slave-dealers had a habit of separating wives and husbands, parents and children.

                In the days of Jim Crow, black families tended to hold together – after all, who are you going to rely on if not each other?

                In the Sixties, Daniel Patrick Moynihan noticed a new and disturbing trend of increased out-of-wedlock pregnancies in the black community and warned that this was a disaster in the making. Of course, the enlightened people called him a racist and said family structure didn’t matter. (I guess all those former slaves trying to rebuild their families after the Civil War simply weren’t enlightened enough to realize this.)

                Now the out-of-wedlock birth rate is going up among other racial groups, which I suppose is good news on the racial-justice front because it shows that all humans regardless of race are subject to these sorts of social ills.

                1. Nowadays, of course, even social “scientists” are obliged to acknowledge the link between broken families and crime.

        3. is it the faithful or people in states where a lot of faithful live? It’s not like MS has a shortage of populations known for out of wedlock birth, which VT distinctly lacks. And while some folks do, in fact, call those things sins, a far more dominant culture has hand-waved the consequences of bad behavior and demanded that others subsidize those results.

        4. Perhaps the lesson is that destitute people need more religion? Especially single black mothers who were abandoned by their thug baby daddies?

        5. The beautiful thing about Christianity is that your sins can be forgiven, even “washed away”, without much of a penalty. It even makes excuses for you, saying “we’re all sinners”. So heck, go out and sin. Come Sunday, all is forgiven. Which is why you can’t trust Christians.

          1. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
            For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin?because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
            Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
            What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!”

            Most of Romans 6:1-15

    2. That’s a terrible example, John. Roosters do crow because the sun comes up.

      1. They crow before the sun comes up. So their crowing is correlated with the sun coming up. “Just because the sun came up doesn’t mean the rooster crowing caused it” is a very old and very common explanation of why correlation does not necessarily equal causation.

        1. You got the order wrong in your original statement which is what led to the confusion.

          1. It seems that the commentariat isn’t familiar with this very old story/joke/fable.

    3. One also needs to examine rankings in things like jobs, home ownership, economic mobility, overall health, and the like. But that misses the key fallacy here.

      Bailey is presuming that bad behavior is somehow caused (hypocritically) by those 56% of very religious people. Rather, why not consider that those people ? faced with their environment and lifestyle (especially among some of the other 44%) ? are seeking consolation in the divine rather than in culture, government, or hedonism?

      Correlation vs causation and order of operations are both important cognitive biases to overcome when trying to write freshman-level journalism.

  3. Mississippi is more religious than Utah?

    I doubt that for some reason.

    1. So do I. I also find it odd that Ron so often feels to need to try and prove that atheists are really happier and have fewer cavities and such than theists. It is almost like he is compensating for something.

      1. J: I am just here to help.

        1. How about rerunning the results adjusting for income.

            1. No, that would be called actual analysis. You don’t get cocktail invites doing that. Keep being a prick Ron, it suits you well

            2. and race.

              Oh nonsense, the fact that Vermont is 95% white (second only to Maine in percentage of the population that is white.) and Mississippi is 59% white (only DC and Hawaii have a fewer whites per capita) has nothing to do with these stats. Nothing at all. It’s all the religion.

              1. It sucks to be the descendants of sharecroppers.

                Film at 11.

        2. So am I Ron. Maybe some day you will accept it.

        3. What’s the happiest comparison between anti-nihilist atheists and atheists who hope and pray for their materialist utopia of self-driving cars and extreme life extension?

          1. *happiness, Jesus Kurzweil Christ.

          2. JT: Rapture of the nerds!

            1. “JT: Rapture of the nerds!”

              Ok, that one was good.

      2. Utah is 3rd behind MS and AL. I still don’t see it. Only 54% in UT.

        The top 12, btw, is 10 southern states, Utah and South Dakota?

        Really, didn’t see that one coming.

        1. Mormons and Lutherans.

      3. Like most of us on some level or another, we like to find correlations that match our own predilections. However, I agree that it is quite tiresome.

      4. Atheists are so happy. That’s why they need to constantly remind everyone of how much better their lives are vs non-atheists. Obsessively comparing yourself to others is a sure sign of contentment, right?

          1. Do you even own a TV? I don’t even own a TV. That’s is how better I am.

            1. I don’t own a TV or a car. That must make me way better 🙂

          2. But are you a crossfitting, vegan, non-TV owning, athiest. Check and Mate.

        1. Maybe atheists, since they don’t believe in God, have no problem with lying to a pollster about their level of happiness.

    2. Mississippi is more religious than Utah?

      Depends on how you define the term. If you go by percentage who define their faith as “very or somewhat important”, Mississippi (89%) beats Utah (73%).

      If you go by sheer intensity — hours spent in church or doing church business or praying or thinking about God each week — the Mormons are gonna win hands down, despite the higher prevalence of non-religious folks there.

      1. Time spent on pyramid schemes doesn’t count.

        1. Govt worship doesn’t count? Why not, it’s the biggest religion in the world?

          And who would win? Mass, NY, or Cali? DC too, I suppose.

    3. The problem is that the question being asked ISN’T which state is more religious. It’s which has more people who personally identify as “very religious” (very “somewhat religious” or “not religious” or some category that only culturally affiliates with a religion). That’s a definition which depends on sect and local expectations.

      For example, a devout Sunday Catholic like myself in a random suburb is going to have a different day-to-day experience of religion than a community-active evangelical in the Bible Belt, who may well attend services far less frequency, but be more apt to answer “very religious” because of the community effect. Consider even the self-definition of a secular Jew in a heavily-Jewish area of NYC who is surrounded by his religious ethno-culture (he’ll likely use more casual Yiddish than I would Church Latin).

  4. I do not think Bailey gets what turning the other cheek is

    1. I always thought it meant turning your ass around and running away.

    2. ??

      He brought up murder. I tend to think that murdering someone is not an example of turning the other cheek.

      1. He said that they were less inclined to turn the other cheek when it came to violent crime. Unless he’s suggesting that all murders in Mississippi are the result of someone retaliating, it’s incoherent.

      2. What if you’re murdered by neck-snapping, so your other cheek is turned for you?


    3. Why does everything end up being about anal sex?!

    4. I believe it means not being provoked by insults. Which in fairness, conflicts pretty heavily with Southern honor culture. I don’t think the cheek in question was necessarily meant to be a cheek being assaulted by an armed robber’s punch or a slash with a gladius, more of a cheek getting a backhanded slap across it with a glove.

      1. Actually, the honor culture question is a very good one. While we traditionally speak of honor culture (especially in the South) among more well-off populations, it’s likely at play as much across the region (and in transplant communities, such as in Second Great Migration-era black inner cities in the North). As such, you have generations in many places who have inculcated with codes of behavior for which they don’t know (and no longer recognize) the meaning.

        We could see the same in shame culture areas of the older-population North, for example. I actually had to crack up, when doing genealogy work over the past year and realized that many of the issues in my family (part of the original batch of the 17th NY Anglo-Dutch upper class) all seem to date back to breakdowns of two generations in the Civil War that were treated then with shame and whisky!

  5. It’s because everything’s covered in maple syrup.

    1. Lots of weed in the Green Mountain state too. That could well explain it.

      1. I am sure the largely homogeneous make-up has nothing to do with it either.

  6. Another useless study/poll that, no doubt, will be used by smug atheistic Northeasterners. I am not a very religious person, but am tired of hearing how much more superior those who don’t go to church, synagogue, or whatever, are.

    1. There are some good things about religious people and about atheists. There are some bad things about religious people and about atheists. Why not quit worrying about it and just ask what does this particular person do?

    2. My atheist friends are the angriest people I know.

  7. Now look here Mr. Bailey. On this here website called “Reason”, it is your duty to only present studies and facts which cast the Left in as terrible of a light as possible. Otherwise everyone knows you are just a virtue-signaling Proggie who hates Republicans and not-so-secretly want to kill conservatives in Mao-like purges.

    1. Your correlating religious belief with party affiliation, ignoring, of course, that the most solidly Democratic voting bloc (African Americans) is also one of the most religious demographics.

      False equivalency, stupid conclusion. Hey, you could do Ron’s job!

      1. careful or someone will call you racist.

    2. …so chemjeff also posts regularly to VDARE. Interesting. Didn’t know you swung that way, buddy.

  8. This article, ladies and gentlemen, showcases Reason’s science correspondent as a statistical analyst.

    1. H: Just noting some interesting correlations.

      1. While ignoring more relevant correlations. If atheists think religious belief is so superfluous then why ascribe such conclusions from whether or not people are believers?

      2. Pointless correlations absent other important variables, income and education levels for a couple. Somebody above mentions race, but that’s covariant with income and education.

        You know better than this.

        1. With articles like this, it’s a real wonder why Gary Johnson’s support collapsed in Utah

      3. Just noting some interesting correlations

        Phew! Good to know he isn’t overly-invested in this narrative!

    2. H: Another correlation that you might find of interest: The happiest countries are the least religious. Just saying.

      1. Like the libertarian utopias of the Netherlands and China!

      2. Here’s my favorite paragraph from that article:

        “This could help explain why the U.S. ? with significant gaps in its government safety nets – is more religious than Europe despite having a similar level of economic development (1).”

        Progressives are the most religious people I’ve ever met. It’s just that their god isn’t invisible and it lives in DC. “Oh gawd, I beeseech thee! Give me free community college!”

      3. What unit does one measure happiness with? Like, you use pounds or kilograms for weight, you use feet or meters for length, what is the objective, scientific unit used to measure happiness?

        1. The unit is called the PROG. Europeans are super happy because everything there is free. Yet all they do is sit around and bitch about Americans all of the time.

      4. so being 95% one race or ethnic group, culturally homogeneous, not financing a permanent welfare class, and a shared ethos in which everyone assumes responsibility (albeit at ridiculous tax rates) makes for a happy society? Say it isn’t so.

        Those places have all of the benefits and comforts of Western society with none of the social shit we deal with in the States. At least with far less of the social shit.

        1. In some countries with conditions you are describing, everything is free for only 50% of your earnings. And the best part is that you can retire earlier which gives you more time to bitch about Americans having guns and other stuff that no one needs.

      5. I find happiness surveys a bit silly. Some of the happiest people I know are mentally handicapped. Others are just stupid and happy to wallow in the mud. Motivation is a desire to move from where you are to something better because you are unhappy where you are. I’m think lots of people who self describe as happy are likely idiots.

      6. The whitest countries are the happiest.

        Or, happy people are egotistical and less religious.

      7. “If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.” 1 Corinthians 15:19

        To be fair, Paul was speaking of his missionaries, but considering the persecution hitting the Church at the time, it applies quite well to many Christians.

        And here I sit not being directly persecuted for my beliefs (at least not anymore). Who am I to complain?

  9. Unnecessary article making false correlations and mocking religious people. Yup, you’re a jerk

  10. Sadly these numbers don’t mean what people think they mean. All of those ills are occurring amongst a pretty narrow demographic.

    1. Exactly. There is no guarantee that the 59% very religious group overlap with the other groups with the ills at all.

      This is just a transparent attempt by Bailey to collectively condemn those stupid-ass Christians.

      1. It is the religion of progressivism/socialism that has destroyed their culture, not religion. Before they were a culture of dependency they were more religious and nearly all black families were two parent households. Thomas Sowell has some very interesting and enlightening things to say about that.

  11. Geez, this article was nothing but apples and oranges, highlighting a single variable that probably has little to do with the stats given, which are dependent on demographics far more than religion. Terrible post from the normally good Bailey.

    Also, holy shit, I didn’t know that 40% of all births were to unmarried women. That makes me very sad. I would have guessed a smaller number.

    But I’m not allowed to be sad about a number like that and still be a libertarian, according to some around here.

  12. How does one measure happiness?

    1. By asking people to pick a number from 1 to 10 on how happy they are and then play with the numbers you get. Not something you can measure objectively, of course.

      1. Total Happiness Above Constant 0.

  13. The other thing about this supposed “analysis” is that there is no assertion that the 59% “very religious” cohort necessarily overlap very much with the cohorts of the bad people.

    Terrible collectivist thinking.

  14. Well, how would it be possible for Vermont to NOT be happier than Mississippi?

    According to Wiki:

    Vermont: 94.3% of the population identified as white not of Hispanic or Latino origin in a 2013 US Census estimate.

    Vermont is the 2nd least populous state. And there are no jobs there. So we know who those 94.3% whiteys are. Wealthy retirees from NYC and Boston. The other 5.7% are the illiterate illegal aliens who mow their lawn and shovel snow off their driveways. And those latter cannot read the polls, let alone answer them.

    I’m not even going to bother posting any facts from Mississippi. We already know that religion is not the only factor in Vermont residents being happier.

  15. So what I’m getting from this article is that Vermonters never do anything.

    1. They read the NYT and bitch about those ignorant hillbillies in the flyover.

  16. Good god, people lighten up. I don’t think Ron is making any concrete claims here, seems like some half-silly comparisons between different silly surveys. Christsake, it’s a four paragraph fluff piece not a masters thesis. Jesus wept.

    1. It’s the point I perceive him trying to make that makes me mad. And he’s trying to do it with mentally flaccidity, using meaningless statistics to make it seem like his prejudices have some kind of objective backing.

    2. Ron’s a good guy and he does write some good articles here. He has to throw out some fluff occasionally or he won’t get invited to the cocktail party. And for a Reason writer, nothing is worse than that.

      1. Oh, I agree that Ron is a good guy. I like his stuff. But this was shit.

  17. My US travel observation is that Maryland and Utah are the most religious states in the US. Maryland is named after the Virgin Mary for heaven’s sake. This is Roman Catholic central. The RC church has real estate holdings in Marland and the surrounding area that dwarf anything but the Mormons.

    1. “The RC church has real estate holdings in Marland”

      Crikey, if you’re going to criticize it, at least pronounce it right. That’s Murlan, land lubber!

  18. Hell, I don’t care if you’re religious or not, you’d be depressed if you lived in Mississippi too.

    1. I’d be even more depressed if I lived in Vermont and everyone around me was a retiree from NYC or Boston. And it’s fucking cold!

      1. Pfft. Vermont, cold? You southerners know nothing of cold.

    2. i take you’ve never been. Beautiful state in terms of scenery and countryside. Not wealthy, of course, though there is money there.

      1. It would be nice if it weren’t for the people.

      2. I don’t find hot as hell swamps, lowlands and poverty particularly beautiful.

        Now untamed boreal forest at sub-zero temperatures, that’s the shit.

        1. Yeah but I’m sure the food they have there isn’t nearly as good.

          And Mississippi is pretty: trees, hills, mountains. Go west past Houston and there’s nothing to look at. and it’s hot for real.

    3. It really does suck ass.

    4. I loved in Mississippi for awhile. It depends on which part of the state one inhabits. There are some very lovely areas. I imagine that around the middle of the state (Jackson) is fairly miserable, though.

      Tunica County was once the poorest area in the nation, until the casinos were built.

      1. “Lived” in Mississippi.

        And loved, heh, heh. Tax Deduction #4 was born there.

  19. So either not ingesting alcohol and caffeine and being sexually repressed is the key to happiness, or Mormons are from Mars.

    1. Not Mars, Kolob.

    2. Marital bliss isn’t the same as sexual repression.

  20. Polls have been basically worthless since the late 80’s early 90’s. They should add to the count how many times people hang up on them. Such as for every 1000 people we called 817 hung up before we got a chance to ask our very important question. With the growth of cell service and shrinking land line usage they are increasingly worthless. The only people who sit through all those well reseached questions are in this order; retirees, ill informed people with a bone to pick, people with a mental illness and the occasional person like me, who answers their very well researched questions with bullshit answers cause I’m bored.

    1. “the occasional person like me, who answers their very well researched questions with bullshit answers cause I’m bored.”

      So *you’re* the one who screwed up all those polls?

      I hope you’re happy, giving all those Hillary supporters false hopes last year.

    1. That’s how you get the most clicks

  21. Voters in Vermont are more likely to vote for a Socialist Senator than those in Mississippi. But it’s not uncommon for those of who give up religion to instead worship the state.

  22. Cool little article. Can we get more of this please? Some suggestions, comparing:

    Murder rate and melanin concentration
    Happiness and net tax liability
    Homosexuality and Muslims
    Happiness and FGM practices

    1. Muslim homosexuals are so happy they’re literally flying from rooftops!

        1. I’m sure you’re not completely serious here, but am I the only person on this planet that can both be horrifyingly offended by something AND find it utterly hilarious?

          1. Good jokes go for the sweet spot between Too Far and Not Far Enough.

            It’s like Goldilocks, it can’t be too lame, and it can’t be too nasty, it has to be Just Right.

          2. I’m a Christian Fundamentalist/Evangelical who also happens to have been a Marine.

            I live my life in a state of offended giddiness.

  23. Thanks for the STD pdf download

  24. Blackest state versus whitest state? Was that where you were going with Ron?

  25. The data is obviously worthless as fuck because it simply measured race differences.

    I would be interested to see the how open people are to socialism for theists and atheists, corrected and uncorrected for race. It seems atheists like it more, but that may just be how it appears because proggies have this weird irrational hate for Christianity but not other religions.

    Funny thing is, I would much rather live in Mississippi. And I think in long term projections a place like Vermont is far more likely to turn itself into Venezuela than Mississippi. Successful white people seem to have a strong desire to join cultish politics to stagnate their economies.

    1. So happy I did not get that job in the green mt state. Not because of the large number of atheists (I would have been happy for that, being one myself), but the rampant socialism far outweighs the glorious autumns, magnificent winters and verdant valleys. I fantasize (never having been there) that at least in Mississippi, there would be an understanding that you own what you earn.

  26. I can’t find my copy of Robert Putnam’s ‘Bowling Alone’ so I may be mistaken but there was a graph to support Putnam’s assertion that those states that had higher social capital had lower incidences of tax evasion. Yet, there was Vermont with one of the highest social capital ratings and Mississippi with one of the lowest social capital ratings yet both had about the same (low) level of tax evasion. However, there was no discussion as to why that was nor if it was Vermont or Mississippi that was the outlier.

  27. This hammers home (to me) my belief that “very religious” people, especially Southern Baptists, gather each Sunday in large circle jerk and congratulate each other on how good, righteous and holy they are. The next day, they reenter the ‘real world’ and resume screwing over anyone they wish.

    1. …”very religious” people, especially Southern Baptists, gather each Sunday in large circle jerk and congratulate each other on how good, righteous and holy they are.

      That’s not how Christianity works. Step #1 is to acknowledge one’s own state of sinfulness. #2 is to accept Christ’s free (to us) gift of redemption.

      “All our righteousnesses are as filthy tags” to God. Filthy tags as in the blood-and-pus soaked rags of a leper who threw them away because even he can’t stand them anymore.

      1. “Rags”, not “tags”.

        Stupid phone.

  28. I grew up in VT. I have lived in GA for the last 36 years.

    As someone pointed out previously, VT is the whitest state in the Union. Outside of DC, MS has the largest number of black people. If you had attributed any of the negative behavior to race, you would be labeled as a racist or a bigot. But somehow attributing things to religion is ok.

    If people are not religious, it doesn’t bother me. That is between them and God and I wish them well. And if people have to pint out character flaws in others to make themselves feel better, so be it. As a preacher once said, a church is a hospital for sinners, not a house for saints.

    But having known a lot of Vermonters, it wouldn’t surprise me that they said they were happy. That does not mean they really are. Even secular people can say one thing and mean another.

  29. “Map of the US by bad things” and “map of the US by race” turn out to match up pretty well. Is this REALLY where you wanted to go, Ron? Is this crossposted to VDARE? Seems right up their alley.

  30. The real difference is probably the fact that the south is historically (and still) much more agricultural, meaning uneducated and unskilled people in rural cultures with very limited opportunities. If you do gain skills you have to go to a city to take advantage of them, and this tilts the stats towards more urban states. Even the non-slaves who came for what opportunity was there on the farms, were the most impoverished Europeans. Where you start isn’t everything, but it’s a huge bias in the stats that’s unfair to ignore.

    If you break the country down by counties you get a much different picture. Cities like Frisco or Richardson Texas, are no doubt way more religious than the extreme of yankee atheist socialism, yet have murder rates of less than one per 100k. They also have way more guns than whatever aging developed European country people like to compare the US too, by the way.

  31. After all, it frequently reported that religious people are happier than non-religious folk. Surely, the stronger faith of Mississippians must make them happier than more doubtful and dour Vermonters? Well no.

    Thanks for proving how much a waste of time it is to compare 2 completely different states based on one factor.

  32. If you wanna be religous, that’s great. If not, that’s great. While I respect your right to free speech I feel that this is an article that belongs on a different media outlet. Like CNN.

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