In dissecting the data about how belief that morality is tied to religion correlates with poverty, CJ Werleman had a beautiful bit of wording about how this relates to the American South:
In an earlier piece, I wrote that the primary reason for abject child poverty in these Southern states is that more than a third of children have parents who lack secure employment, decent wages and healthcare. But thanks to religion, these poor saps vote for the party that rejects Medicaid expansion, opposes early education expansion, legislates larger cuts to education, and slashes food stamps to make room for oil and agriculture subsidies on top of tax cuts and loopholes for corporations and the wealthy. Essentially, the Republican Party has convinced tens of millions of Southerners that a vote for a public display of the Ten Commandments is more important to a Christians’ needs than a vote against cuts in education spending, food stamp reductions, the elimination of school lunches and the abolition of healthcare programs.
Yup. And even worse, the GOP has convinced these people that it’s the Democrats who are to blame for their economic state and that believing in Jesus makes you wiser than all those elites with their college educations. Compliment them, placate them, get their votes, and laugh all the way to the bank.
As someone on my facebook page said: “What religion does is make people think they are more secure. But when they have real security – economic, physical, food, emotional, etc – and they realize that that security comes from the collective efforts of the real people around them, religion as a placeholder loses importance.”