Home > Uncategorized > Now With 25% More Jesus

Now With 25% More Jesus

by Noah Lugeons

It’s been almost a decade since I lived in the deep south.  It hasn’t changed but I’m discovering quickly that I have.  I suppose the pro-Jesus stickers on the shop windows and the biblical passages on the newspaper and the Christ-praise on the menu board and the “Christian Owned” notes on the print ads were there the whole time.  And I’m sure I noticed them before.  But I don’t recall them pissing me off quite so much.

I’m seeing them everywhere now.  Every fourth business I walk into makes it damn clear that they’re Christian.  It’s a selling point for them: “Get your taxes done here because we love Jesus more than H&R Block!”  And it must be effective or so many businesses wouldn’t be doing it.  Sure, they lose my business when I see a big “Jesus Loves You” sticker next to the one that tells me that they accept Discover Card, but obviously I’m outweighed by the people who see the sign and say, “I’d rather support a Jesus-loving dry cleaner than a heathen one.”

But perhaps that view is hyper-capitalist.  The bakers who sue for the right to refuse the money of gay customers might get some residual business from fellow bigots, but I doubt that’s the motivating factor.  They’re doing it because they hate gay people and their bigotry trumps their desire to make money.  If I told a business owner that I was going to take my business elsewhere because of the Jesus sign on the door, he or she would probably be happy to hear it.  They would probably rather not cater to a godless spawn of the devil anyhow.

The exclusionary nature of faith somehow remains invisible to a vast swath of the faithful.  They actually argue that religion (or more specifically their religion) encourages universal fraternity, fellowship, community, inclusivity… and then they build a wall between themselves and non-believers, members of different faiths, gays, women and the scientifically literate.

So far I’ve kept my mouth shut when I see these “Christian owned business” signs, but eventually I’m not going to be able to.  I’ll go up to the proprietor and demand proof that he’s more Christian than the other barber.  I’ll ask if he would sacrifice his son as a burnt offering to the lord if so commanded.  I’ll ask if he would massacre babies in an armed conquest upon the lord’s decree.  I’ll ask if he thinks women should be allowed to speak in public.  And if he answers in the truly Christian way, I’ll point out that he’s a sociopathic fuck who shouldn’t be allowed to work with scissors.

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  1. January 25, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    You have my jaw on the floor. This is like a window into a different world. I’ve never seen a “Christian Owned Business” sign. This is really interesting. I was born and raised in the U.S., tried emigrating to Canada and returned partly because I couldn’t adjust. Consequently, I see myself as very, in fact annoyingly, American. Yet the world you’re describing is totally unknown to me. To me, the United States is a diverse country with people belonging to a wide variety of religions and a vibrant tradition of separation of church and state of which I am strongly appreciative.

    During the course of the past year, I’ve found myself getting in very odd conversations on the internet with other Americans and I feel like I’m talking to people from another culture. I guess I am. Some people say we’re heading to a second Civil War. What do you think?

    • January 25, 2014 at 6:45 PM

      I’ve lived for extended periods in the southeast, the midwest and the northeast and I can tell you that it’s very much like living in three different countries. I don’t know that this speaks to an impending civil war, since there’s no reason to assume that it was ever different. That being said, there is plenty of rhetoric from the fundies that would beg to differ.

      • January 25, 2014 at 7:05 PM

        I can’t think of anything that would trigger actual hostilities, but I do know that people in the Northeast are getting very sick of feeling like our own lives are being held hostage by people who not only want to live in a very different society, but would like to impose their society on us. That’s not to say that the Northeast doesn’t have its own lunatics, but there’s a definite feeling that they are less likely to be in charge here. There’s a lot of growing anger and resentment towards Southerners here.

        I’m mainly familiar with the East Coast, from the mid-Atlantic to New Hampshire, but that includes areas like Pennsylvania. I’ve lived in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland and vacation in Massachusetts regularly. I have some familiarity with the West Coast. Other than that, I’ve had boyfriends from the Mid-West who still had family there, but I can’t say that I “know” the area beyond an occasional visit. I have family in Virginia, the northern part of the state, but just outside of the area considered to be suburbs of D.C. They’ve tried to fix me up with men from the area and things have not gone well, so while the region is not as dramatic as you describe the Deep South, it would still be too southern for me to live there.

        I feel like the South is really holding this country back in many ways. I wish there was something that could be done about it. When I think about Creationism and things like that, it feels like the virus is spreading. I almost hesitate to say that, because I’ve seen some real online wars start up over this subject, but I actually like the culture I grew up in, but it’s disappeared, destroyed by the Southern Strategy and the conservative takeover.

        Sorry for the rant.

      • January 25, 2014 at 7:11 PM

        Rants are welcomed and encouraged.

        But I think we do ourselves a disservice if we try to divide it geographically. There are parts of Pennsylvania that are every bit as fundamentalist as the worst parts of Georgia. There are large swaths of the midwest that are every bit as theocratic as the deep south. And there are small pockets of progressive secularism throughout the nation. Growing anger and resentment toward Southerners is misplaced. It’s the fundamentalists that we need to focus on, wherever they are.

      • January 25, 2014 at 7:26 PM

        Truthfully, I’m worn out. I’m going on fifty and I barely care anymore. My main interest at this stage is to simply insulate myself from the mainstream culture. I’m no longer as politically active as I once was. It’s just hard for me to care anymore. I don’t have children and if other people don’t care if their kids learn false science, than who am I to say?

        I’m not a humanist, just an atheist. I don’t really care where the rest of humanity goes as long as I can keep myself from their fate.

        It’s hard for me to write politely because, truth be told, I hate the South. I can’t even begin to say what I really think of the place, and it’s not just the religion. It’s just icky, and I know that’s prejudiced. It’s an entirely personal, subjective opinion. My family in Virgina calls me a skinny, Northern bitch. They’re wrong. I’m not skinny.

  2. Saila Namai
    January 25, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    Ah Satire. Sweet. Bitter. And brutally honest.
    I propose a state wide american barber contest. May the most devout bathe in glory.

    • January 25, 2014 at 7:08 PM

      Don’t call it an “American Barber Contest.” The writer makes it very clear that this is a Southern phenomenon. You only help the Christian Nationalists in the rewriting of American history when you use that phrase. The United States has a fine history of a strong separation of church and state and you only help the religious bigots when you ignore that.

      • Saila Namai
        January 26, 2014 at 5:52 AM

        Yeah i realize that. Its a jab at american idol.

      • January 26, 2014 at 11:07 AM

        Didn’t get that. I might be the only person who’s never seen it.

  3. January 25, 2014 at 6:49 PM
  4. bob
    January 25, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    It HAS gotten worse here in the last few years Noah. But I keep telling myself that all of this display is desperation. What I’m seeing is the thrashing death throes of a dying monster, or that last desperate charge of the fanatic who knows that he is about to be overrun and he knows he’s going down, but just ain’t a gonna go gracefully. These christians, they’re a dying breed and in a few generations they’ll be as irrelevant as Zoroastrians, Mithrans, any other old dead religion. Its the new generations that will make the difference. The old ones are going down fighting, but like they’re going down fast. fojap is right, sort of, the south is a horrible place to live or raise your children, but you’d have to throw some stuff in there about generations of widespread poverty, lack of education and all that. There’s a lot more at work here than just religion. I think its a symptom and not a cause I guess. Yeah the ignorant, uneducated poor white trash, and their ignorant, uneducated poor white trash parents, and their ignorant, uneducated poor white trash grand parents, have their bumper stickers, and their more christian barber than your barber, barbers, but the people who are holding us all back as a society, politically, seem to be all over the place. I’m like fojap, I’ve just reached that time/age when I don’t expect anything in my life time, so I don’t keep much track of such things, but when I do hear about some crazy politician, some new fight to keep the kids ignorant, or some new attempt to take something away from us just because we like it. I guess that’s what scares me most and makes me wonder about the long term future, is that these people seem to be from all over the country. The “actual” people standing in the way of progress are likely to be in the mid-west, Kansas, Maine (the Bush’s are good old New England Yankees, don’t forget), Pennsylvania (Santorum), Minnesota, (Bachman) , Wisconsin (Ryan), Alaska (Palin), Massachusetts (Romney), ok I’ll give you Texas and Perry. 🙂 So, Noah, we might have to contend with bubba and his stickers but none of these goofballs are likely to be taking away any of our legal rights any time soon, well not directly anyway. Hang in there anyway Noah, its like moving next door to a dump, before long you’ll get used to the smell! 🙂

  5. Weltschmerz
    January 26, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Ha,Ha… The good ol’ Deep South. Next you’ll be complaining about all the confederate flags. Hell, they’re more prevalent than Don’t Tread On Me flags in my neck of the woods. There’s even a guy that drives up and down my road, in his pickup truck, with a huge rebel flag on a pole flapping in the wind. He’s even got a badge that says he’s allowed to conceal carry and a big old revolver strapped to his hip. That guy!!! What a character. Though he would have been better served if he used some of that gun money on dental work…. Well, that’s the good ol’ Deep South for ya’.

  6. January 26, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    As I sit and write this I can hear my neighbor’s car stereo blasting “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd which serves as a constant reminder that I am in Southeast Georgia aka The Bible Belt. There is a church on every corner, a Jesus fish on every other car and everyone thinks I’m their ‘brother’. Everywhere I turn I see something that screams, and it pains me to type these words, “I love Jesus” and I makes me want to scream! A huge majority of the business have some sort of Christian logo displayed within and everyone bids you adieu with a hearty “God Bless You” or “Have a blessed day”. If ever a person could be buried under weight of Christianity It would be me, the one person standing in the middle screaming “Have you read your book!!!!” I love a good debate with a Christian about their holy book and I take every opportunity to question just how well they know their book. What I have found is that they know the ‘feel good’ verses well, but when i start bringing up the ‘not-so-good’ verses their eyes gloss over and they get the deer in the headlights look.

    I started a blog on the things your Sunday school teacher never taught you for the sole reason of educating others about what the Bible actually says. I hope it will help others learn the truth.

    noreligionrequired.wordpress.com
    http://www.facebook.com/noreligionreq

  1. September 10, 2015 at 3:46 AM

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