I deal with the same with my area, the rural pockets of my state. Not as bad as the south though, as the hyperreligiosity dissappears as fast as you can arrive back in civilization (the bigger cities).
It has in the past been a virtue to believe in god. That meant you were humble and a moral person. Not believing was synonymous with arrogance and immorality, someone not to be trusted. Not to mention a "sinful" and selfish lifestyle. In fact it is still considered so. Faith was also considered a virtue. Thankfully the "New Atheism" is challenging those ideas but they are still part of the culture in the South. NC is where I grew up.
Look at the statistics and you'll see it's not just the South. http://religions.pewforum.org/reports
Hi there Bombarded. I'm land locked in the Bible Belt, too, in Tennessee.
I just joined yesterday.
You are absolutely correct.
We don't dare say anything that might assault their fragile beliefs.
It's so utterly ridiculous.
I honestly don't know how they reconsile the rotation of the planet with religion.
But down here, corn is king..or rather the "Lard"