I've been pondering the huge differences between religion in the UK and religion in the USA.

Back in England, its no big deal not to be a Christian - at least among other Brits. No one in my circle of friends/acquaintances/co-workers really brought up religion as a big "thing" to discuss, though I knew a lot who went to church, and a lot who just didn't, for whatever reason.

But no-one was labelled. Not one of them would criticise another for a different belief system. Certainly there would be occasional discussions, but they were always very civil. No one felt the need to put up huge pro or anti faith billboards, or if they did they were mainly ignored. Religion was just like a gentle background noise.

So - WTF! is it with the USA?

I moved to Texas 5 years ago - not necessarily a great thing for a Pagan (as my thinking then was).

And actually, interrupting my train of thought - might I still have been Pagan if I'd not moved to Texas? Does the bible belt actually *make* atheists out of people if they are capable of a single independent thought? Does their black and white mentality force people to "choose a side"?

Anyway, back on track - we don't get the huge televangelical crap in the UK, and that began to sicken me after catching a few of them on late night cable. People like Creflo Dollar (and how the merry hell do people NOT see that for what it is!  His name is even saying "pay me, pay me") or Pat Robertson the insane. 

And as a newcomer to the USA, I simply can't understand how these con artists are getting away with it. These are the guys who are artificially creating the rift between those who follow JC's teachings (allegedly) and those who don't give a damn. The simplistic "for us or against us" mentality. And I am stunned that they have such a hold on people that some states won't allow "atheists" to hold office.  In the UK, no one gives a rats arse what your beliefs are, as long as you can do the job. Yes, the prime minister may state that he is Church of England, but thats not a great deal, its just like acknowledging that you drink earl grey tea. Having said that, some news-rags might make a few headlines if the PM was a Catholic, but it would still be comparatively muted.

So - how the .. underground place of eternal torture.. did it get to this state in America? How have so many people fallen for this shit? 

End of rant.

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(JBH) There are various theories. One is that the USA has a "free market" in religion, due to the First Amendment forbidding any "official", state-sponsored religion, and so religions here had to think about marketing, and over the decades they got good at it. Whereas in Europe, many countries had an official church, whether mild and tolerant (COE, Lutheran, whatever) or obnoxious (Catholic), clergy did not have to think about marketing to fill their pews and secure their income. So, as a result, those who decided to drop out of the official church were ignored.

As to why so many fall for evangelical or fundamentalist varieties of Christianity, I speculate that (besides the standard selling points, such as the promise of a nice afterlife), it's a very inexpensive way to secure the "moral high ground", the conviction that you and those like you are morally superior to anyone different or critical. In American evan/fundi religion, you gain moral superiority by BELIEVING X, Y, and Z, not by DOING or BEHAVING in any particular way, so you can (for example) keep slaves, kill natives, oppress women, get rich, make war, whatever, without the slightest interference from your religion. This was especially important in the South, the former slaveholding states, but had it's appeal nationwide. One can be "holier than thou" by being "more Christian than thou", which you can do by "taking the scriptures more literally than thou", down to such details as believing that women have one more rib than men, because God took a rib out of Adam. There was a time in history when devout Catholics would "mortify their flesh", these Protestants have chosen instead to mortify their intellect, practicing righteous stupidity. And it turns out, once you have learned how to be righteously stupid regarding the scriptures, you discover that you can be righteously stupid in all other areas of life as well, in whatever subject you wish. Childcare, law enforcement, medicine, history, politics, just have FAITH that your desired opinion is the Truth and it will be. If you believe that the only requirement for getting a free ticket to Heaven is to BELIEVE that Jesus has given you one, then the only requirement for having true beliefs generally is to believe that your beliefs are true. Whoopee!!
Also a Brit and also something I've never been able to understand. I listen to a number of podcasts that come out of the States and fail to understand how people in the US have to put up with what appears to be so much discrimination.

In the UK we are obviously not taught a lot of US history, but I always thought the separation of church and State was intrinsic to the US constitution. As such I would have thought that atheists in the US have the law on their side.

Don't understand.
Have never been to Texas,and have no desire to go there. I think some redneck might shoot me.

Australia is similar to the UK except far more casual about religion. We have a long tradition of irreverence towards all forms of authority. This can amount to hostility and contempt towards humbug clergy and politicians especially. I suspect part of this attitude may be due our convict ancestry. (Well, not MINE: I'm 4th generation South Aussie. MY state was founded in 1836 as a free colony)
We DO have a lunar religious right. However,most of 'em live in 'the deep north', (Queensland) which is over 2000 miles from me. OK we have the odd happy clappy church and Mormon temple,but everyone just ignores them.
A great, fun book to read about the early founding parents of the USA - Sarah Vowell, "The Wordy Shipmates". Actually quite funny, as she tells it.

My impression is that the founders of the original US colonies weren't here for "freeedom of religion" but rather because they didn't beleive religion in England was restrictive & harsh enough. They wanted to practice their tyranny in a more pure and extreme form, away from the corrupt forces in Europe.

So basically, along with smallpox and syphilis, American religiosity was a gift of the colonizers.

p.s. If you buy the book via amazon - and it is a great read by an atheist author - best to go through the Amazon button to the right on Nexus, so that Nexus gets a little piece of the deal.
Holy shit! I just bought $100 worth of textbooks from Amazon and I forgot all about that Amazon-AN thing. :/
Oh well, Next quarter, I'll do it ;D
You nailed it on the televangel, TV in, mass media flooring so many generations' thought processes... at the chugh' ching' of so many god inc.'s
>

I'd go as far as stating that 'foreign' influences (offshore tax havens screwing the citizens) had a great deal and still is a great deal of the problem... then there's the books like: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-City-Ciudad-Economys-Killing/dp/156858...

which are in regards to majority, to my best knowledge, Catholic societies, racist forshizzl...
well, here it's proof in the info pudding again:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BpmeX6lwZc

oh don't forget the fear, muting of imagination (art, sign of all that's evil in the world etc..) and just plain control freaks that found a loophole to get their dirt on... frfxsake! wake up, it's played out and overrun by high-tech anyhow... debate awaaaay!!!

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