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The Bible Belt is the part of the United States where strict fundamentalist Protestant (particularly Baptist) Christianity dominates life. Anybody who isn't a Real True Christian™ may find themselves unwelcome at best, told by their fundamentalist neighbors that they will burn in Hell. Those who are particularly unlucky will indeed find themselves in Hell — that is, Hell on Earth, risking physical attack against themselves or even their children. This happens especially in the smaller towns and villages. It even affects the way they vote. Homosexuals are probably most at risk. Youngsters who tell their parents that they are gay risk being disowned or even attacked physically.
While the Bible Belt is often considered synonymous with the American South, many people will consider themselves from the Bible Belt if their particular town or family followed a Bible Belt-style existence. Also, "Bible Belt" can also be extended to refer to high prevalence of Christianity in regions outside the United States. For instance, in Sweden, there is a Bible Belt between Jönköping and Gothenburg.
Many different places try to claim to be the "buckle of the Bible Belt," usually intended to mean the most fundamentalist part. Kentucky, southern Ohio, Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle are often considered contenders. While not contiguous with the rest of the Bible Belt, the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado is often held to be an exclave of the Bible Belt due to the preponderance of conservative Protestant megachurches and activist groups in the city — something that regularly makes the rest of Colorado (which is profoundly liberal/libertarian-leaning) uneasy.
While Utah, southern Idaho, and Arizona also have a large number of fundamentalist Christians, the Christianity in that part of the country is of the Mormon variety more often than not, and so they and the denizens of the "proper" Bible Belt view each other as God-forsaken heretics. This region of the country is known as the Mormon Corridor, or the Jell-O Belt (a Mormon stereotype is that they love the gelatin snack food Jell-O).
 The rest of the world
Up to the 1990s, people in other countries could say, “It’s sad. Religious people in some parts of the United States are crazy. It’s nothing to do with us and we can’t do anything about it.” Not so today, in the modern world of the Internet where information is easy to find and practically accessible to all.
- The bad side: Today United States fundies from the Bible Belt and from the rest of the United States are active on the Internet. Fundamentalists in other countries are vulnerable to infection with American fundamentalist ideas, along with some more liberal Christians. English speaking countries are especially vulnerable, since English is the only language most American fundamentalists are "fluent" in.
- The good side: Today, rational people from the whole English-speaking world can contact people in the Bible Belt, and can denounce their illogical thinking. Many Bible Belt fundamentalists are too brainwashed to hear the message, but, hopefully, some will listen. At the same time, individuals in the Bible Belt (as well as other closed societies) can be exposed to ideas they would never encounter in their community.
- The completely flip side: Also, today, Americans can see that other countries have their own issues with religious extremists, despite their efforts to conceal it. (We're looking at YOU, Canada.)
 Alternate definition
Take a belt. A good, stout leather belt is best. Inscribe upon it some appropriate Bible verses, such as:
- "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." (Proverbs 13:24)
- "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." (Proverbs 19:18)
- "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." (Proverbs 22:15)
- "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14)
- "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." (Proverbs 29:15)
- "The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?" (Hebrews 12:6-7)
- "And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, and spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." (1 Kings 12:13-14)
- "And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables" (John 2:15)
This Bible Belt is best used in conjunction with a good old fashioned woodshed. See also: To Train Up a Child.
 Dirty little secrets
Many Bible Belters will brag about their God-fearin', small-town values. However, they do so because they are blissfully ignorant of the drawbacks and inconsistencies of living in socially backwards towns. As another website critical of religious extremism puts it, the Bible Belt "is an area with the highest divorce, murder, STD/HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, single parent homes, infant mortality, and obesity rates in the nation. As a region, the Bible Belt has the poorest health care systems and the lowest rates of high school graduation."
 The Poor Health Belt
Many Bible Belters have poor diets (e.g., "I'm a meat and potatoes man") and rarely exercise. The result is to be expected: This area of the U.S. has the highest obesity rate in the country, and most likely the world." Or, as a doctor conducting a mobile free clinic in New Orleans put it, "What used to be called the Bible belt — the Southern states — is now called the stroke belt, the HIV belt, the hypertension belt. We have a high rate of hypertension, probably the highest rates in the world."
 The Divorce Belt
The Bible Belt leads the nation in divorce, as you might expect among people who go on and on about the "sanctity of marriage". Meanwhile, those liberal heathens in New England tend to have the lowest divorce rates.
 The Swinger Belt
You would think that fundy parents would have realized by now that enforcing sexual repression on their kids just makes them hornier. Maybe that explains why the Bible Belt is one of the nation's hotbeds for swingers.
 See also
- Chastity belt
- Reformed Political Party — the part of the Netherlands that they win most of their votes from is called the Bible Belt in Dutch discourse
- ↑ William W. Zellner. Deep In The Bible Belt — One Atheist Professor's Experience.
- ↑ Mark Mardell. Candidates need saving in Bible Belt. BBC News. 2012 January 21.
- ↑ Bernadette C. Barton. Young and Gay in the Bible Belt: 'My Mom Came at Me With a Butcher Knife!' Alternet. 2009 April 14.
- ↑ Residents of California say it's the Southeast, we are not one of them! Wait, are we?
- ↑ Or at least Americans can see that there are other countries.
- ↑ Why us? We're not responsible for what Alberta does.
- ↑ The Moral Hypocrisy of the Bible Belt. Stop The Religious Right.org
- ↑ Bible Belt Needs a Bigger Belt: 9 of 10 Obese States in South. Ethics Daily. 2011 July 11.
- ↑ Transcript for "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" for Wednesday, September 1st, 2010. MSNBC. 2010 September 1.
- ↑ Pam Belluck. To Avoid Divorce, Move to Massachusetts. New York Times. 2004 November 14.
- ↑ Forrest Wilder. He Who Casts the First Stone. Texas Observer. 2010 February 24.
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