Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bill Crawford: Unseemly Politics Belies Christian Seeming Mississippi

In 2017 Gallup reported Mississippi had retained its spot as the most religious state in the U.S., with 59% of residents calling themselves “very religious” and another 29% “moderately religious.”

A Pew Research Center report published in 2015 counted 83% of adult Mississippians as Christian. That would approximate 1.9 million adults.

Making up most of the 83% were 79% associated with religious denominations; the other 4% were nondenominational Christians. The breakout by denomination showed 48% Baptist, 7% Methodist, 6% Pentecostal, 4% Catholic, 2% Presbyterian, 2% Church of Christ, less than 2% Episcopalian, less than 2% Lutheran, 1% Free Methodist and other Holiness Family Churches, and about 6% other denominations.

Pew reported 49% of adults attend religious services at least once a week. This suggests at least 1.1 million Christians attend church weekly in Mississippi.

They attend at least 4,465 Christian churches —the number may be significantly higher since all Missionary Baptist Churches are not enumerated. A Clarion-Ledger story in 2017 counted 2,132 churches in the Mississippi Baptist Convention, 987 United Methodist Churches, 364 Church of Christ congregations, at least 300 churches in the General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Mississippi, 191 Pentecostal Churches, 122 parishes in the Jackson and Biloxi Dioceses of the Catholic Church, 89 Episcopal Churches, and 80 Seventh-day Adventist Churches. The article did not include Presbyterian Churches of which there are over 200.


That’s lots of Mississippians attending lots of Christian churches, all studying the same Scripture, all bound by the same New Testament commandments – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

All this makes Mississippi a truly Christian seeming state.

Hmmm.

The same Pew report showed 44% of Mississippi adults considered themselves Republicans, 42% Democrats, and 14% leaned toward neither. Logically, that means the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats must be Christians, and should love each other.

Yet our politics belies that – the partisan voices hurling hate and vitriol and stirring up discord, the forces pitting Christian Republicans against Christian Democrats.

Surely those engaged in such unseemly politics cannot be among the faithful multitudes who are invested with the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

Implausibly, we even see some who wear the mantle of religion serving as political hacks and using hateful and disingenuous rhetoric to divide Christians.

Strong faith should be a bulwark against such invective, for the faithful know “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation,” as Jesus said, “and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:22-28).

How do you tell whom to believe? The test is simple. The faithful (think Billy Graham) pull believers together and build hope. The pretenders divide and destroy.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness” – the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Living in the light of eternity changes your priorities” – Pastor Rick Warren.

Imagine the good works over one million Christian adults standing in the light, indivisible in love and peace, could perform in Mississippi.

Pray for leaders who will stand in the light to guide us.


Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

sunday in mississippi ........the most segregated day of the week

Anonymous said...

Lamar and his ilk go to church. Churches are venues to be seen, and to network for personal financial gain. Some actually attend for spiritual gain, but one doesn't need a church/organized religion to be a good Christian/spiritual.

Organized religion is a cynical busine$$.

People who wear their religion on their sleeve are not necessarily religious.

The truth hurts because it should.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the Republican Christans can look at their leader when he disrespects women and takes the side of murderers and thugs.

Anonymous said...

Calling yourself vert religious does not make it so.

Anonymous said...

Bill, don't give up your day job.

Anonymous said...

Most of folks involved in the Civil War fighting FOR the continuation of slavery were Christians. Many of their descendants quietly continue that very same attitude today, in fact both political sides of Mississippi have those values today - otherwise there would be an intrastate moral civil war, which is what this article is suggesting. Mississippi - the most religious, and the most corrupt - what a sickening, inbred mess.

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

I can’t count the times I’ve been betrayed/ deceived by sanctimonious SOB’s!!

Anonymous said...

This is 1:10. When I posted "well said." I was referring to the article by Bill Crawford, not the negative garbage that was posted before me. I just wanted to clarify that.

Anonymous said...

10:55, I wonder how democrat Christians can look at the Clintons, who disrespect women, men and condone the murder of unborn children.
Face it the democrat leadership, Hillary, Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein and the rest are power mad would be dictators, who care nothing about you or your rights. They only want your vote peon.

Anonymous said...

The vast preponderance of soldiers fighting for the CSA were not slave owners. They were poor white kids. Were most of the slave owners Christians? Sure thing. But don't forget the abolitionist movement was a Christian fueled and led movement.

Slavery is not an aberration of history. Sadly the institution is alive and well in today's world.

Anonymous said...

The democrat party doesn't even pretend to like Christianity anymore. I don't know how any Christian can be a Dem. They also riot in the streets when their sacred abortion on demand in every state gets threatened.

Anonymous said...

Jim Hood said if you were a Christian, you had to be a Democrat

StarRider said...

A life lesson I learned early on...never do business with a preacher.

Anonymous said...

To question anyone's motive for going to Church is just wrong. All sorts of people go to Church with all sorts of motives. When you judge a group of people by the behavior of one, you are justifying some inward belief, IMHO.

Both Democrats and Republicans go to Church -- so do independents and non-political folk. No telling who you might meet in the after life. We certainly are not the judge of that.

Anonymous said...

Some of the same people who are against abortion are also against welfare, food stamps, daycare vouchers, and the Affordable Healthcare Act. And they usually support the death penalty. It makes you go hmmm!

Anonymous said...

If you think you can be a Christan and still support the likes of Trump, just wait till you get to the pearly gates.

Anonymous said...

StarRider - Amen to that.

Anonymous said...

There is a very direct correlation between mental dependency and "religion". "Religion" has nothing to do with the actual morality of the people who claim it, but these people want to be led by someone else's judgment, not their own.
No wonder Mississippi would be at the head of such a list. If some crook were looking for a pack of unthinking followers to do his bidding, Mississippi would be the first stop. As one of the bloggers noted, most soldiers in the confederacy were poor knuckleheads who didn't even own slaves but were stupid enough to fight for some colonel reb because they were told to. Mississippi is the last holdover.

Anonymous said...

Partisan politics and Christianity are incompatible.

A Christian cannot " bear false witness" or condone the breaking of any of the 10 Commandments.

But, the partisan " take no prisoner/ winning is everything" politics we see today requires you to break nearly every Commandment.


Anonymous said...

This thread has some very entertaining and misguided comments... full of WIN... that’s why I love this blog.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:06

This is another reason I cannot subscribe to any party. Both parties are so crooked, that it is ridiculous. I thought it was "We the People", not "We the wealthy/lying/stealing/cheating/conniving people"

Cynical Sam said...

Mississippi = the most religious
Mississippi = the most corrupt

See a pattern here?

Anonymous said...

To the commenter of "I wonder how the Republican Christans (sic) can look at their leader when he disrespects women and takes the side of murderers and thugs":

I will say that although I am not a Republican, I am very politically conservative and I usually vote for the Republican candidate. My leader is the only sinless man to ever walk the Earth.

And to the dummy who thinks I'm a dummy, I'll compare my IQ to yours, anytime, anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I am sure you are the kind of guy who believes Trump on Monday when he says a 14billion dollar investment is going to create 500,000 jobs, then he increases it everyday by 100k publicly so that it's a million jobs by the end of the week. If you believe that don't ask if I think your a dummy.

Anonymous said...

4:05 pm The Unabomber had a high IQ as well.
Sadly, like other humans, those with high IQs can suffer from personality disorders and mental illness and that will adversely affect your decision making.
Since you are so smart, you might start reading the research discoveries by neuroscience that show how the brain works and why your right brain is prioritizing the information your left brain has stored.
How you vote can be predicted with an amazing accuracy just by showing you photos and getting your emotional reaction.

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