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Old 06-12-2009, 09:40 AM   #41
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:13 AM   #42
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Yep, this happenned to me when I first moved here: "Have you found a church home yet?" Followed by an invitiation to their church.
We get a fair amount of door to door religimarketers touting their church or specific brand of Christianity here (and a lot of direct marketing via mail too). This is in addition to the ever present LDS and the Jehovah's Witnesses. The religimarketers want your financial contribution to their coffers to help build better facilities and expand their operations. Many local churches have marketing departments with innocent names like "new fellowship development ministry" whose job is to expand the church rolls and bring in more tithes. Maybe I'm too cynical?? Nah!
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:15 AM   #43
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Seattle seems to be the "Bible Sansabelt" heart, or maybe Portland. Not a heck of a lot of churces in downtown Seattle or Portland.

Seattle is in the "none zone." When asked what their religious affiliation is, most Seattlites answer "none."

See the following URL more more detail on this:

Godless in Cascadia
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:32 AM   #44
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I think an answer of "none" in the South might get a response of "Devil Worshipper!".
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:57 AM   #45
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When in Seattle, seek the wisdom of Saaduuts. All will be clear.

I think Seattle may be the Bible Suspenders heart of the US.

A sort of leave your Bible at the Washington state border rule is in effect.

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Seattle is in the "none zone." When asked what their religious affiliation is, most Seattlites answer "none."

See the following URL more more detail on this:

Godless in Cascadia
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:57 AM   #46
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Yep, this happenned to me when I first moved here: "Have you found a church home yet?" Followed by an invitiation to their church.
It happened to us too when we moved to AL. "What's your name?", "where are you from?" and "what church will you attend?" were the first 3 questions when me met the neighbors for the first time. One set of neighbors invited us to their mega church for their 4th of July celebration (I didn't even know, until I moved to AL, that the fourth of July was a religious celebration ). We politely declined but found several other invitations in our mailbox as well. It was like the various churches were competing to enroll the newbies. Unfortunately, DW and I are not religious and they were wasting their time. But we try to keep our lack of religious conviction (and the fact that DW is a registered democrat) for ourselves because of the inevitable social stigma that comes with it.
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:12 PM   #47
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It happened to us too when we moved to AL. "What's your name?", "where are you from?" and "what church will you attend?" were the first 3 questions when me met the neighbors for the first time. One set of neighbors invited us to their mega church for their 4th of July celebration (I didn't even know, until I moved to AL, that the fourth of July was a religious celebration ). We politely declined but found several other invitations in our mailbox as well. It was like the various churches were competing to enroll the newbies. Unfortunately, DW and I are not religious and they were wasting their time. But we try to keep our lack of religious conviction (and the fact that DW is a registered democrat) for ourselves because of the inevitable social stigma that comes with it.
Absolutely had the same experience. And, yes, I keep my religious and political beliefs to myself, especially at work! I've learned it is best just to nodd and agree. I will definitely be stigmatized otherwise, and I really need to fit in and be liked in my field. I will say, it does really bother me that I can't be myself. However, the people are very nice and good to me here, so I just focus on that. I try to think of it as just being a different culture that I have had to adjust to - not try to change.
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:26 PM   #48
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I've lived in North Carolina for 4 years and have never gotten "what church do you belong to?" Maybe people can sense that I'm a Yankee or they just don't like me
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:52 PM   #49
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I've lived in North Carolina for 4 years and have never gotten "what church do you belong to?" Maybe people can sense that I'm a Yankee or they just don't like me

I lived in NC for 8 years and nobody ever asked me that question either (IIRC). But I lived in Raleigh, where the number of yankees and foreigners seem to dwarf the number of native southerners. It seemed a bit different in the rest of the state. Most of my native North Carolinian co-workers were deeply religious (I remember some heated religious debates in the lunch room, though I always tried to steer clear of them).
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:11 PM   #50
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The natives don't live in Raleigh, IIRC. Y'all just haven't gotten to live in any really small towns to get asked to church.

After DH told his parents we were engaged, on our next trip to see them I got the "Sarah, let's go have a talk" from his dad the lay preacher. As someone who got no religious instruction from my parents this was a bad turn of events. He pulled me into his office, put a bible in my hands and proceeded to talk to me about the choicer bits from the Old Testament about Ruth and cleaving to your husband. All that was worth stifling my argumentative tendencies, but when he started asking me if I'd been saved, I got real nervous. I thought about saying "yes", but I was afraid there might be a card or something that was signed maybe, that indicated you'd been saved, so if I said I was and didn't have the card, I'd be busted. As I said, no religious upbringing! At any rate, right about the time it got really bad, DH dragged me out of there. Whew! Crisis averted! They are NC folks, BTW.

We got married in a church, Episcopal, and I was pretty happy with the whole service. His father thought we were a bunch of heathens, I'm sure. But after he ran off with the church secretary a few years later, that high moral ground sunk down a bit. Nowadays his dad is a lot more fun.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:37 PM   #51
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.... (quite a contrast to the tacky tacky tacky elements of Myrtle Beach ...
Ahhh, good to hear that from someone in the region. We've been to Myrtle Beach twice, both times to visit friends & family, most recently just a few weeks ago.

Had a good time both times, but it was because of the company, and having a house on or very near the beach. Once you get out, the tackiness was unsettling. Kind of reminded me about what is bad about the Chicago suburbs, with none of the good, and no Chicago either.

I'd love to visit the other, more "real" areas sometime, but they would probably spot my devil horns a mile way

edit/add - just curious, to the "church" question, could you get away with "Oh thank you for asking, but I prefer quiet, personal reflection in matters of the spirit", and then show some polite interest in their church? Or would they spot the devil horns?

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Old 06-12-2009, 10:10 PM   #52
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edit/add - just curious, to the "church" question, could you get away with "Oh thank you for asking, but I prefer quiet, personal reflection in matters of the spirit", and then show some polite interest in their church? Or would they spot the devil horns?
If the person asking was genuinely interested in your spiritual peace and nothing more, then sure, that would work. In small towns in the South, that usually isn't what the question is about. The church is a center of social connection, not just spirituality, and also you are labeled by what church you go to. When you are new in town, your church will give you a social context in which people can relate to you. Also, you are demonstrating that you aren't a complete heathen.

Last year we went to our first open house in Springfield. It was a FSBO that we saw driving by. The owner wanted to converse with us as we toured the house, and the first thing she asked was what church we would be going to. We told her we really don't go to church as often as we used to. (No need to try to avoid church invitations, since we don't live there yet.) She wasn't terribly shocked, because we didn't say "we are agnostic and wouldn't be caught dead in church" or something like that. ("Devil horns! Devil horns!" ) Asking about church is just a polite way of striking up a conversation so if you answer politely, you don't get labeled with the devil horns.

Other than attending weddings or funerals, I haven't been to church or religious service for about 45 years. But, I have lived in the South during much of that time and have had no problems. Just keep your religious differences close to the chest, maintain an attitude of respect towards others' religions, be polite, and learn to skillfully change the subject after a short time and all will be well.
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Old 06-13-2009, 02:41 PM   #53
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:27 PM   #54
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I've lived in North Carolina for 4 years and have never gotten "what church do you belong to?" Maybe people can sense that I'm a Yankee or they just don't like me
Must be the specific area you live and work in! That area is not known for high levels of religious zeal (at least of the protestant Christian variety). Raleigh is similar - plenty of relocated yankees to tone down the religious fervor.

But in some circles in Raleigh, failure to go to church is a huge sign of moral failure and personal shortcomings. To name 2 circles: the good ole boy network, and poor uneducated people.

As others have said - best to keep the secret close to the chest unless you are in company that you either don't care what their opinions are or know that they are okay with your "deviant lifestyle choices".

As an example, I occasionally have to testify under oath on professional matters at public meetings and quasi-judicial administrative hearings. I must be sworn in as a matter of law for my testimony to be valid. Down here in the South, the Bible (King James Version - make no mistake!) is busted out, and you put your hand on it and you raise your other hand and you swear on it that you aren't going to lie, so help you God (the protestant Christian one - make no mistake!). I just could not imagine asking a mayor or head of a city council to not swear on the Bible and instead affirm w/o bible (even though I am 100% legally entitled to do so per 1st Amdt rights and maybe even state law). This would prejudice me in front of all the elected representatives, and my clients would probably pull me aside afterward and ask me what the hell was I doing! These meetings/hearings are occasionally televised and with my luck, I'd be the 8 second sound byte featured on the 5 o'clock news. And typically some of the elected representatives run in the professional circles I run in, or at least run in the same circles as people that know me, so some things are best kept secret. Not good to have a reputation in the community as a devil worshipping atheist!

In contrast, when being sworn in for jury duty, I refused to swear on the bible because I'm just there representing me and in relative anonymity. I did get a lot of strange looks though. Guess they were staring at my devil horns!

State law requires swearing in to be done on the "Holy Scriptures". Recent court decisions have interpreted that to also include other religious texts besides the KJV of the Holy Bible. Our state constitution still prohibits anyone who denies the existence of an Almighty God from holding office (clearly unconstitutional to actually enforce this though).
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:45 PM   #55
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OK, but don't you find all the tip toeing around certain questions exhausting?
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:52 PM   #56
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Old 06-13-2009, 04:29 PM   #57
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OK, but don't you find all the tip toeing around certain questions exhausting?
Not sure if this question was directed specifically at me or to everyone.

But personally, yes I do. I do it to maintain a certain expected professional reputation and demeanor that is rather financially beneficial to me. No different than dressing appropriately, showering, and other personal hygiene routines.
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Old 06-13-2009, 05:31 PM   #58
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OK, but don't you find all the tip toeing around certain questions exhausting?
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Not sure if this question was directed specifically at me or to everyone.

But personally, yes I do. I do it to maintain a certain expected professional reputation and demeanor that is rather financially beneficial to me. No different than dressing appropriately, showering, and other personal hygiene routines.

Me, too. Even though I am religious, I don't agree with the beliefs held by the majority here. Best just to play along. Most of the time people mean well and are truly trying to be helpful. I'm just a more private person regarding faith, and it really took me back at first.
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Old 06-13-2009, 06:15 PM   #59
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OK, but don't you find all the tip toeing around certain questions exhausting?
Not really. I have to know people pretty well before I feel comfortable sharing my religious or political views with them. So, even if I shared the majority's beliefs, I would still exercise much caution while confiding in someone I did not know personally.

But when pressed for an answer, I just say catholic (I grew up in a catholic family, went through Sunday schools and all the necessary confirmations as a kid, so I consider myself catholic even if I don't practice anymore). Not great, but one step up from devil worshiper as far as lots of people down here are concerned . Add to that a French sounding name and some liberal "tendencies", and it makes many people question my choice of residence. But I love the South...
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:21 PM   #60
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Not really. I have to know people pretty well before I feel comfortable sharing my religious or political views with them. So, even if I shared the majority's beliefs, I would still exercise much caution while confiding in someone I did not know personally.

But when pressed for an answer, I just say catholic (I grew up in a catholic family, went through Sunday schools and all the necessary confirmations as a kid, so I consider myself catholic even if I don't practice anymore). Not great, but one step up from devil worshiper as far as lots of people down here are concerned . Add to that a French sounding name and some liberal "tendencies", and it makes many people question my choice of residence. But I love the South...
Catholic? French sounding name? Liberal "tendencies"? Love the South? Sounds like you would feel right at home in New Orleans.
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