Suspex don't just blog
rhymes of our thymes
Wonder further yonder
Wondering thoughts causing wondrous woes, making one wonder.
OREAD Daily, October 17, 2005
THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE KATRINA: "IN WHOSE IMAGE WILL NEW ORLEANS BE RECONSTITUTED"
Yesterday I received an e-mail from Lance Hill. Lance is an old friend and was one of the founders of the original Oread Daily back in 1970. Lance is truly one of the best organizers I have ever known. He is also the author of the book "Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement."
Lance is the Executive Director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University.
Lance is currently a resident of New Orleans and he has a story to tell about the aftermath of Katrina and what it means now.
Below is the e-mail, followed by an unpublished op/ed piece Lance wrote back in September. You will also find a bio of Lance published by the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University.
E-mail from Lance
I am sorry about the long delay in response to all of your many queries, but we only now got an email connection so that we can communicate with rest of the world.
Eileen and I are fine. As you may know, we ignored the evacuation order and spent 33 days under martial law inside New Orleans, leaving only to get medical treatment and supplies to bring back inside the Parish. It was quite an experience. On Friday, September 2nd we filled our car with food and water and began runs into the Morial Convention Center, where more than 10,000 people were languishing outside in the heat with little food or water. Police, guardsmen, and the Red Cross refused to enter the convention center to help people because they claimed it was too dangerous. Their claims of danger were just an excuse to starve people out of the center. The refugees were kind, grateful, and protective of me (I was, though, chased and fired upon by state police on one of my return trips for supplies). On my fourth and final run I was stopped at gunpoint by city and state police and told not return because they were preparing to bring in food and water themselves, which they did. It was the single most emotionally disturbing day of my life. On the way to the center I drove past a bloated body on one of the city's main intersections: it remained there for ten days.
Eileen and I spent the rest of our 33 days inside taking care of people who had also refused to evacuate, mostly elderly people who would not abandon their pets to go to the shelters and who lived on the historically high and dry alluvial ridges. We also spent a great deal of time trying to communicate to the media what was happening
inside. Despite endless threats of "forcible extraction" from our house by a number of law enforcement agencies and guard units, we managed to avoid arrest and forced evacuation. The closest we came was on September 28 when the police kicked in our front door and illegally searched our apartment in response to my refusal to provide identification to a patrolling Oklahoma guard unit. The "police" turned out to be Tulane University security guards loaned out to the militarily to make arrests in the surrounding neighborhoods. No apology from Tulane and they did not even suspend the officer. But that's another story.
Tulane has sealed off the campus and locked us out of the Southern Institute office building for nearly seven weeks now, though our building took on only 18 inches of water on the main floor. So we have had to set up a satellite office and we are now up and running. We can only hope that our irreplaceable collection of interviews with Holocaust survivors and veterans of the civil rights movement has not been destroyed by the heat and mold.
Eileen and I left after 33 days to get some "R & R" and returned last Monday. The martial law and curfew orders are, for the most part, unenforced now and most of our neighbors are back and things are returning to normal. We are in good health, though Eileen has permanently lost her teaching position in Orleans Parish schools--along with virtually all the other 5,000 teachers. But we fared far better than most: only today Eileen learned that one of her co- workers lost her husband in the flood.
I have attached an op-ed piece I wrote the second week of the hurricane. It was never published, but I still agree with most of what it, though now I think there is little hope that New Orleans will ever reconstitute its black majority community. The locus for the struggle for racial justice is now, and will remain for years to
come, in the predominantly white cities to which New Orleanian blacks have been exiled.
Lance Hill, Ph.D.
Southern Institute for Education and Research
M.R. Box 1692
31 McAlister Drive
New Orleans, LA 70118
Unpublished op/ed piece from Lance
September 16. 2005
Day 19 of Martial Law
"The niggers are killing each other over in Lafayette" said the pickup driver, referring to the black New Orleanians who had relocated to a shelter in Cajun country following Hurricane Katrina. The driver, a middle-aged white man employed in disaster clean business, was accompanied by the owner of several gas stations. I sat quietly observing from the back seat of a Texas National Guard humvee on my way to receive a tetanus shot at a military hospital. (I had refused to evacuate and, thankfully, the Texans had decided to defy city and state authorities who prohibited providing food, water, or medical assistance to "outlaws" such as myself). "Thank
God you guys are here," the driver shouted over din of his diesel engine. "Keep the blacks out," he yelled. "Don't let them back in. We're going make this a beautiful city."
New Orleans authorities will soon suspend martial law and permit the reentry of all New Orleanians to their city. This will result in one the most remarkable political transformation of any major city in United States' history. New Orleans will resurrect under a white political majority in a city where African Americans were 70% of the population only a month ago. This seismic shift is the direct result of katrina's destruction of tens of thousands of black homes that, notwithstanding massive federal aid and flood insurance guarantees, will never be rebuilt, or will be rebuilt at costs far beyond the reach of most blacks.
The question that will face New Orleanians in the coming weeks is "In whose image will New Orleans be reconstituted?" What will become of black New Orleans and its dynamic culture that gave the world Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, Mardis Gras indians, brass bands, and uniquely inflected contemporary musical innovations in rap and hip hop music? What will become of the endearing culture of celebration that served as an antidote for the numbing boredom of repressed but and colorless Midwestern lives. The spirit and ethnic diversity of New Orleans is worth saving as much as the Italianate mansions along St. Charles Avenue. But as we rebuild this city there will be tremendous pressure to commercialize, package, and deliver the culture without the people who made it. New Orleans, the city of majestic homes and elegant muscular oaks will no doubt be reborn; but possibly without a soul. Such a spiritual death will result in New Orleans becoming the Orlando of the South. That's when I will voluntarily evacuate.
Since Hurricane Katrina came ashore on August 29, I have traveled by bicycle through hundreds of neighborhoods taking care of strangers (mostly pet lovers who would not leave their pets) talking to people from all walks of life. I do not pretend to know what the nation's perception of the events here have been. We "resisters", as the government has dubbed us (odd, I thought I was a "resident") have gone three weeks without newspapers, internet access, postal service, land-line phones, and receive almost all of our news through one officially designated radio/television station. So I do not know the issues in the national policy debate on the rescue and recovery efforts. But I do know what I have seen and heard on the streets, and it is not encouraging.
There is a growing and powerful "racial exclusion movement" among a significant section of the white New Orleanian community that sees Katrina as an opportunity to eliminate poverty and crime by eliminating black people. It is not a new movement, nor is it the sole province of parvenu gas station owners. Proposals of remove the
New Orleans black population enjoyed a measure of support as late as the 1950s. I now hear many members of the old moneyed "carnival royalty" families openly arguing that Katrina provides an opening to depose black majority rule in the same way that their confederate forbearers overthrew the bi-racial Reconstruction government in?
I draw a distinction between a disaster and a tragedy. Disasters are something nature inflicts upon humans. Tragedies are something humans inflict upon other humans in their botched efforts to remedy disasters. The rescue efforts were clearly a tragedy; now we are faced with a second tragedy in the recovery processes both material and moral.
The decisions that will set the course for recovery for decades to come are being made todaywith only one percent of the city's voters present. It is not a foregone conclusion that the issues of equity and fairness will make it to the table. The table has already been set, and who will be at it is anyone's guess. The New Orleans African American community finds itself fragmented and living in exile; not only the thousands of poor and unemployed African Americans in shelters, but also the thousands of educated black middle class professionals who comprised the city's political, intellectual, religious, and social justice activist leadership. When these people return things will no doubt heat up, given that the majority of black voters opposed Mayor Ray Nagin's election and his strongest critics, like the rest of the city's residents, have not been allowed back into the city.
There are already ominous signs that the recovery path may end up reproducing privilege inside New Orleans and poverty outside. Economically secure white New Orleanians have, for the most part, returned to secure their homes, yet no return provisions have been made for poor homeowners and renter. Particularly disturbing is the failure of corporate and institutional leadership in the city to set an example of equity. As thousands of unemployed black New Orleanians sit idle in relocation centers in Texas, many of New Orleans' leading businesses and institutions are rapidly cleaning up with the help of thousands of workers--largely Hispanics imported from Texas. The city is flooded with Latinos who will soon become the new preferred service class. This development does not bode well for the eventual return of the black working poor.
Despite the dearth of outside news, I did listen to President George Bush's speech on the radio when he laid out his recovery plan. His call to build 4,000 new homes for low-income people is a good start; but that will provide housing for less than six percent of the 350,000 blacks who lived in New Orleans before Katrina. What was missing from his speech was a commitment to a specific funding level and the guarantee of equality in outcomes, not simply treatment.
The degrading treatment of black New Orleanians during the rescue phase also raises questions about the recovery process and equity. To this day, the city and state governments refuse to provide water, food, or medical aid to anyone remaining in New Orleans, though virtually all of those people live in the thousands of homes that sit on historically high ground and have never flooded by way of Lake Ponchartrain. Many of these residents are wondering aloud if we should place our confidence in the same people to plan and direct a recovery process that results in a vibrantly diverse city?
The final task is that of moral recovery. My wife, Eileen San Juan and I originally stayed because we have lived through thirty years of hurricanes and floods and have always stayed to care for our homes and help our neighbors. It is the appalling indifference to the suffering of others that I have witnessed as a "resister" inside the city that convinces me that we urgently need a carefully planned and comprehensive program for "moral and ethical" recovery. My own experience was particularly disturbing.
On September 2nd I awoke to radio news that thousands of evacuees were continuing to languish in the sun at the Morial Convention Center because city officials had ordered police and guardsmen not to issue food, water, or medical support. The news account also reported that two corpses were propped by the front door of the convention center.
I frantically loaded our car with supplies, spay-painted "AID" on all the doors and windows and headed for the convention center. On the way I passed a dead bloated body at Magazine and Jackson. She was wearing white socks with large blue stars. The scene at the convention center was one of unspeakable and shameful suffering. Women begged me to take their babies who were dehydrating. I had to tell them that there were no hospitals: all medical personnel had been forcible evacuated, even on dry land. Contrary to official pronouncements that the convention center was too dangerous for police, let along unarmed relief workers, people at the center greeted me like an angel from the heavens. People orderly distributed my goods as others implored me to bring back baby formula, water, and antibiotics. A man approached my car as I tried to leave. His eyes were dark and hollow. "Please mister," he said in
daze. "Tell the world what's going on down here. Tell them that people are killing each other just for a drink of water."
Shaken, I raced back to my home to get more water and supplies. A mile from the center a white pick-up truck fell in behind me with two police officers. The unmarked truck had no siren or lights. I decided not to stop because I was sure they would tell me not to come back. Then suddenly, "Boom! Boom! Boom!" The state patrolman had fired three shots into the air from his handgun to force me to stop. I stopped, though furious that they had nothing better to do then chase relief workers. The policeman demanded to know what I was doing and why did I have "AID" painted on my car. I heatedly explained that I was taking food, water, and medical supplies to babies and elderly people who were dying in the sun at the convention center. Then I asked what were they doing heading away from the problem with an empty truck. They let me go.
The moral recovery in Katrina's wake needs to be approached with the same forethought and resources as the material recovery. I have directed an organization for thirteen years that has the simple mission to teach the moral imperative to speak out against the suffering and persecution of others. We have used the history of the Holocaust and the civil rights movement to teach young people the causes and consequences of racism and moral indifference. Now, we no longer have to reach back decades to find a telling case-study of human failure and redemption. Hurricanes bring out the best and worst of human behavior. It is heartening that so many communities have opened their schools to the 60,000 black New Orleanian students left homeless by this disaster, but plunging children into strange worlds without preparing and training them, their families, and their host schools for the culture shock is a recipe for a second disaster.
The recovery process is not written in stoneyet. The only guarantee for a recovery that does not exacerbate racism and compound inequality, and one that brings New Orleans back to life in both body and spirit, is a national mobilization of African Americans and all those lovers of "the city that care forgot" to relentlessly pressure the federal government for an inclusive and fair decision-making process.
Lance Hill, Ph.D.
Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University Author of "Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement" UNC press
Brief biography of Lance
Dr. Lance Hill is the Executive Director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University. Dr. Hill worked as a community activist and labor organizer for twenty years before embarking on an academic career. From 1989 to 1992, Dr. Hill served as the Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism (LCARN), the grass roots organization that led the opposition to former Klansman David Duke's Senate and Gubernatorial campaigns. One of the coalition's founders, Hill directed the organization's extensive television, radio and direct mail campaigns. The New York Times and the New Orleans Times-Picayune credited LCARN with playing the leading role in Duke's ultimate political demise.
In 1993, Hill co-founded the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University. Over the past ten years the Institute's tolerance education program-the most comprehensive project of its kind in the South-- has provided training to more than 3,600 teachers from 785 schools in the Deep South. The program uses case studies of the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement to teach the causes and consequences of prejudice. With a geographic scope of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle, the Institute prides itself on successful implementing programs in rural and isolated communities that have been traditional strongholds of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.
Dr. Hill also directs the Southern Institute's cross-cultural communication training and research program which teaches advanced skills to improve communication and collaboration among ethnic groups in the United States.
Hill holds a PhD from Tulane University, where he has taught US History and Intercultural Communication. His scholarly research field is the history of race relations and the radical right. He is the author of The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement (University of North Carolina Press, 2004) and "National Socialist Race Doctrine in the Political Thought of David Duke," in The Emergence of David Duke by Doug Rose (University of North Carolina Press, 1994). He has served as a consultant on several PBS documentaries on the radical right and the civil rights movement and has written extensively on racial politics in the South.
Dr. Hill resides in New Orleans with his wife of thirty years, Eileen SanJuan.
Posted by: Oread Daily / 11:28 AM 0 comments
World Conscience Asleep?
Pathetic International Response to 5 Million Brown Pakistani Quake Victims!
by Moin Ansari
Monday, October 17, 2005 -- The internal Pakistani response to the quake has been heroic, superhuman, and "goose bumpy", stuff of which legends are made of. The fantastic spirit of volunteerism is a case study for the "Harvard Business Review". Within 15 minutes of the falling of the Margala towers, the police and hundreds of good Samaritans were there scraping at the rubble with their bare hands. Within 2 hours, the president and the Prime Minster were helping at the site. Hordes of volunteers are collecting supplies from every nook and corner of Pakistan. From dusk to dawn, the Pakistani air force flew 800 sorties, a world record. The mudslide-prone, destroyed roads to the most inaccessible areas have been rebuilt several times, and today there are mountains of relief supplies in the remotest of the remote areas in Kashmir, manned by thousands of troops and volunteers. Today more than 100,000 Pakistani troops are fanning out in the mountains of Azad Kashmir looking to hel
The international response to the Pakistani quake has been atrocious, meager, dismal and disappointing. The Pakistani state machinery is too polite and too overwhelmed to say anything except "thank you". They are grateful for any scraps that are doled out. The fact remains that the world response to the Pakistani quake has been beyond pathetic. The Pakistani earthquake is a bigger catastrophe than the tsunami. The tsunami countries got over $10 billion Dollars. While many international agencies and government are "going through the motions", serious efforts have not been made to help Pakistan and Pakistanis. The reasons may be similar to the reasons why the black Katrina victims got little help and white Rita victims got a lot of aid. Racism and Islamphobic bias are at the root of this nonchalance, and of the lack of coverage by the media.
The Washington Post did not have a single story on the earthquake. The New York Times had a story on Muslim charities, and the fact that he "mainstream charities" are not getting donations from Americans for the Pakistani quake. The focus of the BBC story was not about the inadequate and feeble international response to the quake victims, but the fact that remote villages -- beyond Bagh in the Northern areas, which are not connected by roads -- have not been reached.
The US has 8000 helicopters. Pakistan needs about 200 helicopters and heavy moving equipment to assist the victims. 8 were released, and then an additional 4 were released by Secretary of State Rice after the President Musharraf literally begged her for more moving equipment. The NATO forces in Afghanistan refused to release any choppers. The Japanese teams were so late that they could not save a single life in the schools where 1500 children lay buried.
What makes it more hurtful is the fact that blatant Arab racism is at its worst today. Muslim countries have different scales for white American victims and different values for brown Pakistani lives. Kuwait and Qatar gave the 20 thousand Katrina victims $400 million each. For the 3 million "miskeen", "ajami" Pakistanis, $100 million was deemed enough. Egypt gave $50,000. The Palestinian Authority has not given anything.
The good news is that Pakistanis have come together like never before. From America to Australia, and within Pakistan volunteers are everywhere, sending materials and volunteers to the affected areas of Azad Kashmir. Pakistan, and Pakistanis, will remember the friends.
Before an official request was conveyed, Turkish teams and planes were already airborne. Pakistan well never forget the Turkish "Kardaysh" (brotherhood). The British teams in Islamabad got there early and actually saved some lives. Penury-stricken Afghanistan spared 4 helicopters, pretty much their entire fleet. Today Pakistan and Pakistanis are working hard to rebuild Pakistan. This is the new slogan.
The lack of international help will have consequences that will ripple through the entire world. When India exploded its nuclear device, Pakistan asked for a â€œnuclear umbrellaâ€� from all the superpowers. The Pakistanis were laughed out of Western capitals. So Pakistan made its own nuclear bombs. Pakistan paid cash for 75 F-16s. Neither the money nor the planes were ever delivered. Prime Minister Mrs. Benazir Bhuttoâ€™s appeals of â€œgive us our money or our planes backâ€� fell on deaf ears. It wasnâ€™t Palestine, or Kashmir, or global imperialism. It was this act of perceived grand larceny that unleashed anti-Americanism in Pakistan that had international consequences. With Chinese help, Pakistan designed and created a FX-17 plane, and also bought and indigenously developed missile technology. The indigenously-built plane rivals many Western planes in many ways, and will get better. Today, Pakistan will surely survive this earthquake, but it is the memories of friends that will
remain with the next generation. The Chinook could have been a memory of hope. It only reminds Muslims of rockets being fired at homes. It isnâ€™t the millions of dollars that create goodwill, it the public statements by the common people.
Pakistanis have elephant memories. If the international response remains as pathetic as it has been, Pakistan may opt for the 'Shanghai Five' realignment with China and Russia and dump the strategic relationship that President Musharraf has tried to develop with its 'fair-weather friends' in the West. Pakistanis see help coming from India, and Israel, and the Jewish organizations in the USA. This will be remembered.
The world knows that Pakistan cannot be ignored. There is very strong resentment growing in Pakistani minds. Pakistani foreign policy realignment is underway. If Pakistan moves to fundamentalism radically, this will have long term consequences for the world.
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State and federal health officials are trying to get to the bottom of nine reported cases of suspected sporadic CJD in Idaho this year.
Collect these stories as I find them, this one is most recent, most ridiculous and just most stupid it even got as far as it did through the channels of the apparent current anti-Bush scare, like the red scare back in the day.
Wal-Mart Turns in Studentâ€™s Anti-Bush Photo, Secret Service Investigates Him
By Matthew Rothschild
October 4, 2005
Selina Jarvis is the chair of the social studies department at Currituck County High School in North Carolina, and she is not used to having the Secret Service question her or one of her students.
But thatâ€™s what happened on September 20.
Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class â€œto take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights,â€� she says. One student â€œhad taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumbâ€™s down sign with his own hand next to the Presidentâ€™s picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster.â€�
According to Jarvis, the student, who remains anonymous, was just doing his assignment, illustrating the right to dissent.
But over at the Kitty Hawk Wal-Mart, where the student took his film to be developed, this right is evidently suspect.
An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the Secret Service.
On Tuesday, September 20, the Secret Service came to Currituck High.â€œAt 1:35, the student came to me and told me that the Secret Service had taken his poster,â€� Jarvis says. â€œI didnâ€™t believe him at first. But they had come into my room when I wasnâ€™t there and had taken his poster, which was in a stack with all the others.â€�
She says the student was upset.
â€œHe was nervous, he was scared, and his parents were out of town on business,â€� says Jarvis.
She, too, had to talk to the Secret Service.
â€œHalfway through my afternoon class, the assistant principal got me out of class and took me to the office conference room,â€� she says. â€œTwo men from the Secret Service were there. They asked me what I knew about the student. I told them he was a great kid, that he was in the homecoming court, and that heâ€™d never been in any trouble.â€�
Then they got down to his poster.
â€œThey asked me, didnâ€™t I think that it was suspicious,â€� she recalls. â€œI said no, it was a Bill of Rights project!â€�
At the end of the meeting, they told her the incident â€œwould be interpreted by the U.S. attorney, who would decide whether the student could be indicted,â€� she says.
The student was not indicted, and the Secret Service did not pursue the case further.
â€œI blame Wal-Mart more than anybody,â€� she says. â€œI was really disgusted with them. But everyone was using poor judgment, from Wal-Mart up to the Secret Service.â€�
A person in the photo department at the Wal-Mart in Kitty Hawk said, â€œYou have to call either the home office or the authorities to get any information about that.â€�
Jacquie Young, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart at company headquarters, did not provide comment within a 24-hour period.
Sharon Davenport of the Kitty Hawk Police Department said, â€œWe just handed it overâ€� to the Secret Service. â€œNo investigative report was filed.â€�
Jonathan Scherry, spokesman for the Secret Service in Washington, D.C., said, â€œWe ertainly respect artistic freedom, but we also have the responsibility to look into incidents when necessary. In this case, it was brought to our attention from a private citizen, a photo lab employee.â€�
Jarvis uses one word to describe the whole incident: â€œridiculous.â€�
Wonder what they might do with me, if anyone begins to read this blog, the only article I have found in a search on google of mine is 'When it Became OK to Tell a Lie '. It seems laughable now, but looking back into the McCarthy days and you should look through the links progressive.org if you have no idea what I am talking about McCarthy days. Most that I know, agree it was very necessary to stop the spread of commies across this country, and we should now stop the tree huggers from sending the gas prices sky high. Just goes to prove this bull shit the government spread, with fear, is working, there is the danger there should be the fear. Not ever should any red blooded American FEAR to Speak their Mind. ever.
http://www.harpers.org/JesusPlusNothing.html?pg=1With the possibilities of being entirely wrong, and all these evangelistic prophets are correct and god wishes them to lead us to the grand ending, with bloodshed for his enemies, as if he has enemies then that will be, what ever will be will just be.
fundamental introduction to 'family'
GNN: In that vein, reading your article I got the impression they are praising guys like Adolph Hitler and Ghengis Khan - a lot. Is that a fair assessment of your intention?
SHARLET: In fact, Harpers made me cut back on that stuff. [They said] 'We know it's true, but this is already so much to absorb.' That's why I included that line at the end of the story. The leader of the group is having dinner with the younger members of that group and is talking about the bond, the covenant. And he says, "Can anyone
think of someone who had a covenant?" And the answer, of course, and everyone
knows it, is "Hitler."
Berger (2000:388) has argued that the twentieth century has been "thoroughly
marked, perhaps even defined by, apocalyptic impulses, fears representations and
events." He outlines four principle areas of post war apocalyptic representation: "The first is nuclear war, the second is the Holocaust, the third is the apocalypses of liberation (feminist, African American, postcolonial) and the fourth is what is loosely called â€˜postmodernityâ€™." (390).
To these could be added a fifth significant area: the ecological crisis (Buell
For Berger and for other theorists of the apocalypse, these events are not merely catastrophic they are in some way revelatory. In nuclear narratives "accident and telos are intertwined" (390). For many writers and artists the holocaust "has come to occupy a central place in late twentieth century European and American moral consciousnessâ€¦â€¦[it] is portrayed as the revelatory, traumatic, apocalyptic fulcrum of the twentieth century" (391); and much postmodern fiction is driven by "some revelatory catastrophe whose traumatic force reshapes all that preceded it and all that follows" (392).
apocalyptic to be exact
Paul ranked societies based on the percentage of their population expressing absolute belief in God, the frequency of prayer reported by their citizens and their frequency of attendance at religious services. He then correlated this with data on rates of homicide, sexually transmitted disease, teen pregnancy, abortion and child mortality.
He found that the most religious democracies exhibited substantially higher degrees of social dysfunction than societies with larger percentages of atheists and agnostics. Of the nations studied, the U.S. â€” which has by far the largest percentage of people who take the Bible literally and express absolute belief in God (and the lowest percentage of atheists and agnostics) â€” also has by far the highest levels of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
This conclusion will come as no surprise to those who have long gnashed their teeth in frustration while listening to right-wing evangelical claims that secular liberals are weak on "values." Paul's study confirms globally what is already evident in the U.S.: When it comes to "values," if you look at facts rather than mere rhetoric, the substantially more secular blue states routinely leave the Bible Belt red states in the dust.