Our Lady of Guadeloupe Visits the Confederate Memorial

ACCESS PURCHASE
Students and scholars can access articles for free via Project Muse.

Our Lady of Guadeloupe Visits the Confederate Memorial

by Thomas A. Tweed
Southern Cultures, Vol. 8, No. 2: Summer 2002

"Some observers have trumpeted the South as the last stronghold of faithful Christian witness; H. L. Mencken dismissed it as 'the bunghole of the United States, a cesspool of Baptists, a miasma of Methodism, snake-charmers, phony real-estate operators, and syphilitic evangelists.'"

Truisms are sometimes true. And if anything has seemed self-evident to interpreters of the South, it’s the religious homogeneity of the Bible Belt. With the exception of the Mormon cultural area in Utah and adjoining states, no U.S. region seems less diverse. Fervent revivalism, civil war, and minimal immigration allowed a southern evangelical Protestant establishment—mostly Baptist and Methodist—to form by the nineteenth century. Free of challenges from immigrants, that evangelical alliance has shaped the religious landscape. Some observers have trumpeted the South as the last stronghold of faithful Christian witness; others, like the Baltimore-born iconoclast H. L. Mencken, have dismissed it as “the bunghole of the United States, a cesspool of Baptists, a miasma of Methodism, snake-charmers, phony real-estate operators, and syphilitic evangelists.” However the assessments diverge—and they still do—almost all interpreters have agreed on one point: the South looks more homogenous than the rest of the nation.