Many years ago, after being in graduate school in Boston for two years and finally returning to the South, I was in a small restaurant in Western Virginia. I was with two colleagues, both Yankees, who had little to no experience in the South. A family began praying together upon the arrival of their food. The two Yankees scoffed in disbelief. Admiring the family, I looked at them both and said, “You just don’t get it.”
The South is a Christian society. Full Stop.
Any movement that seeks to claim the mantle of Southern identity cannot divorce itself from Christianity. The South is intricately linked to Jesus Christ. Christianity is woven into the fabric of her society. It is something that is both beautiful and profound.
There are many reasons for the close relationship the South has with Jesus Christ. In part, it has much to do with her founding. The South was once a refuge for Low and High Church Englishmen and Scots, as well as Jacobite Scots-Irish and French Huegenots. Christian religious identity settled with them in the South. But the experiences of the brutal post-war Yankee occupation called “Reconstruction,” solidified the relationship between the South and Christianity.
Small churches throughout the South acted as community centers for a people the North was trying to break and remold. The communal strength found in the refuge of the Church merely reinforced the communal strength Southerners first felt when their Anglo-Celtic and Frankish forefathers arrived into the South only two hundred years earlier. It was during those desperate times that Southerners found the greatest refuge of all: Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ helped the South power through Reconstruction and Jesus Christ helps Southerners remain immune from the secular degradation and debauchery of modernity.
That unique bond between the South and Christ cannot be broken. Despite years of mainstream media ridicule, the South remains Christian to its core. Despite a Johnson Amendment that denies the right of churches to engage in political debates, every week, Southerners leave their church doors knowing which political positions are favorable in the eyes of God.
And God knows that.
Thus, God shines upon the South in her most desperate times. Whether it be recovery from a wildfire or the comfort of a Southern mother who must bury her baby, having returned in a Southern pine box from an unjust war, God is there. Thank you, Jesus, for your constant care, protection and comfort.
Consequently, any Southern entity or institution that seeks to represent the South must fully embrace Jesus Christ and His message if it is to succeed in this Holy Land or it is doomed to fail…much like the Yankee occupiers of reconstruction who never did “get it.”
– By Jim O’Brien
Oh, I'm a good old Rebel, now that's just what I am; For this "Fair Land of Freedom" I do not give a damn! I'm glad I fit against it, I only wish we'd won, And I don't want no pardon for anything I done.