Southern Cross: The Effects Of Evangelicalism Analysis

1147 Words5 Pages
There are numerous states in the south that are dominated by protestant religions such as Baptism, Methodism and Evangelism and those states are known as the Bible belt. Located in the southeast states of the US, these states are referred to as the Bible belt because these groups of states make up a chunk of land where protestant religion prospers and is practiced immensely. Religion in the south effects politics, society, and defines how people live their lives. In Christine Leigh Heyrman’s book, Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt, she strongly focuses on the effects of Evangelicalism throughout its spread through many of the southern states, how Evangelists struggled to adapt to new life and how evangelicalism became to be the…show more content…
Since the south was already established when evangelists arrived they were looked as such, “Evangelicalism came late to the American South, as an exotic export rather than an indigenous development” (Heyrman 9). When evangelism initially arrived in the south, it experienced difficulty expanding due to its many differences in the lifestyle in comparison to the southerners. The freshly arrived evangelists brought upon a culture change to family and societal life that challenged Methodism and Baptism beliefs. Many of the Evangelist customs were seen as grotesque by southerners, baptism for instance. These implications, for example, gave men and women equal status, whereas the usually husband was the breadwinner and had total control over the wife and house. Not only did it bring discomfort for family life, but evangelism also encouraged equality among races. Given that the Southern states were notorious for their extreme use of racism, this raised problems with minorities. The evangelists saw this resistance as a call for help and attempted to “save them”, meaning to try and convert them. Heyrman’s reference to William Glendinning’s personal manifestation of Satan helped describe southerner’s first perception to the language of Canaan, the evangelical…show more content…
After his death, changes to the Methodist institution were made, like the appointment of more experienced clergy and higher payouts from church. Even with changes occurring, they still did not challenge the southern social change, however the southern states and evangelism began working off each other’s beliefs as a result of the changes. With the unpopularity of preaching of gender and race equality, evangelists learned that in order to win over the south, they needed to win over the men. This task was like trying to convert any other southerner, if not more difficult. Before evangelists adjusted their customs to the audience around them, the white southern male believed that “Becoming an evangelical meant being stripped of dignified restraint along with liberty to think and act for oneself. It was to embrace the postures of powerlessness appropriate only to women, children, and slaves. For men of honor, this was unthinkable” (Heyrman 217). One of the biggest changes evangelists made to their religion was the reduction of equality for certain members, even though that was one of the key values to their religion. The change minimized the actions of both women and African Americans. For example, women were forbidden neither from entering the clergy nor to serve as ushers and black people were pushed to corners of religious society. This

    More about Southern Cross: The Effects Of Evangelicalism Analysis

      Open Document