Browse By

Transformation of rural and southern religious belief into a Political Conservatism

In the history of America, major events have taken place that have carved their importance into time, history itself, and the belief system of the population. One of these events was the clash between the North and the South. With different ideologies, views, beliefs and systems, the two areas saw their ideological boundaries dividing them. And although the clash between the two resulted in massive destruction, lives lost and families torn apart, its importance in American History cannot be denied. Changes in terms of humanity resulted in political, socioeconomic and geographical disparities bridged because only with the help of leaders could such vastly different mountains have bridges built to connect them.

The south played a major role, with its religion and its people, in converting minds of southern California. Because there were no politics without religion, and neither any peace. In the name of the Holy Spirit, The Father and The Son, beliefs and practices spread far and wide, all with the charisma and diplomacy of qualified political leaders. George Otis, Harald Bredesen, and Pat and Shirley Boone met in October 1970, joined by the most prominent leader of their times, Ronald Reagan, and discussions and diplomatic talks where they were to decide the renewal and future of America. Otis, who was merely a general manager of a JET corporation before handling a ministry job in America was under the impression that he had divine guidance to deliver the message of God. During the meeting, these leaders discussed the powerful nexus between the conservative politics and conservative evangelicalism which started in south California at that time, all of which had played a very powerful role in the strengthening of American Government and America itself.
Due to a lack of job opportunities in their area, a large number of people moved to Southern California from the South, bringing with them their culture and religion, all the while absorbing that of their new homelands. This lead to a massive mixing of beliefs and cultural practices, bringing changes on a large-scale. Religion, which is largely dominated by cultural practices, was thus extremely affected, as now a hybrid religion started to emerge. This hybrid resulted in politics and government altering their way to adjust to the newer ways. The western south region was elaborated in the book because of its condition and completely based on the plain-folk southerners.

Around the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, a large amount of people who were motivated to start afresh, gain better job opportunities, educate their children and to make progress in their lives started to migrate to Southern California. This migration not only helped further stabilize the economy but the friendly blend of cultures was welcomed and was refreshing. Individuals from the state of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, who believed in the radical individualism, experimentalism, and egalitarianism along with the unity in the protection of interests found themselves packed together, living, working and earning together. But the most important thing in this regard is the way in which Baptists, Pentecostals, and other evangelicals from the region added the teachings of Jesus and Jefferson together in the formation of new and participatory politics.
Problems arose when these southerners, who had massively different concepts of the middle road between God and Politics which included “innate inventiveness and combativeness”, stuck true to the sexism, and distinctive forms of racism that they brought with. Personally, they explicitly enjoyed and reaped the benefits of defense-related industries, but in hindsight, they were the true cause of damage. A lot of changes occurred in the politics during that time which were merely a tension for the deal of democratic coalition. The number of southerners was on a constant rise, and the day by day increase that was once healthy for economics, politics, social and religious lives of the people and the legal system now started to overburden the open-minded ones who were willing to accept change and create staunch extremists out of those who were rigid and refused to adjust their belief systems to their evolved societies. During the 1940, religious conservatism was so common in the country that there was a chance that the California Democratic Party shall fail altogether.

A large number of clashes, diplomatic discussions and concessions by all parties involved lead to the success of the progressive Democrats who started the most robust multicultural nationalism which became the door for the southern evangelicals’ political realignment along with such people openly and publicly demanding for their republican rights from the parties in power, and further expected to be in power. In the transformation process, a role of people who made efforts for the united “evangelical front” was also unforgettable. All these people had a link with western south and pushed their followers or fellows to combine the political and religious conservatism through the wide-spread of “network of schools, interdenominational organizations, communication systems, and associations”. George Pepperdine, who was really a wealthy person in south California but basically belonged to southern region united with the E. V. Hill, a charismatic black preacher, and both these two people were firm against the movement of civil war.

It must be noted that in this situation, when we look back to find one cause for the entire circumstance occurring and matters getting uncontrollably put of hand, one can understand that it was, in the end, Southern California that played the largest and most effective role as a catalyst for the mobilization of politics which would later give rise to the evangelical politics of national level.
The migration of people from the south agrarian region to avail better opportunities and improve their livelihood, their gross income, get their rights and explore their surrounding gave rise to ideas in the minds of southerners that were sparks that went ablaze. They all realized that they, too, can and should live their own life without any act of slavery, in total independence and freedom. There were a large number of leaders that emerged from these regions as well, all of which were completely and utterly in the favor of betterment of the south. This mission statement, purpose and the determination to achieve this goal lead to the beginning of the evangelical politics.

The multiple different, clashing and running parallel views that exist emerged from the abrupt and sudden migration of all southern people towards the south California. This migration further lead to the largest and first Civil War that took place in America. The leaders wanted a slave free nation, where each man is free and the American dream is a reality for every man and woman alike, black and white alike. The desire to altogether abolish slavery from the south took time, energy, destruction and sacrifice. They saw that all the people who came to their lands availed opportunities and now had better successful lives. While they, living in the same areas all their lives were merely slaves, with no chance of progress, and honestly no true reason to continue living as such.
For this reason, they wanted all the southerners to change their living conditions, live on as free men, because no human is anything less, and every man woman and child deserves complete freedom, deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, deserves equal opportunities, and deserves equal law. The only barrier between themselves and success must be them and not their skin color. This idea was generated because of the conservativeness of the religion in the south and not only Christianity has such teachings of religion, all the regions which have a concern with humanity give us a lesson of humanity and freedom of human beings. The leaders merely played a role in reminding the populace of these general teachings and then started making efforts for the Southern regions and the removal of slavery from that region. All the changes in politics were made because of the religion conservatives of the south which forced them to bring changes in their lives for the betterment of themselves and their future generations.

The Dock’s book explained the whole matters in a simple way the history related to the religious rights were got so much complex because they needed a change in the political system, and for this reason, south California and a lot of individuals who also belonged to the same religion as of south, made ties with each other and played a very important role or behaved like catalysts in starting politically active evangelicals all over the country. My personal belief is that the whole book was an explanation of religious beliefs of the south and their effect on the politics of United States. It was extremely important to realize that what happened in the south, to the people who spent generations there, was and will always be an act against humanity. Other than this, it was also important to realize that not one country can grow properly without growth in all its parts, and in all spheres of everyone’s lives. For a country’s development, it is important that all parts and regions of the country are growing. Otherwise, such situations just bring destruction to the country, not anything else. Same thing was happening in the American history when the north was growing but southern people were facing slavery and miserable conditions. In such situations, the role of religious beliefs in the transformation of politics was remarkable.