Social Question

livelaughlove21's avatar

Liberal in the Bible Belt - are you out of place as well?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15675points) May 23rd, 2013

I posted a question in Meta awhile back asking how some jellies feel about being in the Fluther minority (generally, the religious and otherwise conservative). This time I’m asking about jellies out in the real world.

As I sit at my bank job listening to co-workers discuss how gay marriage is ripping the family unit to shreds (with Fox news playing in the background, no less), I can’t help but feel extremely out of place. I keep my mouth shut and try to ignore it, but I wonder how others handle these situations. Is it best to shut up or are you more likely to speak your mind?

I’m not a very political person at all, but I do feel strongly about social issues – gay rights in particular, so it’s very hard for me to keep my big mouth shut. This, however, is pretty standard in South Carolina, where I reside, and I think keeping the peace is best in a professional environment. However, I’d love to speak by mind right about now.

How about you? Do you live in a location in which you often feel like the minority (based on your political/social/etc. views)? How do you handle this?

On the flip side, if you are surrounded by people who generally feel as you do, is that a comfort or just boring? Could you live in a place where a lot of the population thinks how you feel is just wrong?

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30 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

I have lots of friends here that agree with your co-workers, but I’m not the quiet type when it comes to maltreatment of human beings, and social issues are important to me as well as providing a sane world for children to grow up in. I’m outspokenly in favor of SSM and seek out every opportunity to discuss it with more narrow-minded humans and christians.

Basically I argue it with my closest friends, with people online locally, and with my own family at times. Is it a sin, and whether it is or not, who are we to judge. Personally I think it’s between a person and their Deity, not anyone else. And the basic Bill of Rights specifically states ‘pursuit of happiness’.

My friends here think that civil unions are acceptable but ‘marriage’ is not. It’s not a comfort or boring, it’s annoying and sad that people use God as a basis to treat people poorly. But I still love my misguided friends as I do my LGBT friends.

bookish1's avatar

I live in a ‘liberal’ bubble in a pretty conservative state. I’ve lived in the American South most of my life. I feel alienated by much of what calls itself ‘liberal’ around here, but even more alienated by its opposite.

As a visibly queer, and sometimes-still-visibly transsexual person, I don’t feel very safe here. Last night I was wondering how I’m going to make it down to Atlanta to visit a consulate without getting hassled by cops or threatened/beaten up in a rest stop bathroom. Not only are my views wrong, but people like me are not supposed to exist.

Seek's avatar

Hands up!

In order to get from my house to the main road, I pass going one way, a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Baptist church, and a Methodist church. Another way, the local Megachurch, and the third option, another Baptist church and a Pentecostal church. These are all within 1 mile of each other. The local free newspaper is basically a church activity bulletin. There’s three private Christian schools within two miles of my house.

I work with a bunch of mostly liberal people who may or may not be believers (some are, some aren’t), but all of the bosses are Republican WASPS. Frickin’ rich people.

I’m an out atheist, and won’t lie to save face, but I don’t generally speak up. I do reply “Thank you” instead of “You, too” when someone says “Have a blessed day”. That’s enough to set me apart. It may or may not affect my work life. I haven’t been here long enough yet to know for certain.

I wish I could get a job in a more liberal profession. Working in a marketing company that sells overpriced precious metals to rich people isn’t exactly liberal/atheist friendly.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr You should try media, it’s the most accepting work environment with a widely diverse group of people, across the world. It’s great, I bet you’d love it seriously.

Seek's avatar

Know anyone hiring in the Tampa/St. Pete area? Who are you, Clear Channel or Cox?

Pachy's avatar

In the small, very Christian Texas city where I spent my first 18 years, my family was very, very different from those of my mostly Christian schoolmates. We were Jewish, Democrats and very liberal, and I think my parents, especially my dad, a native New Yorker who was very outspoken about his liberal beliefs (which of course very much determined what I grew up believing), never quite fit into an environment in which Negroes, as they were politely called (we were forbidden to use the impolite word in my house and I still rankle when I hear it in any context) rode in the back of the bus and were forced to use separate drinking fountains and bathrooms. Fortunately, my closest friends and girlfriend came from the same kind of families and shared my values and beliefs . Also fortunately, thanks to prodding from my dad and mom, I moved to New York to go to college and start my career. Best thing I ever did.

tups's avatar

I do not live in the Bible Belt, but I have this issue from time to time as well. There are certain members of my family who are conservative and more or less bigots. I try my best to make them see things from another perspective and I often protest, but I am not always take seriously. It is not so much about religious issues as it is about social ones.

dxs's avatar

In all honesty, Fluther is my biggest support system when it comes to things like this. I feel much more welcome here because I feel that people here have similar beliefs as me. No one I am close to in my real life has the same thoughts as me. It makes me seem like an oddball and singles me out from the people around me.
I was raised in a very Catholic environment and still live in it. I was “Catholic” during my childhood, but only because I was raised into it. And most people in my area don’t even seem to take a second to question their belief systems. After taking time to think about what I truly believed, I decided that I did not follow the religion. I’m not going to be told what to believe; I’m going to decide what I want to believe. The truth of the Bible aren’t necessarily true. I still do things for my local Catholic Church because I still think that it is a good organization with a good set of basic morals—Jesus had a lot of great things to say.
But I hate how everyone assumes that I am Catholic just because my family is. This question was just asked, and relates a lot to what I’m talking about. Some people are so sucked in that they probably wouldn’t even be able to comprehend the fact that I’m not Catholic. My parents, who don’t really act out many of the Catholic “lifestyles” anyway, don’t even know that I don’t follow Catholicism. I don’t know what they or others would say. It’d probably be something along the lines of me being silly or nonsensical.
Here’s the clincher: I live in far-left liberal Massachusetts.

ucme's avatar

I live in a real small town & consequently we don’t have any genuine bonafide fuck-ups, pretty much everyone votes the same way & if anyone does hold extreme views in a particular field, we get the farmer to run them down with his massive tractor :D
Having said all that, there is a church type thingy for mormons just around the corner from our house, I pass it when taking the dawg for her morning walk &...well, dem dudes are just fuckin creepy!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ucme I feel bad agreeing with you on that, but it is true of the Mormon’s I’ve met as well. We invited them in and talked, got a Mormom bible from them to read, they were very nice, there was just something odd….

marinelife's avatar

I often felt the way you do when I lived in Florida, which is the Bible Belt for sure.

ucme's avatar

@KNOWITALL A couple of them stopped me one time & asked if I believed in “jesus christ our saviour”, my dog barked at them & we both ran off, slightly disturbed & yet contented at the same time…close call that one.

jerv's avatar

I’m a Seattle resident who knows how to drive, even in what passes for snow around here.

starsofeight's avatar

Tags such as ‘liberal’ are limiting and self defeating concepts. I am a Christian, but I am against homosexual behavior not only based on Christian standards, but also on standards of practicality. However, even as a Christian, I am a very big devotee of ‘equality under the law’. I cannot very well expect others to respect my rights if I do not respect theirs.

Still in all, I do not feel the need to ‘speak out’ on ‘issues’. It would take someone much more skilled than myself to get anyone to change what they believe in. Rather than an aggressive approach, I lean more toward an ‘ask and thou shalt receive approach.

There is me, and there is everyone else. Just like everyone else, I am more than happy to share ‘me’ with the world—they just have to ask first.

I was a Christian back in my hitch hiking days, and one day, I was approached by a happy young man who offered me a free breakfast. That sounded good to me, but when he said, “and while we’re eating, I can witness to you,” I felt offended. I made my excuses and went on my way—with my own faith inviolate.

I am apolitical. I don’t need much from others—the basic respect afforded any citizen—and I don’t offer much more than that in return.

tinyfaery's avatar

Speak your truth. Not only is it good for you, but you might change people’s minds.

I live in L.A. I am in a bubble, but I rarely keep my mouth shut when people say stupid shit about race or sexuality.

Being out as an LGBTQ person and our vocal allies are the only way we will gain 1st class status in this country and the world.

rojo's avatar

Yes, I live in an extremely conservative town in extremely conservative Texas and work in the extremely conservative field of construction. I am considered odd because of my liberal, socialist, pro-union, pro-civil rights pro-choice, occupy supporting, unreligious views. There are a few of us out there but they are not common. And let one of us write in to the editorial section of the paper and there is an avalanche of letters explaining, with all the conservative talking points listed, why we are wrong and headed straight for hell.

rojo's avatar

Thoughts of Faith and God Decrease Tolerance for Ambiguity Here is an interesting short article that might be of interest. Strikes a chord for those living in the Bible Belt.

flutherother's avatar

I’m pretty liberal in my views and I lived in the Deep South for a while. I mostly kept my mouth shut especially on their racial views which I didn’t like. I put it down to a narrow minded perspective and ignorance which I could do little about.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m a liberal in the military, which is essentially the same thing lol. Ask anyone in the military where they are originally from, and they will either say Texas, Ohio, Georgia, California (which is mixed) or one of the midwestern states.

All kidding aside, I am out of place, so I don’t talk about politics much. I’ve heard some crazy stuff from people and it’s just not worth debating them.

peridot's avatar

I’m a female who has chosen to be child-free, and I’m not very good at hiding my disgust of arrogant behavior (i.e. driving a huge SUV and believing that means everybody else gets the hell out of your way, including other SUVs).

Politics and religion aren’t quite as polarized here as it sounds like they are in other regions, for which I’m grateful.

Ron_C's avatar

I live in a very Catholic city. There are three Catholic churches in our small town of 18000 and at least one in each of the small surrounding Boros. I am very liberal and progressive but that doesn’t seem to affect my Catholic friends. It does, however, piss off the Tea Party clan.

augustlan's avatar

I grew up in an extremely diverse (and largely liberal) area, which I am forever thankful for. Washington D.C. and its suburbs are probably the best place in America for learning tolerance as a child, since you’ll meet people from all over the world and from all walks of life. Growing up, I had friends of all different colors and religions (or lack of), many of them born in other countries. It was a great incubator! As a result, I’m a liberal atheist.

I now live in West Virginia, so…yeah. I’m a tad out of place. I tend to speak my mind anyway, except for in situations where it would be dangerous to do so.

RandomGirl's avatar

I’m the other way around: devoted Christian and hard-core Republican in a very liberal area (Minnesota). I feel very out of place sometimes. At the same time, though, the specific few counties around my place tend to be pretty conservative. In day to day life, talking to people around town, I feel like I fit in pretty well, and I don’t have to worry about offending anyone or getting into a big discussion. It seems like people in this area like Republicans for their local government, but Democrats for state government. It’s weird.

rojo's avatar

@RandomGirl I don’t think that is weird at all. I would say that, as an avowed liberal, I could deal with that.

dxs's avatar

@RandomGirl That seems to make sense since Republicans favor smaller governments and Democrats favor larger governments.

augustlan's avatar

@RandomGirl West Virginia likes Dems for governor, but is pretty solidly red for president. It is weird.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@augustlan That’s the original reason West Virginia seceded from the Confederacy and Virginia during the Civil War. The people in the mountains and hils had a different outlook on many things. That included mining and forestry instead of tobacco, cotton and rice.

Paradox25's avatar

You don’t have to live in the Bible belt to experience this, try rural Pennsylvania. Unfortunately I’m very open about my dislike of most Republican politicians and conservative ideals in general, and I usually get into nasty arguments with my opposition. There are many who agree with me as well so that helps a bit.

bunnyslippers's avatar

I hate party politics, they lead to groupthink and oversimplification of issues as well fighting issues just because they came from the other camp. I don’t actually have a solution, unless anyone is willing to make me the King of the United States…

No? Didn’t think so, but keep it in mind as an option cause I’d make a hell of a king. Of course that only solves our specific problems so you might as well go ahead and make me King of the World while your at it.

rojo's avatar

Oh King ay? Very nice.,

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