Monday, August 27, 2012

Moving Horizontally

Well today I'm over half way there in my move from South Dakota to Philadelphia.  This strikes me as a horizontal move in more ways than the obvious geographical one.

Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the last several presidential elections, but has always been a swing state leaning left.  This year however, things like Voter ID have demonstrated that the extreme right is still making its presence known there and has significant influence.  It's not like I've moved to California where the hippies flow freely.

Religiously speaking, Pennsylvania is a lot less fundamentalist laden than South Dakota.  South Dakota is loaded with extremely conservative mainstream protestants like Missouri Synod Lutheran and Baptists.  Religion is ubiquitous and assumed in everyday conversation.  While the actual beliefs of South Dakotan believers don't usually compare to bible belt antics, the overwhelming majority that they enjoy makes living there as an atheist a bit challenging.

Still Pennsylvania is home to the Year of the Bible and a very large conservative Catholic population.  Earlier this year a Pennsylvania bus company rejected a bus ad that said simply "Atheist." I feel like I'm trading one brand of religious extremes for another.

I'm looking forward to living in a more progressive city with a diverse population but fully expect that I will be facing a wholly different set of issues and religious groups than I have in the past.

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