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“If heaven ain’t a lot like Dixie, I don’t wanna go,” Hank Williams Jr. sang. “If heaven ain’t a lot like Dixie, I’d just as soon stay home.”
The song was, of course, meant to be more of a praise of the South than a developed eschatology. But after detailing all the things he loved about his home region, Hank Jr. concluded that if these things were missing from eternity, then “just send me to hell or New York City; it would be about the same to me.”
Recent studies show that, increasingly, white Southern evangelicals are deciding that when it comes to the church, if not to heaven, they’d just as soon stay home.
Last week here, I referenced an analysis by historian Daniel K. Williams (no relation to Hank) on studies of a fast-growing trend among white Southern Protestants who seldom or never attend church and yet self-identify as evangelical Christians.
To recap, Williams points to data on…