While the Bible Belt is known for its devotion to traditional values, Southerners don’t do so well on one key family value: They are more likely to get divorced than people living in the Northeast.
Southern men and women had higher rates of divorce in 2009 than their counterparts in other parts of the country: 10.2 per 1,000 for men and 11.1 per 1,000 for women, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday.
By comparison, men and women in the Northeast had the lowest rates of divorce, 7.2 and 7.5 per 1,000, which is also lower than the national divorce rate of 9.2 for men and 9.7 for women…
Youth and lack of education can lead to higher divorce rates, said D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer with the Pew Research Center..”There tend to be higher divorce rates in states where women marry young,” Cohn said. “Education also may play a role. In general, less educated women marry at younger ages than college-educated women, and less educated couples have higher divorce rates.”
Values about premarital sex associated with the Bible Belt and rural America may be encouraging people to marry early, at ages when they are likely to have less education and less income to support a long-lasting marriage, according to Naomi Cahn, law professor at The George Washington University Law School…”There’s a moral crisis in red states that’s produced by higher divorce rates and the disparity between parental values and behavior of young adults,” said Cahn. “There is enormous tension between moral values and actual practices…”
“The very fact that people feel less pressure to get married (in the Northeast) means they can be more selective about who they marry and take their time, ” Coontz said. “They don’t have to rush into it to please parents or avoid stigma of premarital sex…”
Meanwhile, divorce still pushes more women into poverty than men and affects their children, since children are still more likely to live with their mothers than their fathers, according to the same U.S. Census report.
Bible Belt and fundamentalist Christians have a built-in acceptance for hypocrisy. Lying about ethical standards – building rationales acceptable to your peers to justify just about anything is part of the whole equation of being “forgiven”. You can build your life on superstition and guesswork – and watch it fall apart – because you have someone waiting for you, next Sunday, who will tell you, “It’s OK. You gave it a try. God loves you anyway.”
Even if you don’t make your child support payments.