It vexes me. The official definition says the Bible Belt is the deep South, but that makes no sense. Dwight Moody, of the influential Moody Bible College, was from Massachusetts. William Riley, the pastor who invented fundamentalism, was from…Minneapolis. Saddleback Church is in Orange County. New Saint Andrews College and Doug Wilson are in Idaho; Mars Hill, before its founder’s meltdown, was based in Seattle. The burned over district? New York.
I travel a lot, all over the country, and everywhere I go, North and South, East and West, people tell me they’re living in the Bible Belt. Worse, they’re prone to tell me that their local religious fanatics form the “buckle of the Bible Belt”. Everywhere. The whole damn country. I’ve heard it in Oregon and Ohio, as well as Florida and Texas.
It’s not a belt. It’s a great fat corset, wrapped all around the USA, and it’s covered with elaborate chains and straps and buckles and fasteners. Some people use the term “Bible Belt” to disparage the South, others use it to refer to any entrenched collection of rabid believers, and it’s no longer useful at all. Stop using it!
I do recommend calling it America’s Bible Corset, though, and it’s the intricate corset of a dominatrix, what with all the odd buckles everywhere. Maybe you can use your creativity a little more and name your local religious scene something different: “We’re the zipper of the Bible Corset!” “We’re the nipple clamp of the Bible Girdle!” “We’re the brass rivet of the Bible Bustier!”
Anything but “Bible Belt”. Or “buckle”. Please.