3 for Thursday: 3 Lessons from that BuzzFeed Map on your Representative’s Religion

The map at the top of this post is color-coded by Buzzfeed to show the religion with which your the U.S. representative identifies. It is from late 2013, but a reshare on Facebook drew my attention to it again. Lots of colors there, right? Must mean we Americans have a fairly diverse country. Or, you know, it means the exact opposite.

Below are three lessons to take away from this Buzzfeed map on your representative’s religion and why this map should be almost one color.

1) Almost every color on here belongs to a Christian denomination

Granted, not all traditional Christians would accept the light blue spot on this map as “Christian,” since that indicates Mormon representatives, but in general, most of the other colors are just Christians of different denominational backgrounds.

To make this clearer, here is the actual key for the map. Buzzfeed-map-key

Anglican/Epicopalian, Baptist, Catholic, Luthernan, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Other Christian are different Christian branches in the tradition. Yes, there are Baptists and some “Other Christians who would happily say that Catholics are not really Christians and that Anglicans and Episcopalians are almost Catholic, so they don’t count either, but when it comes down to the basics of the ecumenical creeds and the actual story of the Christian faith, these could easily be put into a single color.

2) Non-Christians are mostly out of luck

There is a logic to the idea that if your country is made up mostly of Christians, you might expect fewer representatives of other religions in power. As you can imagine, though, it would be hard for a great candidate who is Buddhist or Muslim to win against a lousy Christian candidate. How is that good representation?

Now just go ahead and try to find those Muslim representatives on here. I dare you to try to pick out that faded green from that bright green. If you squint you might…yup, there they are.

Muslim-representatives
3) American Christians need to stop complaining

Maybe this is coming off of a week of hiding people who still think that their safe, sanitized, and relatively free lives are oppressed, but I’m going to say it anyway: Christians in the United States, stop saying you’re persecuted.

I’m immediately reminded of Rowan William’s (former Archbishop of Canterbury) response to Western Christian complaints about persecution: “Grow up” and stop exaggerating what “amounts to feeling ‘mildly uncomfortable.'” Post Hobby Lobby, there is even less room for this. Let’s face it, you live in a country where even the Left Behind series gets rebooted and there is a TV mini-series telling the entire story of the Bible, movies about Noah, Moses, and God not being dead, etc. If this active expression of your faith is persecution, then Amazon is a company that has nothing to sell.

Here’s a better approach. If you feel persecuted and under-represented, find your closest atheist or Muslim or Hindu friend (or go make one) and ask them how they feel. Then be grateful enough for what is there.

Brandon out! :::insert dropped microphone sound here:::

  • timetherington

    There is an inherent limitation when it comes to maps and politics. For example, take a look at a map of which counties in Illinois voted for Barak Obama in 2012. The state is very red based on geography but the ares with the most dense population voted overwhelmingly Democratic. The map doesn’t tell you anything really. And so it is with the case here. Some of colors on the map represent huge spaces but maybe only one or two representatives. But then you get to dense population centers and there is more diversity. The Buzzfeed map made me think of this one from Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/half-of-the-united-states-lives-in-these-counties-2013-9

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