When we travel overseas, we are prepared to experience different cultures and points of view. When we drive less than 800 miles from home within the US, we do not expect to encounter attitudes and values radically different from our own. It hit me when we watched the local news. The lead story took place at the school board meeting of a local high school. Community members were up in arms because the public school had decided not to offer Bible classes as part of the public school curriculum. I was amazed that Bible classes would even be offered by a public school, but the reporter revealed that the reason for this change was that the instructors were not even certified teachers. No one seemed to mind that church and state are supposed to be kept separate in this country.
Then we recalled the Biblical quote on the sign at the front of our campground. We had never seen that at a campground before. The handout we got when we checked in listed typical information like local TV channels and the location of the laundromat, but prominently featured another Biblical quote. When we had attended the NASCAR rally, each race began with a prayer to Jesus Christ. I have never seen or attended another professional sports event that began in this way. No one had a doubt in their minds that every participant in the race and the entire group of spectators in the stands, wasn't a Christian.
At NASCAR someone had hired a plane to fly a Confederate flag over the stadium, with the slogan "Remember your roots." The race was rained out that day, but that flag was seen by everyone in the area. Numerous Confederate flags were also prominently displayed by the spectators. I cannot imagine how I would feel seeing this as an African American, but one would hope that at this time in our nation's history, we were at least advanced enough to keep such opinions to ourselves.
My sister has lived in South Carolina for over 25 years. When she first moved there, she found the locals to be folks that had been born here and their daddies as well, but over the years the area has become more and more diverse just like the rest of our country. One has to wonder how welcome these new ethnic groups feel in an area that assumes that the Civil War is not over and that everyone is a Christian.