buckle of the Bible belt, and holes in the Bible belt

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It’s the buckle of the Bible belt, y’all. And the holes of the Bible belt too! Read on…

Earlier this week we looked at the definition of Bible belt. Today we have definitions for both the “buckle of the Bible belt” as well as the “holes in the Bible belt.”

A “buckle” of the Bible belt is a spot where the Christian religious influence is particularly noticeable, even for the south. The “holes” are cities in the belt that are surprisingly religion-free. Belts and buckles: who knew that it was so “fashionable” to be a Christian in the southern part of the United States?

What other cities have you heard called a “buckle” or a “hole” in the Bible belt?

buckle of the Bible belt n. Nickname of various American cities where fundamentalist Protestantism seems especially prevalent. See various senses below.
See also *Bible belt; *hole in the Bible belt.
1. Nashville, Tennessee.
1970 Justice of the Peace and Local Government Rev. vol. 134 964 : Nashville, Tennessee, the “buckle of the Bible Belt.” 1973 Publishers Weekly vol. 204 97 : Located in the buckle of the Bible belt, Thomas Nelson Inc., of Nashville, Tennessee. 1998 Blazer Freud vs. God: How Psychiatry Lost Its Soul 18 : I grew up in the buckle of the Bible Belt of the southern United States—Nashville, Tennessee. My family had been faithful, fundamentalist Christians for at least three generations on both sides, and my parents maintained that tradition.
2. Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.
1982 J. Scientific Study of Religion 21/4 (Dec.) 293 : The Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area (Metroplex) … has often been referred to as the “buckle” of the southern Bible-belt. 1982 Union Seminary Quarterly Rev. vol. 37 341 : The Dallas–Fort Worth area (the “buckle of the Bible Belt”).
3. Tulsa, Oklahoma.
1977 Mother Jones (Dec.) 69 : If you want to struggle for art and street theater you go to the Buckle of the Bible Belt. “But they love us here in Tulsa, because we’re the only alternative—to anything,” according to the director of this Oklahoma out-to-lunch Punch and Judy show. 1982 Conway, Siegelman Holy Terror: The Fundamentalist War on America’s Freedoms 44 : No other TV preacher holds sway over a city as large as [Oral] Roberts’ Tulsa, Oklahoma. Through the fifties, Roberts won fame and followers as a tent-show faith healer from the “buckle” of the Bible Belt. 2000 Foote, Thornburg Being Presbyterian in the Bible Belt 84 : Some people might consider Tulsa to be a “geographic buckle” of a Bible Belt mentality because of the presence of neo-charismatic institutions such as Oral Roberts University.
4. Various other places.
1960 Time Mag. (n.d.) 95 : Dayton, Tenn. (“the Buckle of the Bible Belt”). 1965 Time vol. 86 19 : Senator Fred Harris, who has increasingly angered his Oklahoma constituency by his antiwar stand, addressed overflow audiences at Oklahoma State in Stillwater [, Oklahoma], “the Buckle of the Bible Belt.”

And the definition for “hole in the Bible belt” . . .

hole in the Bible belt n. Somewhere in the *Bible belt where the fundamentalist religious influence seems much less prevalent than it is in the surrounding areas.
A few of the cities that have been nicknamed “holes in the Bible belt” are Austin, Texas; Asheville, North Carolina; and Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
See also *Bible belt; *buckle of the Bible belt.
1994 Third Way (Feb.) 24 : Adswood is a hole in the Greater Manchester Bible belt…. Christians are hard to find.
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