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In which we discuss the cultural acceptability of the South, re: Orthodoxy

rakovsky

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But Texas isn't a landlocked state. :unsure:
Often in common parlance, the "coasts" of the US means just the east and west coasts, with the "east coast of the US" running south from Maine to Florida, even though we have 4 Gulf Coast States.

There is a larger issue that Fulk Nera is raising about Texas and the Deep South having a history of intolerance, including to non-Protestants. The Greek community in New Orleans however apparently was on the Confederate side of the Civil War and some Greek Southerners had slaves, which is disturbing. I recall reading on a thread on this forum about how a big Greek church moved into a Texas neighborhood and the Texas neighbors were upset as if it was a culture clash.

Personally, I wouldn't want to dissuade people who were of these kinds of issues and wanted to move to Texas or the Deep South while remaining committed to Orthodoxy and human rights, and I would be happy with missionary efforts there.

Houston and the regions around it have a particularly large concentration of EO and OO churches. I think Greeks and Arabs particularly like the warmer half of the US, and the South is a growing area for EO churches, partly because the South has historically generally not been a major spot for EOs, albeit with some exceptions. In other words, there is a lot of room for growth in numbers.


This post has been copied here as well as left in its original thread for the sake of context for each thread.
The other thread can be found here.
Thanks. --Ainnir
 
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FULK NERA

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Often in common parlance, the "coasts" of the US means just the east and west coasts, with the "east coast of the US" running south from Maine to Florida, even though we have 4 Gulf Coast States.

There is a larger issue that Fulk Nera is raising about Texas and the Deep South having a history of intolerance, including to non-Protestants. The Greek community in New Orleans however apparently was on the Confederate side of the Civil War and some Greek Southerners had slaves, which is disturbing. I recall reading on a thread on this forum about how a big Greek church moved into a Texas neighborhood and the Texas neighbors were upset as if it was a culture clash.

Personally, I wouldn't want to dissuade people who were of these kinds of issues and wanted to move to Texas or the Deep South while remaining committed to Orthodoxy and human rights, and I would be happy with missionary efforts there.

Houston and the regions around it have a particularly large concentration of EO and OO churches. I think Greeks and Arabs particularly like the warmer half of the US, and the South is a growing area for EO churches, partly because the South has historically generally not been a major spot for EOs, albeit with some exceptions. In other words, there is a lot of room for growth in numbers.
Get a load of this:Nurturing Orthodoxy in Dixie’s Lands - Michael Sisco interviews Dissident Mama amd Dn. Ananias Eric Sorem the Norwegian Nous drops by to chat.
 

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Personally, I wouldn't want to dissuade people who were * AWARE * of these kinds of issues
I agree with spreading Orthodoxy, and the South is a growing area, but I mean that people should be aware of where and what they are getting into. Urban areas in the South very much tend to be more open to multiculturality and cosmopolitanism. Plus, a lot of the antagonism in the past was more racial and anti-Catholic.
 

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I'm not sure why Irene gave you an angry face here, or where the link is for your interview. I did find "Orthodox in Dixie".


In the beginning of the clip, the Confederate museum director says that many South Carolinians like the Confederate flag as a sign of valor and that they would be attracted to Orthodoxy because Orthodoxy is "manly". "Its not just that you have cool beards like I do, there's challenge to the faith, it's not the lowest common denominator kind of thing. There's discipline and high standards to aspire to."

"Tradition," Reader Lukianov asserts.
"Theres a very strong strand of tradition in the South. It particularly values individualism and freedom, but that doesnt mean you should take order and structure out of life," the director asserts.

I don't want to be negative, but starting one's documentary with an interview connecting Orthodoxy to the Confederacy is starting out in probably one of the worst possible ways to look for connections between Orthodoxy and reaching out to southerners. If ROCOR was siding with one side of a civil war in order to preserve Russian Serfdom and the right of one Russian to own another and do what he pleases with him as a piece of property, the Opening would at least make sense in terms of analogies.

67% of South Carolinians are white, and probably a fair share of them disagree with the Confederacy, so in effect the documentary starts off alienating about half the viewership.

The people on the documentary would probably respond to me that they aren't advocating slavery, but are advocating Tradition and Standing up for Principles. Ok, that sounds Great. But Russian Orthodoxy is not part of Southern Tradition. It's even farther from it than African culture and Catholicism are because at least those have a long historic presence in the South. The creation of Russian churches in South Carolina can be directly correlated to people in the state being more open to other cultures besides just White Anglo culture Traditions. To associate Russian Orthodox religion with Confederate Tradition is a delusion. The Russian Empire was on the Union side of the Civil War.
 
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rakovsky

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When you start your documentary promoting Orthodoxy with a clip of Confederate flags and Dixie music and an interview like that, it sends a subtext saying in effect, "We fought the Union because they were going to make us stop owning black slaves." Instead of promoting Orthodoxy to the whole population in SC, it in effect alienates half of the state population and pushes them away from Orthodoxy. And the pro-Confederate half might get their interest piqued and have some warm feelings, but they're not going to make the connection between the White, Protestant dominated Confederate Tradition and Orthodox Tradition because there is practically none. "Fight Battles against the Federal Government with valor and Manliness if your federal government leans toward stopping slavery" is not Orthodoxy.
 

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I'm not sure why Irene gave you an angry face here, or where the link is for your interview. I did find "Orthodox in Dixie".


In the beginning of the clip, the Confederate museum director says that many South Carolinians like the Confederate flag as a sign of valor and that they would be attracted to Orthodoxy because Orthodoxy is "manly". "Its not just that you have cool beards like I do, there's challenge to the faith, it's not the lowest common denominator kind of thing. There's discipline and high standards to aspire to."

"Tradition," Reader Lukianov asserts.
"Theres a very strong strand of tradition in the South. It particularly values individualism and freedom, but that doesnt mean you should take order and structure out of life," the director asserts.Michael Sisco Show: Nurturing Orthodoxy in Dixie’s Land
I don't want to be negative, but starting one's documentary with an interview connecting Orthodoxy to the Confederacy is starting out in probably one of the worst possible ways to look for connections between Orthodoxy and reaching out to southerners. If ROCOR was siding with one side of a civil war in order to preserve Russian Serfdom and the right of one Russian to own another and do what he pleases with him as a piece of property, the Opening would at least make sense in terms of analogies.

67% of South Carolinians are white, and probably a fair share of them disagree with the Confederacy, so in effect the documentary starts off alienating about half the viewership.

The people on the documentary would probably respond to me that they aren't advocating slavery, but are advocating Tradition and Standing up for Principles. Ok, that sounds Great. But Russian Orthodoxy is not part of Southern Tradition. It's even farther from it than African culture and Catholicism are because at least those have a long historic presence in the South. The creation of Russian churches in South Carolina can be directly correlated to people in the state being more open to other cultures besides just White Anglo culture Traditions. To associate Russian Orthodox religion with Confederate Tradition is a delusion. The Russian Empire was on the Union side of the Civil War.
M. Sisco Show: Nurturing Orthodoxy in Dixie’s Land
These people are their own worst enemies, but their tendencies are what make them popular among their fellow travelers in the ‘Orthosphere’. Their language is propagandistic insofar as they convince no one who isn’t already so inclined toward their views, and they repulse those among us who can see a dangerous fascistic movement afoot among them. Their open hatred of California and New England in particular show how deeply Christian they are.
 

Ainnir

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It seems if the region does in fact uniquely struggle with such issues, it's all the more reason to cultivate Orthodoxy within its borders.
I personally doubt those issues are limited to a single location, but I haven't met everyone in the world, so... :)
 

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It seems if the region does in fact uniquely struggle with such issues, it's all the more reason to cultivate Orthodoxy within its borders.
I personally doubt those issues are limited to a single location, but I haven't met everyone in the world, so... :)
It's hard to find an exact parallel to the Confederacy in history: one region of a nation seceding, attacking, and fighting federal/national troops in a bloody civil war out of fear that the federal government would outlaw racial slavery.

Centuries ago, Arab Muslims had African racial slavery, but there wasn't a war over it. In WW2, 3rd Reich Germany had racial slave labor in concentration camps, but pro-Confederstes would object to the analogy because the 3rd Reich also performed mass "extermination".

I believe that the Bible in effect teaches against slavery. As I recall, Israel was subjugated at one point with one indirect moral factor behind this fate being that they didn't keep their slaves free per their religious Jubilee law. In the Torah, the Israelites were supposed to free their Hebrew (and other?) Slaves every several decades.
 

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In the Torah, the Israelites were supposed to free their Hebrew (and other?) Slaves every several decades.
However, this doesn't necessarily entail that Christians, including Orthodox, will understand this. Both pro and anti slavery advocates used arguments with Bible quotes. Greek Americans in Louisiana had an EO parish, slaves and fought for the Confederacy.
 

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The New Smyrna colony in Florida was a bit like slavery, but with Greeks under the Pope instead of blacks. The colony went bad and collapsed, and there was a failed revolt. The only real Orthodox community before the Civil War in the South was the Greek one in Louisiana.

The Ludwell Society page says,
Philip Ludwell III was the first known Orthodox convert in North America. In 1738, the 22-year-old grandson of the royal governor of Carolina and son of an influential member of the Royal Governing Council sailed to England, where he was received into the Orthodox Church in a small Orthodox parish in London. Because of the prevailing laws and attitudes of the time, Ludwell could not practice his faith openly.

Though Ludwell founded no parish in North America — at least not one that survived — through his piety he sowed seeds which bear rich fruit even to this day.
So basically there is no serious real connection between Ludwell's Orthodoxy and Southern Tradition. There are only analogies and very indirect connections, like Ludwell was a Southerner and Orthodoxy has Tradition, and the South is "traditional."
 
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Orthodoxy and the Confederacy go together like Keys and Parrots.




Orthodoxy, the Confederacy, and the Aztecs:
-Very Traditional
-Perform Prayer and Sacrifice
-Have Red, Blue, and White colors sometimes
-Have valor
-Have morals
-Believe in the sacred
-Had people who fought in wars
-Believe family is important

Plus, there was a colonial Southerner named Ludwell who converted to Orthodoxy when the South wouldn't let him practice Orthodoxy, and a Mesoamerican who converted to Christianity whose jungle village wouldn't let him hold services. So the South continues Ludwell's Orthodox heritage just like that Mesoamerican jungle village passed down a Christian heritage.
 

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I was referring to racism and religious bigotry, but ok. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m giving up before I bother trying.
 

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Even as an Anglican I can be looked at oddly. No one will be mad at you about it, they will think you are a Christian, but they will wonder why you have all that ceremony and rules. It is a very Baptist outlook on faith. I live in Alabama for the record.
 

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Fr. Anastasy who is in that proConfederate documentary ROCOR Youtube clip actually told me once that decades ago there was anti-Greek prejudice in South Carolina, although I forget the details. I also recall hearing from another old timer Greek (and maybe Fr. Anastasy) that the SC Charleston Greeks held together as Greeks because of ethnic disapproval by White SC society.

They wanted to fit into White Anglo society, so the Goarch gave up things like beards that the Confederate museum director is complimenting in Orthodoxy. There is a very troubling unrecognized undercurrent in the proConfederate Orthodox documentary.

The SouthernOrthodox blog's title banner shows a Protestant minister and photos of Evangelical religious events next to Orthodox pictures. Some of the proud "Southern Orthodox Traditionalist" identifying faction are new converts. How many of them will stay Orthodox instead of going back to actual Southern Protestant Tradition when they realize Russian ikons and moliebens are not part of Southern Tradition?
 

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It's just about the beards (conch shell). Those who have loooooong beards must all believe the same traditional manly primitive theology. In some other races the men do not have looooong beards. So the beards own the beardless.
 

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I live in a sundown town in Illinois. It's still a current tradition for the locals. These are The Children of the Klan. The law turns their eyes away and dismisses cases of abuse towards blacks here. It may have gotten less scary after dark for non whites but not really. We have an orthodox mission 20 miles noth of us. So, let's see how this works. Blacks can be out after dark 20 minutes north of here so they could go to vespers there. It's a real thing. There's no African Americans at the mission.
 
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I live in a sundown town in Illinois. It's still a current tradition for the locals. These are The Children of the Klan. The law turns their eyes away and dismisses cases of abuse towards blacks here. It may have gotten less scary after dark for non whites but not really. We have an orthodox mission 20 miles noth of us. So, let's see how this works. Blacks can be out after dark 20 minutes north of here so they could go to vespers there. It's a real thing. There's no African Americans at the mission.
Whoa, still?

**Because I have to disclaim: I'm not saying "ever" was ok. But "still" is incomprehensible.
 

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Whoa, still?

**Because I have to disclaim: I'm not saying "ever" was ok. But "still" is incomprehensible.
Yes. My children are always friends with the black families and all are always welcome here in our home day or night. Some black families try moving in to town but eventually leave. Subtle emotional lynching. Beatings in locker rooms. Attacks in alleys. Principle and sheriff look the other way. Black populations south of here come in large groups mostly on Sunday afternoon to do their shopping. But i see that there is always a group. When I was home nursing I went to a black compound south of here, all black. I got lost looking for my client and wow did everyone come out to the porches. My client loved me and told me that I'm the only nurse allowed from then on from my agency and that the whole town will know my vehicle and allow me entrance whenever I want now. It's not just in the deep south. It's really sad.
 

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Whoa, still?

**Because I have to disclaim: I'm not saying "ever" was ok. But "still" is incomprehensible.
It's only possible as an unofficial policy, since it's illegal.
Consider that there are probably tiny towns that are hostile to or antsy about "outsiders" in general. Then consider what if the outsider were black.
 

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Some families of color were accepted here in this sundown town for their children's outstanding athletic abilities and these persons of color won state athletic awards for the local county schools. But their value was wrapped up in performance for the school. Everything went sour if they chose not to perform athlethics. The Hispanic population, people of Latinx heritage, are predominantly migrant workers here and have a migrant camp as well. These people of color also come to town in protective groups. I dont believe I have ever seen people of Asian descent here. There are loooong bearded men in super high 4 wheel trucks covered in mud with full size confederate flags hanging from the trucks driving around town. There are local shops that sell confederate stuff. There are confederate flags hanging in windows as curtains in homes. And we have lots of protestant churches.
I want to move away. Waiting for my youngest to graduate high school.
 

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It's only possible as an unofficial policy, since it's illegal.
Consider that there are probably tiny towns that are hostile to or antsy about "outsiders" in general. Then consider what if the outsider were black.
Some of these towns here still have a siren that goes off at sundown.
 

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How does an Orthodox church establish itself in Southern communities where darker skin, brown eyes, domes on churches, prostrations, and
accents all remind the locals of Muslims?
 

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Yes. My children are always friends with the black families and all are always welcome here in our home day or night. Some black families try moving in to town but eventually leave. Subtle emotional lynching. Beatings in locker rooms. Attacks in alleys. Principle and sheriff look the other way. Black populations south of here come in large groups mostly on Sunday afternoon to do their shopping. But i see that there is always a group. When I was home nursing I went to a black compound south of here, all black. I got lost looking for my client and wow did everyone come out to the porches. My client loved me and told me that I'm the only nurse allowed from then on from my agency and that the whole town will know my vehicle and allow me entrance whenever I want now. It's not just in the deep south. It's really sad.
😥 That's beyond messed up. I haven't personally seen anything like that. Maybe I wasn't in rural areas enough or missed the terrorizing when it was happening, though. 🤷‍♀️ One county was pretty much like you describe in the 80s and 90s. Ironically, it's a slight majority black now. idk, maybe the new thing there is to gang up on Hispanic or Asian people, but I like to think people and places can change.
 

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How does an Orthodox church establish itself in Southern communities where darker skin, brown eyes, domes on churches, prostrations, and
accents all remind the locals of Muslims?
This really isn't true, in my experience. The only time I was told not to "look Muslim" was by a Catholic woman online worried about how I intended to wear my headcover. Otherwise, people here seem way too distracted by the ecclesiology, Mariology, and Sacraments to be worried about skin tone or architecture. Though it amuses me when someone occasionally tries to figure out what ethnicity I am. 🧐

Most often people contextualize Orthodoxy according the one Greek person apparently everyone knows. "Oh, the Greek Church. Yeah, my brother was married to a Greek woman for a while." Or something along those lines. If they're polite, the conversation ends there. If they're not, they try to unconvert me. Most people are polite. There's a lot of polite ignorance around here. There are hostile people, but it's a minority, and they don't all belong to one demographic.

But to answer your question, by existing and by outreach. Rinse, repeat. People will come who are seeking God. :)
 
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I guess the secular driven, melting pot, Americanization of the late 19th to 20th century ethic and the world wars helped the earlier diaspora assimilate somewhat easier. They actually had greater life hardships than today but that hardship was much more common & in a harsh way, alleviated some social conflict.

My paternal Syrian great grandparents & grandparents ( my grandparents came to America as children) had a hard life dealing with poverty but had the same ethnic tensions as the Irish, Slavs, Italians etc. My maternal, WASP grandfather initially rebuffed my Syrian grandparents ( although mellowed later) but my Welsh American grandmother was more welcoming. I think in America, in former times, there were plenty of problems but there was a common ideal. Now there is no common ideal and more carnage.
 

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😥 That's beyond messed up. I haven't personally seen anything like that. Maybe I wasn't in rural areas enough or missed the terrorizing when it was happening, though. 🤷‍♀️ One county was pretty much like you describe in the 80s and 90s. Ironically, it's a slight majority black now. idk, maybe the new thing there is to gang up on Hispanic or Asian people, but I like to think people and places can change.
Ugh I lied. I pulled up the wrong statistics. Irony will have to wait for another day. :confused:
 

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How does an Orthodox church establish itself in Southern communities where darker skin, brown eyes, domes on churches, prostrations, and
accents all remind the locals of Muslims?
I don't see the Muslim association in particular as a big deal because the Cross, the word Church, etc. make it clear that it isn't a mosque.
Further, Greeks and Arab Christians are going to come naturally. GOARCH has not been especially prone to outreach outside of the Greek community, but the Antiochian Church has been, and have lots of white converts. But I don't want to think in racial terms, but rather think inclusively. Someone who is big on racism probably would not usually be interested in Orthodoxy, and their animosity has tended more to be against Catholics. I wish EO churches had more African American members. The Catholic Churches, particularly in big cities, seem to do a relatively good job bringing together people across races and ethnicities.
 

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I don't see the Muslim association in particular as a big deal because the Cross, the word Church, etc. make it clear that it isn't a mosque.
Further, Greeks and Arab Christians are going to come naturally. GOARCH has not been especially prone to outreach outside of the Greek community, but the Antiochian Church has been, and have lots of white converts. But I don't want to think in racial terms, but rather think inclusively. Someone who is big on racism probably would not usually be interested in Orthodoxy, and their animosity has tended more to be against Catholics. I wish EO churches had more African American members. The Catholic Churches, particularly in big cities, seem to do a relatively good job bringing together people across races and ethnicities.
You kept bringing up the Confederacy and slavery, though. There are definitely bigots, and I at last intellectually understand that even one bad run-in will stick for a long time. I just am not sure there are more here vs. anywhere else. That's the premise I reject. The generation that can say their granddaddy died in the Civil War is dying, and more and more people seem to move here from other regions (and countries) every year. And you're right that the religious issue is bigger to most antagonists here than skin tone. That's particularly true of the Evangelical crowd.

My Greek experience was largely Greek people and their spouses, with a smattering of Eastern European. No black people. The handful of OCA & AANA parishes I've been to have had a few black members/attenders. For black believers, church is as much a cultural thing as it is for any white Protestant, and so you're potentially overcoming a few different things. A leader in the local black community actually said it's fine to be segregated on Sunday. Yet a local pastor of a black church wants to see more diversity in his church. 🤷‍♀️

It seems with most groups of people, it takes one or two people/families to brave being "the only one(s)," and eventually others in the same situation will come, feel like they're not alone, and be more likely to stick around longer. This is true of age groups, ethnicity, family makeup, income, etc. The key is for the parish to welcome and love everyone, which they're supposed to do anyway.
 
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I just am not sure there are more here vs. anywhere else. That's the premise I reject. The generation that can say their granddaddy died in the Civil War is dying, and more and more people seem to move here from other regions (and countries) every year. And you're right that the religious issue is bigger to most antagonists here than skin tone. That's particularly true of the Evangelical.
There is racial bigotry all over the world and all over America. If not, we would have seen a different display of power more equally distributed before our times. Today we see a sentimental reactionism in a religious like ferver of placing people of color and people of rainbow into key public offices in sort of a plugged-in flag that uses them as a poster child of pseudo equality without addressing the core poverty and lack of everyday opportunity for an equal playing field. Hand outs aren't doing anyone a favor and plugging in black or gay faces into posts doesn't create better schools and everyday equality in housing and job growth.

In the South and in more openly prejudice areas the rules are just laid out in black and white, excuse the pun. In areas where people display protests and alot of vocal display, things haven't changed enough to make a difference but those communities pat themselves on the back for their efforts to ease their conscience.
 

Stinky

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This orthodox church in the Ozarks, Missouri seems to have found some answers to outreach in the South.
 
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