New Survey Dispels Myths About 'God and Guns' Americans

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"God and Guns" is to simple a definition

It's all too easy to believe, from the sounds from the fringe about guns, and the conservative version of "Christianity," that both come from a Working Class milieu. The real problem, as Paul Fussell pointed out in his 1983 book, "CLASS: A Study of the American System of Social Status," is that we have way too big an illusion about the size of the "middle class" and way too small an illusion about the size of the "working class." The working class, people who work for hourly pay, who typically have to wear some kind of uniform when they work, and have to answer to decision-makers rather than being participants in decision-making, really constitutes about 60% of the population. The "Middle Class" which includes professionals, people who work in what HR people call "exempt" (from overtime pay!) occupations, and who more often than not get to participate in decision-making in their jobs, really only are about 30% of the working population.
Nor is the "working class" monolithic: it has its various subgroups and tiers of influence or sub-classes within the "working class." Paul Fussell called them "High Prole" (for proletariat), "Middle Prole," and "Low Prole."
The unpleasant truth, as I've studied our Methodist History, is that at least since 1850, and probably earlier, Methodism essentially abandoned ministry WITH the "working class" as it was contemporaneously defined at any given time in history. We became a denomination that reached out to the "settled," i.e., those who worked in towns, who bought and farmed (or otherwise used for economic purposes) land, and who were among the more educated of the population. We ministered TO the working class, offering them some of the same kinds of help (or non-help) that was offered to those to whom we sent our missionaries in foreign countries---but rarely did we organize to reach out to the non-land-owning, the non-employed, or those who worked for wages for others (except for a governmental body.)
It should not be a surprise that we truly do not understand the mindset of working class people, particularly when we expect our clergy to come from the class of persons who could afford to take a minimum of seven years of college and graduate school education. We simply don't think in the same terms.
Perhaps that is why we find it all too easy to think in terms of "God and Guns": that's merely the veneer---all that we actually see. Sad, isn't it.

Tom Griffith more than 9 years ago


This survey is very interesting, but the article title is misleading. How can the myth of "God and Guns" Americans be challenged without asking them about guns?

Sarah Caldwell more than 9 years ago