If you're looking for someplace new to live, or to pack up the kids for a family vacation, you won't find a better list of potential destinations than the one that Glenn Beck is promoting. On his radio program this morning (video below) he ranked what he called "cities to avoid like the plague," saying that "These are the cities that you do not want to live anywhere around as things get worse and worse."
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It is a perpetual oddity that people who profess to be patriots with a worshipful regard for America's exceptionalism (aka American Supremacy) are so ready to condemn large swaths of the nation they pretend to love. The lucky locales that made this list are...
- 15) St. Louis
- 14) Washington, DC
- 13) Minneapolis-St. Paul
- 12) Las Vegas
- 11) Milwaukee
- 10) Los Angeles
- 9) Boston
- 8) Detroit
- 7) Columbus, Ohio
- 6) St. Petersburg, Florida
- 5) Phoenix
- 4) Denver
- 3) Seattle
- 2) San Francisco
- 1) Portland, Oregon
The criteria Beck used came from a study by the Public Religion Research Institute that ranked the top three "religious traditions" (which includes religiously unaffiliated) in major metropolitan areas. Naturally, Beck's ranking consists of the cities with the highest percentage of unaffiliated residents. It is Beck's opinion that these dens of iniquity will suffer disproportionately when God unleashes his wrath upon the sinners of the world, which is due any day now.
The lunacy of this outburst (setting aside the imminent terrorism of an angry God) is that many of those same cities are also bastions of devout religiosity. In most of them the believers far outnumber the alleged heathens. And Beck doesn't take into account that the unaffiliated group is not comprised exclusively of atheists. It also includes believers who simply do not associate themselves with a particular flavor of faith.
What's more, Beck limited his list to fifteen cities, ending with St. Louis whose percentage of unaffiliated is twenty-two. That also happens to be the percentage for the nation as a whole. So if St. Louis is doomed, so are the rest of us. And Beck conveniently left out that his own home in Dallas is 18% unaffiliated, only a few points lower than St. Louis. In fact, if Beck had not arbitrarily stopped with fifteen cities, Dallas would have shown up at #24, easily within the range of doom. [Note: Also not on the list is the imaginary holy city Beck proposed to build, Independence, USA]
The good news is that if Beck's deranged travel guide serves any purpose it is that the cities in it will be blessedly free of apocalyptic evangelists frightening away visitors and residents. The fewer followers of Glenn Beck that are in any city, the better off that city will be. So hopefully his disciples will take heed of his warning and stay from the listed cities. And that will certainly be cause for those cities to celebrate. Here's hoping your city is on the list.