Covid-19 is proving that an unwillingness to listen to doctors and scientists can do great harm. Religious freedom and public health aren’t actually incompatible. But countering the anti-science bias that has become a stalking horse for the culture wars is crucial to creating better policies and allowing citizens to make the best possible choices for themselves and for society.
The problem with the south is Southern Baptists, who understand clearly that a good education — especially a science-based education — is fatal to their bumpkin superstitions, and so they’ve created and enforced a culture that disdains expertise. It’s known as the Bible Belt for a reason.