Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," practical advice on how to survive the coming American theocracy! We like to think of it as outrunning the Rapture.
This is the first of what will probably be a series of posts on how to apply the Appalachian model to Paganism in order to outlast another round of persecution. All of this is done with an immense hat tip to a scholar named Rodger Cunningham who wrote a book called Apples on the Flood: The Southern Mountain Experience.
First, here's what you can expect. In the American Theocracy, everyone who is not a Christian will be marginalized both economically and socially. The mainstream culture will adopt a paternalistic stance toward non-Christians, deeming them inferior in every respect. If possible, the Christian theocrats will designate fringe areas in which non-Christians will have to live, preferably along a border where these non-Christians will serve as a defensive buffer against hostile immigrants.
The non-Christians will accept these conditions, up to and including defending the periphery and acting like the inferior stereotype whenever the dominant culture is watching.
When the dominant culture isn't watching, the non-Christians, among themselves, will proudly tout their very ancient heritage and practice their chosen religions in extremely secretive ways. The isolation, economic hardship, and need for secrecy will cement this marginal culture together, give it backbone -- and a certain romantic aura that the dominant Christian culture will attempt (without success) to stifle.
All of this has happened to the Caucasian residents of Appalachia who descend from Lowland Scottish ancestors.
If you go back in time, even past the Celts, to very ancient Britain, Lowland Scotland was an urbane and prosperous place. It got run over again, and again, and again, and again. Somehow this group of people -- now called Scotch-Irish -- managed to maintain an identity separate from every culture that ran over it, even if the language changed.
Is it conceivable that a nation founded on secular principles could become a theocracy? Very.
Is it conceivable that people could be forcibly resettled and placed on reservations or in certain marginal geographical areas because they are "inferior" Pagans? Uh, Yup.
Is it conceivable that as a marginal culture the group will strengthen rather than weaken? Again, yes.
The moral of this sermon: Don't despair if the God police march you to a new hovel on the Rio Grande and call you an ignorant Pagan, now watch the border! It might look like you're some ignorant little insignificant wretch, but you know better.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
Cunningham, Rodger. Apples on the Flood: The Southern Mountain Experience. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1987.