Unnamed Baptists and Methodists

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Unnamed Baptists and Methodists
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Unnamed Baptists and Methodists
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The novel's narrators refer in several ways to the morally self-righteous members of the community. They can be found among the Presbyterian and Episcopal congregations in Yoknapatawpha, but Baptists and Methodists are the county's principal white Protestant groups. Charles notes, for example, that "ours was a town founded by Aryan Baptists and Methodists" (320; Faulkner may have meant 'Arian Baptists,' but if "Aryan" is deliberate, he is presumably using the adjective to mean 'white' or even 'white-supremacist'). What he means by "Baptists and Methodists" is clearer when he says later that even "the most Methodist and Baptist of the Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians - all right, Episcopals too" can occasionally be "kind" (357). The novel, however, does not stress their compassion, but their lack of it. What Ratliff means by "our good God-fearing upright embattled christian Jeffersons and Yoknapatawphas" (368) is the same as what Montgomery Ward Snopes, the local pornographer, means by "the God-fearing christian holy citizens of Jefferson" (172): people who are very willing to cast the first stone.

CUT: At one point Gavin refers to them as "Aryan Baptists and Methodists"; there is no "Aryan Baptist" denomination, so Gavin is presumably using the term "Aryan" in its ideological sense, as a racist way to distinguish a superior "white" race from others, and probably intends it to reflect another aspect of the self-righteousness of these Christians who claim to speak for God's truth and to be able condemn others in His name.
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