Nancy Ammerman is professor of sociology of religion at Boston University.
As a kid in Missouri, I was a Baptist. In Missouri that meant not only that I belonged to an important church but that I was on the right side of the great eternal divide, ready to defend my salvation against the other contenders around me. When my family moved to Arizona, Baptists were perceived differently: we were the tail end of white evangelizers who hoped to bring faith and education to the Native American and Mexican laborer population. In southern California, our next stop, people thought we were from Texas and thought of us as one more exotic breed on the Pacific shores.