Bible Bashing Crime

Alabama mayor Larry Langford has been accused of not doing enough to fight crime.

So what does he do?

Increase spending to law enforcement? Support crime prevention measures and awareness? Find ways to reduce demonstrable catalysts for crime like poverty, failures in public education, joblessness, and housing?

No, nothing so mundane or worldly. The Mayor of Birmingham boldly boasts of biblical brawn. He handed out 5,000 bibles in both English and Spanish to attendees of a family summit on April 4th.

“He is the only source of protection you’ve got. I make no apologies for it. I serve a good God and I’m glad He found me.”

Think I’m kidding? Watch the video.

Actually, the move is politically brilliant. He’s a failure at crime prevention and protecting his constituency and clueless of how to accomplish realistic and rational goals in this endeavor. By invoking God and playing to the superstitions of the voters, he makes himself appealing and difficult to criticize by anyone that runs against him. After all, he has God on his side, right?

Some interesting figures:

There are 1332 churches listed in the “SuperPages” for Birmingham, Alabama.

There are 229,424 people in Birmingham, AL according to Wikipedia.

There are 311 churches in listed in the “SuperPages” for Madison, WI.

There are 223,389 people in Madison, WI according to Wikipedia.

Birmingham, Alabama and Madison, Wisconsin are roughly the same size cities according to Wikipedia and yet the difference in number of churches according to SuperPages is roughly 1000! Not a scientific comparison, but a rough one that serves a purpose.

Now, what is the comparison of crime between the two cities?


Conclusion: Bibles and religion aren’t working.

Edit: the above graph can be found at, Crime Rate Comparison: Birmingham Vs. Madison. Check it out… compare your own city to the city you’re planning to move to, etc.


6 Responses

  1. Nice post. Another way to think about the statistics you provided: there’s one church for every 172 people in Birmingham and one church for every 718 people in Madison.

    I’m not sure that the mayor’s move is politically brilliant, but it’s certainly (IMO) a way to present himself to the superstitious people he leads as a leader who is doing something positive to bring about change in a sinful city. You are correct in noting that it’s difficult for opponents to criticize him without appearing to be anti-religious.

    One note about your graph. I love the idea, but it would be helpful if you had numeric indexes of the scale along the edges. I can see vast difference between the colored bars, but I have no clue what numbers are represented by the bars and thus no clue as to the actual relationships between the bars.

  2. […] ylooshi writes: Actually, the move is politically brilliant. He’s a failure at crime prevention and protecting […]

  3. The site I got the graph from did include a table of actual numbers, and I meant to include a link crediting the site but forgot. I’ll see if I can find it again… you might like it since it allows you to city-to-city comparisons of crime rates then presents the graphical/statistical results.

  4. And here’s the link -I’ll edit the post to include it as well: Crime Rate Comparison: Birmingham Vs. Madison

  5. Thanks for finding the link and updating the post.

  6. […] posts on an atheist blog, here on, called “Breaking Spells.” One post, Bible Bashing Crime, contains some interesting statistics that would seem to show an direct positive correlation […]

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