Flannery O’Connor is correct that there is a haunted christness in the Southern United States. There are churches everywhere. Even the drunks who stop me in the street hitting me up for money quote scripture. Our bias and prejudices are couched in religious language and supported by proof-texts and cultural interpretation.
The racial history of this region to our shame was complicated and retarded by the Church and the most segregated hour of the week is mid-morning on Sunday. Racism is not a gift of the Spirit.
We are haunted by the Christ made in our own image. However this idol is not the only icon we share. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter sent by the Christ, is working among us to loosen the dried scabs of the past healing the old wounds that haunt us.
We live in hope among the haunted.
While the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.
Flannery O’Connor “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction” 1960