In Southern Cross Christine Leigh Heyrman reveals the surprising paradox at the heart of America's "Bible Belt": how such currently conservative religions groups as the Southern Baptists and Methodists evolved out of an evangelical Protestantism that began with totally different social and political attitudes. Heyrman argues that evangelicalism did not flow rapidly into the religious vacuum created by the American Revolution, because southern whites of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were affronted by many aspects of early evangelical teaching and practice, including opposition to slaveholding, to class privilege, and to traditional ideals of masculinity; a lack of respect for generational hierarchy; the encouragement of women's public involvement in church affairs; and an insistence on spiritual intimacy with blacks. They felt threatened as well by the unsparing evangelical emphasis on sin, hell's torments, and Satan's wiles - and by the often wrenching experiences that accompanied conversion. What happened? What changed? How did the very religious groups that at first offended most white southerners eventually come to claim the soul of the South? Heyrman shows how, over the span of a century, the evangelicals came to be dominant in the region by deliberately changing their own "traditional values" and assimilating the conventional southern understandings of family relationships, masculine prerogatives, classic patriotism, and martial honor. In so doing, religious groups earlier associated with nonviolence and antislavery activity came to the defense of slavery and secession and the holy cause of upholding both by force of arms - and adopted the values that we now associate with the "Bible Belt".