Understanding Redneck Theology The term "redneck" is often misunderstood
by those north of the Mason-Dixon line. Many Yankees misunderstand this beloved term of endearment and treat the word as if
it were some kind of insult. A true Southerner understands that achieving the state of Redneck is a noble pursuit. The guiding
principles of Redneck philosophy are easily
misunderstood by outsiders, so let's take a closer look at the goals of those
who strive for the state of Redneck.
The Redneck Theology
being a "real" Redneck means much more than driving
a pick-up truck and naming your dog Bubba. Rather, a true Redneck does not feel the need to impress people with the outward
trappings of their Redneck lifestyle and is perfectly comfortable in an Armani suit and BMW.
Without trying to sound
too much like Jeff Foxworthy (a great comedian, but a tad misinformed about Redneck theology), let me try to explain the basic
tenets of achieving a state of Redneck:Sense of inner Peace - The true Redneck is at-peace with the world. They always feel
safe (not just because they have guns in every room of their home), and they are not concerned with what others may think
of their Redneck lifestyle.
* High sense of Duty and Honor - A true Redneck will defend their Sacred Honor and will
not tolerate those who disparage their families, traditions or loved-ones. Many a surprised New Yorker has pondered this while
visiting the Emergency Room after flipping-off a Redneck.
* Disregard for Time - A true Redneck does not respect man-made
timelines and lives life one day at a time. A true redneck may put a car up on-blocks for a decade before restoring it.
Disregard for man-made Mores - A true Redneck will follow their tastes and desires without regard for social customs and "appropriate"
behavior. Because the Redneck is not constrained by outsider opinions and Madison Avenue dictates about taste, they are free
to embrace whatever they like without guilt or remorse.
* Honors their Ancestors - A real redneck know details about
every one of their ancestors who fought in the Civil War and American Revolution. An ardent patriot, a true redneck will always
fly the Star Spangled Banner right above the Stars and Bars on every national holiday. A true redneck will also participate
in ware reenactments as a way of honoring the redneck sacrifices of their ancestors.
* Eschews wealth - My cousin
Sara-Ruth lives on land with a massive garden and all of her own livestock. She even has a banana tree and the only things
she buys are sugar and coffee. Her house and property were paid for centuries ago when our great-great-great Grand-daddy Aaron
Burleson received it from the Continental Congress, thanking him for fighting in the American Revolution. They live a simple
and free life with none of the conventional worries about money and impressing the Jones's.
Living around rednecks
has had a profound effect on my way of looking at life. I once visited a cousin in my fancy new car and made what Rednecks
Theologists call the "sin of pride" when I mentioned that my new car costs me a fortune. In good humor he pointed over to
a giant farm tractor and said "Wall, I'm impressed. See that reaper over there? She cost me over $200,000, I paid cash money,
and I reckon only take her out a few weeks a year". Man, did I feel humbled in the presence of such profound Redneck wisdom,
and I never bragged to anyone again.
Sure, the tenets and promises of the Redneck Theology seem like unachievable goals, but I'm told that with years of conscientious
study and practice, a true state of Redneck is achievable, even for a sinner like me.
March 5, 2004 - Donald K. Burleson