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IRONY ALERT: Providence, R.I. is Going to Hell
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Prov·i·dence (n.) ˈprä-və-dən(t)s, -ˌden(t)s -- Divine guidance or care coming from God. 

I imagine when the City of Providence, nestled inside the Lilliputian state of Rhode Island, was founded by the early colonists in 1636, the name of the city meant something. In fact, I'll bet it meant everything. These were settlers coming from a distant far land, embarking on an journey that would take them to God-knows-where. Only, when they landed, the settlers said, "God did know where — and this is the place." Because of that epiphany, they named the place "Providence." Sweet, right? 

Yeah, to hell with all that if you have seen the latest poll by Time magazine (via the American Bible Society), which noted Providence, R.I. as "the most godless city in America.

How do you celebrate something like that, anyway? Encourage all your denizens to act out that recent hedonistic film "The Purge?" Kind of this "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" mentality, only in Providence, the residents don't want God's help, apparently. In fact, they would be just fine if sweet baby Jesus and Santa Claus would just passover ...wait, can't say that ...um, would just go straight to Boston. At least there are a gaggle of Catholics that will welcome the Messiah with open arms. Only one problem; Boston is No. 98 on the list! Out of 100. And Providence/New Bedford DMA was No. 100 on this infidel list.

The study defines “Bible-mindedness” as a combination of how often respondents read the Bible and how accurate they think the Bible is. “Respondents who report reading the bible within the past seven days and who agree strongly in the accuracy of the Bible are classified as ‘Bible Minded,’” says the study’s methodology.

So, how do you apply crisis communications to this blotch of Sodom on what is now known as "The Creative Capitol"? Is there enough spin in the dry cycle to get out of this mess, or if you were the PIO for the city, do you just embrace it and invite the monikers? Is this really the city where the joke becomes true: "What do atheists say during sex? Oh, oh, oh, I'm not convinced of your existence!" Who knows. I would say God only knows, but since that wouldn't fly in this instance, I'll just focus my efforts to the Talent Zoo readers in the greater Chattanooga metropolis. 

You guessed it — numero uno, and the home of another joke, "A priest, street preacher and a Rabbi all walk into a bar..." 

At least there, you know it's a possibility. 

   

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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