Northern Idaho hailed as promised land for religious and political conservatives

Source: GearedBull at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0 <https:// /licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the face of social and political polarization as well as the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, a segment of religious conservatives are pulling up stakes and moving to northern Idaho, a deep “red” state that is considered friendly to religion and traditional values, writes Tracy Simmons on the website Religion Unplugged (December 29). In the past, Idaho has been home to several far-right movements and leaders, but increasingly the state is drawing more mainstream religious conservatives. According to the U.S. Census, Idaho continues to be one of the fastest growing states, and with the pandemic that growth rate is climbing even faster. According to Gallup polls, Idaho was one of 19 “highly conservative” states in 2018, meaning that it had more conservatives than liberals by at least 20 percentage points. Simmons cites Kris Finch, a realtor who sells homes in both Washington and Idaho and sees a trend of families moving to the latter state for religious or political reasons. “I have had a handful of people wishing to move to the area. In fact, they had or have jobs in Washington, but wanted to purchase homes in Idaho to get away from the democratic politics of Washington,” she said, also noting that rural properties seem to be in demand all across the state due to its low rates of Covid-19 infection.

Finch added that in recent years she has sold a home to an anti-vaccination family from California and heard from several Washington residents looking to move to a Republican-run state. “Even though they seemed to believe Idaho would turn blue in the future,” she said of a recent client, “they felt that the laws were more in line with their views on weapons, required masks, etc., and wished to move to Idaho.” Simmons also cites a popular YouTube video of Kory Martinelli, of Live Better in North Idaho Real Estate, who said that he had moved his family to Coeur d’Alene from California in 2009 because of that state’s progressive politics. According to him, Californian politics and culture had threatened “our spiritual rights, our family values, our economic stability and our constitutional rights, especially the right to bear arms.” He added that “North Idaho is a conservative culture and it’s only growing more conservative with population growth…North Idaho is a direct contradiction to the theory that population growth turns communities liberal.”

(Religion Unplugged,