When Miss Maudie shows her disgust with "foot-washing Baptists," is she putting down all Baptists or a particular point of view?
Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird"
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In chapter V of "To Kill a Mockingbird," Miss Maudie speaks with Scout about people who "take the Bible literally" and those who misuse the words of the Bible: "sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of [a good man]." Thus, the main point of Miss Maudie's attack is upon the hypocrisy of people who are themselves petty and uncharitable, unloving and mean, yet sanctimonious in their attitudes. They accuse others of sinning when they themselves are not good Christians. Like their Calvinist ancestors, whom Hawthorne portrayed in the Puritan colony of "The Scarlet Letter," the "foot-washing Baptists," whom Miss Maudie makes synonymous with sanctimonious hypocrites, simply hide their own sins, while presuming to pass judgment upon others.
In the South where this novel is set, the Baptist Church is very prevalent, and in a small town such as Maycomb, this religion would be the dominant one. Miss Maudie directs her criticism towards the "foot-washing Baptists" as religious extremists and representatives of the people who are sanctimonious, selecting certain literal words of the Bible that suit their intents. Miss Maudie is probably not as familiar with hypocrites of other faiths, either.
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