As we enter Lent on Wednesday, a season to reflect and repent as Christians anticipate Easter, a personal finance website looked at the deadly sins and ranked U.S. states in order of sinfulness.
Probably few people are surprised that Louisiana came in at No. 7. Some may say they are shocked the state finished so low in the wallethub.com survey of "Most Sinful States in America."
The list is not in the Bible. Pope Gregory the Great (pope from 590 to 604 A.D.) is credited with coming up with it, and then, in the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas developed what became the modern concept of the deadly sins.
The seven deadly sins are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. They are considered deadly because Christians thought they had the power to kill the divine spirit in people.
These were popular topics in the arts during the Middle Ages in Europe. The sins and their consequences would be the subjects of morality plays, literature and art, including Dante’s “Inferno” and Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” It's said Dante is why the list has had such staying power.
In a summary of its findings, WalletHub points out that “sins” wind up being costly across society. For instance, gambling costs the U.S. $5 billion a year, and smoking $300 billion a year, it said.
“Harmful behavior on the individual level can add up to staggering economic costs on a national scale,” the website reports.
WalletHub says it used 47 indicators of immorality to determine the “sinfulness.”
Louisiana’s highest sin rankings were the No. 2 spots for "Anger and Hatred," "Excesses and Vices" and "Laziness."
Indicators used to determine levels of "Anger and Hatred" included violent crime rates, sex offenders, bullying, hate crimes and more.
"Excesses and Vices" looked at the number of obese adults, fast-food restaurants per capita, excessive drinking and use of tobacco, coffee, marijuana and other drugs as well as debt.
"Laziness" included adults who don't exercise, the number of hours worked, time spent watching TV, graduation rates and volunteer time.
Other categories that kept Louisiana near the top were "Lust" (we came in at No. 4), and "Jealousy" (No. 11).
The state’s lowest scores — we ranked 35th — were for both "Greed" and "Vanity."
The states that were more sinful than Louisiana are, in order, Nevada, Texas, Florida, California, Georgia and Tennessee.
Of course, Louisiana’s best known time of excess is Carnival season. WalletHub pulled together a Mardi Gras infographic (find it at wallethub.com/blog/mardi-gras-facts/31999/) to show the reach of the large party.