I'm not entirely surprised. I'm not all that conversant with the red state culture, it's true. I've lived all my life either in New York City or some fifty miles away from it. We haven't gotten around much due to time, money and the fact that when we can go somewhere we tend to head to Western Massachusetts because couldn't possibly be a lot of better places to be in the world.
The closest we normally get to deep red is when we visit my mother-in-law in the Ocala area of purple Florida. The roadside billboards make fascinating reading for the uninitiated such as ourselves. Besides the ones touting tourist attractions the most ubiquitous by turns were huge ads for all manner of ultra-conservative Christian churches and Adult XXX diversions of one sort or another. That kind of says it all.
I think that you have to consider that one reason that red state social conservatives are the way they are is that they like it fine that way. The constant tension between sin and slavation can make every life a piece of epic poetry in a tortured sort of way. Can it be a coincidence that so much of the best American literature comes from the South? It could be all of a piece.