Can the church and South Dakota keep her?

University of Sioux Falls student Dannika Nash points to the hopeful example of 5,000 young people in Sioux Falls cheering marrige equality:

I got to go to the Macklemore concert on Friday night. If you want to hear about how that went, ask me, seriously, I want to talk about it until I die. The whole thing was great; but the best part was when Macklemore sang “Same Love.” Augustana’s gym was filled to the ceiling with 5,000 people, mostly aged 18-25, and decked out in thrift store gear (American flag bro-tanks, neon Nikes, MC Hammer pants. My Cowboy boyfriend wore Cowboy boots…not ironically….). The arena was brimming with excitement and adrenaline during every song, but when he started to play “Same Love,” the place about collapsed. Why? While the song is popular everywhere, no one, maybe not even Macklemore, feels its true tension like we do in Sioux Falls, South Dakota....

Before the song, Macklemore spoke really simple words along the lines of: “Hey, you can all have your own opinions on how we treat gay people in this country, but this is mine.” And I held my breath in anticipation of some kind of uproar or walk-out…but the crowd cheered louder than they had yet. In our red state, in our conservative little city, the 5,000 young people in that arena wanted to hear about marriage equality [Dannika Nash, "An Open Letter to the Church from My Generation," blog, 2013.04.07].

Nash reacts to the "hateful preaching" she's heard in her church upbringing. She says that hateful preaching drives 70% of twenty-somethings away from church.

Nash also points to a techno-cultural phenomenon that could keep those young people from leaving conservative South Dakota:

So many of us were brought up in churches and Christian homes, and even if we weren’t, we’ve experienced the traditional Christian culture that just resonates from South Dakota’s prairie land. We know conservatism; we know tradition. But we also have Twitter, we watch SNL, we listen to Macklemore, and we read Tina Fey. We’re more in touch with the rest of the country than the Midwest has ever been. Some of us love the church and some of us hate it, but there aren’t too many people for whom it’s irrelevant [Nash, 2013.04.07].

There's an interesting question: if modern media technology can help South Dakotans feel more connected with a more tolerant national culture, will that give their progressive values enough reinforcement to make living in conservative-soaked South Dakota bearable? Or will that ever-increasing exposure to the big world out there simply entice them all the more quickly to the bluer climes where they can enjoy the better-than-Twitter huggable company of like-minded neighbors?