Here in the Deep South, of course, bible-thumpers are prominent. You can rarely get away from them.

I, personally, have no problem with them. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, period. However, most people don't seem to understand that, and arguments will often ensue.

Whenever this situation arises, I consider it my duty to deflate the tension as much as I can. The following tactics are useful.

Of course, when you look like I did in college, just joing the preacher's side is enough. There's an element of the bizarre in seeing a pierced, mohawked, bearded fat man arguing in favor of hard-line religion. It tends to take the wind out of one's sails.

Okay, so the important thing to remember is never take up a specifically antagonistic standpoint. It's your job to make everyone look silly, not get embroiled in some ridiculous argument.

That's it. Use your imagination, and have fun.