Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Election Day-- or Why Fundamentalists Can't Take No for an Answer

Today is Election Day in my home state, Kentucky. I have very many fundamentalist and self-described evangelical friends who are part of that true and righteous fold, the Republican Party-- you know, God's party. Me? Well, I must confess, I am a low-down, unrepentant Democrat. Still, even though I get to go (actually, I all ready went at 7 AM) and exercise my right to speak my peace at the voting booth, I'm a bit down. Hillary is heavily favored to win the Democratic primary ( by an estimated 27-30 percentage points, but we'll see about that), but she's not my choice. To much sleaze factor with the Clintons, just too much. Nope, I cast my vote for Barak. This is the first time in a good long while I haven't be voting for the lesser of two evils. I really like Barak and think he is an honest politician. There aren't many of those around


Wait a minute now, you say, this whole deal here is supposed to be devoted to fundamentalism. Okay, okay! Enough political commercials. On to THE MAIN POINT. Today the main point deals with the fundamentalist/evangelical conundrum. They are stuck, and they can't help it. One of the main tenets of their faith is that they must convert the world. Yet, in their efforts, they just turn folks off. Usually they aren't satisfied with just converting the world to Christianity. For them, conversion implies turning to fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity. That's because, from their perspective, other varieties are not real Christianity. They wouldn't (and couldn't) settle for making Episcopalians or liberal Presbyterians. For them, that is just not the real McCoy. One must believe every word of the Bible and walk the "sawdust trail" to really get right with God.

They are concerned about morality, about (their version of) bringing folks to Christ and getting our country back to God. "Dub-U" was their candidate after all. Never mind that he has practically destroyed the public schools, the economy, and the constitution. He has deceptively led us down a path that has lead to war, a war that the new "Dub-U" wants to last for 100 years. He has cost the US thousands of young lives, over a hundred thousand seriously wounded, and killed, and at a low-ball estimate, at least 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties (upper estimates place the number at 3 times that, but them the army has stated that they don't count such things). Still, he is the darling of the Religious Right. Never mind the killing, the suffering, and the poverty he has led the US and the rest of the world into. Never mind that it will take 50 years to undo the damage he has done to America's image around the world. Never mind that he has changed our policy to one of preemptive war. The important thing is that he is against gay marriage and abortion rights.

I won't argue those points because I use them by way of illustration. We suffer, the world suffers, under the reign of a rogue president so that the fundamentalists can make sure that the are making all of the rest of us moral. They are deceptive about it all too. A right-wing Christian in my son's car pool was part of a campaign in Indiana to get conservative Republicans to vote Democratic in the primary and to cast a vote for Hillary because they thought she'd be easier for "Bush II" to beat. Many fundamentalist leaders, such as Pat Robertson, have connections, past and presents, to groups that support Christian Reconstructionism.

Christian Reconstructionism is the brainchild of the late R. Rushdooney. The idea is to replace our current laws with the Biblical laws found in the Torah, and other parts of the Bible. In their view, homosexuality won't be debated. We'll solve that problem by just killing homosexuals. Disobedient children will be killed. Abortion doctors will be killed. Those engaging in premarital or extramarital sexual relations will be killed. (Does it seem to you that a lot of killing is going on here?) Still, with the recent moral failings of leaders of the fundamentalist/evangelical world that have come to light (Ted Haggard, president of the NAE, for example), there may have to be a few exclusionary clauses in the law.

You see, fundamentalist leaders stir up the rank and file adherents to a devotion many of them lack themselves. Then, the rank and file can't take no for an answer. They really believe that they are being loving and caring. They really are trying to save our souls. They really are trying to save our nation. The sad part is that they just can't take "not interested" for an answer. Sadly they feel they must obtain by coercion what they cannot obtain by attraction. As to the Christian Right politicians and politics, I think the world and our nation have had about all of that that we can take.

For more about fundamentalism, its history, goals, and subculture, visit www.therecoveringfundamentalist.com . Read about my new book and read an excerpt from the Introduction.

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