Thoughts and Perspectives

Toward an Explanation of Fundamentalism and Freaking Out over Equality

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Religious fundamentalism was born, as was the contemporary Republican Party (although not conservatism – we can’t mix the two), in opposition to reforms during the Liberal Consensus. Most, if not all, of this opposition was directed at opposing equality for those racialized as Black.

The contemporary church and its leaders, with at least some important exceptions and the number of exceptions has been growing (see Mark Sandlin’s blog, for example), has long opposed various notions of equality, science and intellectualism, various points of view, and true adherence to separation of church and state.

I saw one comment where someone said, it was never about getting religion out of the government, only government out of religion. Meaning that Fundamentalist Christianity should influence the State, but not the other way around. Separating the two is, for sure, hard.

Regarding marriage equality in particular, at least a handful of vocal Fundamentalist Christians are being very vocal about so-named “religious liberty laws.” Texas has just today decreed that clerks or judges who “sincerely disagree” with equality, can break the law. This line of thinking doesn’t make sense, of course. People cannot use their religion and beliefs to prohibit women or not pay their taxes, for example. And it ignores the rights, the sincerely held rights, of those who wish to marry, to be treated equally. Once again, the “religious liberty laws” only apply if you are in the status quo.

What about my sincerely held belief that equality should be the law and people who oppose it have to dance in the street until they are happy?? 🙂 

So why the hate? Why the opposition to equality and freedom, again and again and again when it enters the national spotlight? 

While it is easy to analyze such opposition in terms of willful ignorance or aggressive ignorance, it’s much more complex. People are largely products of their society, even parts of their biology and DNA are products of society. 

Perhaps a few reasons help explain the hate. 

Some are that Fundamentalist Christians are raised in a culture, in a church where:

1) “every” action they take will determine whether they go to Heaven or Hell forever;

2) “every” action they take or their society takes (etc) could affect whether their children and grandchildren go to Heaven or Hell forever;

3) they live in a “dangerous” world where they have to look out for themselves and their family far before anyone else;

4) as “saved” individuals they are told they are part of an elite group of humans among all the billions who have lived;

5) that they can be punished for the “sins” of others, “sins” that could bring about the destruction of the Universe (I mean “Earth”);

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6) “eating” from the the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (read: learning, thinking, questioning) is what brought about the worst punishment on humanity ever; 

7) almost everything is a “sin,” especially human nature; 

8) LGBT people were deliberately painted as the lowest of low for much of the mid-to-late 1900s, see, e.g., Boys Beware and CBS Reports The Homosexuals. In most cases, this was done by churches and the media and the government knowing they were only promoting unfounded fear. Thus, some of today’s adults were brainwashed as children. (Is religion child abuse?)

In sum, learning, changing, accepting difference, accepting that you’ve been lied to makes it hard, if not impossible, to internalize and overcome hate. 

Thoughts? 

 (Added 6/28/15, 9:57 pm, for a somewhat parallel perspective, see, “The Supreme Court Just Gave American Evangelicals a Gift“)  

6 replies »

  1. I used to oppose homosexual lifestyle, but today I rather focus on other critical issues in our country such as ISIS, the economy, and affordable insurance. LGBT people can do whatever they want with their personal lives. It is not my position to judge their lifestyle or belief system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. “Lifestyle” is always a funny concept – my lifestyle consist of sleeping, eating, and teaching/reading/writing. 🙂

      For sure, there are so many very important urgent issues in our world.

      Like

  2. I think you may be underplaying the anti-feminist component of religious fundamentalism and mainstream conservativism, which is immensely important in understanding their opposition to changing concepts of marriage and acceptance of homosexuality.

    Liked by 1 person

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