What Makes A Fundamentalist?
It seems to me that I often ruffle the feathers of Christian supporters, friends and relatives with my articles on human rights, gay rights, feminism and religious fundamentalism.
In speaking out against the frequent attacks on human rights which undeniably comes predominantly out of the Christian fundamentalist quarter, it seems that spelling out the FUNDAMENTALIST or EXTREMIST part is not helping much. People just seem to see the world "Christian" and jump to the conclusion that "oh, she's hammering the Christians again. She must really hate them."
People accuse me of being anti-Christian, anti-God and anti-religious freedom - which makes no sense to me whatever. I am none of those things - and oddly enough, the people accusing me of these things are often NOT EVEN FUNDAMENTALISTS! Yet, for some reason, THEIR feelings are hurt and they are somehow offended by the undeniable truth that some people who claim to be Christians just aren't very nice people, and are doing some really unpleasant things and then blaming it on their deity or religious teachings.
Can't you read, people? Or does this misunderstanding arise because you don't understand the difference between a Christian - an ordinary, practicing Christian, and a Christian FUNDAMENTALIST?
If you don't know whether you are a moderate or an extremist, then let me tell you buddy - you have problems. If you start going out on the street to wave a bible in the air or shout intimidating messages over a megaphone at people - or campaigning to turn people into criminals simply for how they are born - the chances are fairly good that you're an extremist.
Let me lay it out for you. A Christian is a person like Bishop Tutu, or Rev. George Irvine, or ordinary folk like Auntie May next door, who cares about people, has faith in Christ and lives as close to the teachings of Christ as possible. They are generally people who do no harm to others, and in fact reach out in love to others around them. If they don't agree with you, they will still love you, or leave you alone - they won't try to beat you to a pulp or turn you into a criminal or deprive you of your humanity for it.
Many of my friends are Christians - and although some of them do not actually "agree" with what I am (as if that would make any difference to me being what I am), they freely admit it is not their place to judge me. In short, they leave my spiritual welfare up to me - and they do not try to force their views on me as the Christian FUNDAMENTALISTS do.
It is my view that if more people - and more people who identify themselves as Christians - were to live like the above, the world would be a far, far better place for all to live in.
Christian FUNDAMENTALISTS by a stark contrast, are fanatical bible-punching "revivalist" preachers like Angus Buchan, Errol Naidoo, Ray Mc Caulley and Peter Hammond, who see it as their appointed task in life to say "no!" to women, gays, trannies, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, Wiccans, animal rights groups, porn, casino's, liquor licenses, businesses opening on Sundays, free press, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of religion, marriage equality, secularism - and in fact, anyone they think are not good people, or "good Christians", point fingers at and call them a "threat" to their faith.
Aside from the above, they are also generally gun-nuts, home-schoolers, avid fascists, survival fundies and death penalty promoters - especially for "major crimes" like homosexuality. They also tend to virtually ignore the New Testament in favor of the Old, which means the FUNDAMENTALS they cling to, are not even the right ones to actually define them as "Christian". They generally tend to espouse a message of hatred and intolerance over love and tolerance and peace - sowing instead distrust, paranoia and wilful ignorance in their wake.
For the past seventeen years, Christian FUNDAMENTALISTS, in groups like the ACDP, the CDA, Christian Action Network and numerous others - have been fighting against, protesting and petitioning every single human rights gain and protection that came up in recent South African history. They opposed the new SA Constitution because at the time the New South Africa came along, the religious right were trying very hard to pass stricter "morality" laws and would give the police increased power to be used against gay and trans people in South Africa.
They oppose hate crimes laws, because they see gay and trans people being included in the same protective laws as them as an unnecessary concession giving "special rights" to people whom they hate and would like to go on victimizing. They oppose marriage equality - because they forget that they do not own the concept of God, religion or marriage and that marriage is a matter of CIVIL LAW, not religion.
For a more detailed account on the activities of international Christian FUNDAMENTALISTS and EXTREMISTS, look here and here to see what they have been up to IN YOUR NAME in Uganda and other parts of Africa.
You should know by now, that when Christian FUNDAMENTALISTS claim they are Christians, or acting on behalf of ALL Christians, THEY are the ones who do not DIFFERENTIATE between EXTREMISTS and MODERATES.
Christian FUNDAMENTALISTS are the sort who try very hard and long to rub out the line between church and state and to replace the Constitution with an extremist understanding of the bible - which will leave absolutely no room for human rights at the Inn. Get it?
So now, if you still think that when I speak about Christian FUNDAMENTALISTS that I refer to all Christians, and especially moderate Christians - hopefully this will finally get the message across to all that I am NOT. If you still don't know which group you are standing with, it isn't my fault. That is something only you can decide for yourself.
So perhaps instead of getting all offended when people speak out against the activities of some people calling themselves Christian - by your name, and by the name of your God, while being blatantly extremist or FUNDAMENTALIST about claiming to speak for you and ALL other Christians and generally dragging the name and image of your faith, your God and your religion into the mud - then you shouldn't be blaming the people who have been hammered and victimised by them for standing up and crying "foul!"
No - you should wipe the sleep out of your eyes, clear your throat - and stand up to give them a resounding smack upside the head and tell them to sit the hell down and STFU.
Silence, as you may know - gives consent - and I will not be silent any longer. The day I fall silent in the face of oppression and human rights abuses, my friends - is the day you may be certain I shall never speak again.
Otherwise, for the rest of you - if the shoe fits, wear it.
(Posted at Sour Grapes)