Several decades ago, I heard a very serious and learned person of the gospel (not sure who) say that Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals in the United States have a long history of drawing moral lines in the sand that Americans must not cross lest disaster ensue from on High. He went on to say that, since the slavery abolition movement in the 19th century, they have drawn all of those major lines in the wrong places. Another person decades ago remarked that fundie Christianity found its greatest success among groups of people one might describe as the economic underbelly or bottom feeders in American society. With the fundie resurgence of the 1970s, the children of these fundies were able to go to college on federal student grants and loans, and it looked as if all of fundiedom was rising economically. Indeed, some pundits even expressed the opinion that fundies surged towards the Republican Party because the dismal economic upheavals of the late 1970s frightened them and made them afraid that their long-held aspiration of one day becoming a top feeder might never occur—so in 1980 they rushed in to support the Republican Party, the American economic system, and all of their evils—just so they would be sure to get their cut of the pie.
But here is the thing about all of that. Has anyone ever wondered why the fundies are so heavily focused on what an old fundie church buddy of mine used to call “majoring in the minors?” They focus most of their attention on what you might call simple sins, many of which are manufactured sins rather than solid Biblical sins. “Lips that touch wine will never touch mine.” Boys and girls should not swim in the same water together. Musical instruments in church are evil. Dancing is a sin. The list of nonsense is at least two pages long. And oh my goodness, the vast amounts of physical and spiritual energy they invest in fighting against Mogen David and making sure a saxophone never makes it past a church door.
Why do they focus all that incredible energy on all of this simple-minded nonsense while the peoples of the Earth are engulfed in massive sins on a global scale—sins they should be against. Sins where they should actually be drawing some of their famous lines in the sand. How many of us have ever seen a Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical church on fire with anger at wealthy corporations who hoard vast sums of excess money while the poor just down the street from corporate headquarters sort through garbage dumpsters to find their daily meal? We know Jesus would have never ignored or endorsed such sinful behavior because of numerous things He said and did in the New Testament. Why do the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals turn into those famous monkeys: Hear No Evil, See No Evil, and Speak No Evil—and just look away? I have no answers. It baffles me. It truly does.