IMPORTANT NOTE: On this blog, we often use the noun or adjective term fundie (or fundies) to refer to Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism or Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. It is not used in a pejorative or expletive sense in order to demean these belief systems or the individuals who adhere to them. It is used strictly as an abbreviation to save time, wear on typing fingers, and the tediousness of having to write out such long primary terms repeatedly. No offense is intended by their use.
This new blog is an opinion center devoted to open criticism of Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and the so-called Religious Right in the United States. Why are we so critical of them? Here are just a few among many good reasons:
1) From its beginnings in the Great Lakes Region of the United States in the early 20th century, Christian fundamentalism declared itself to be in open and militant worldwide warfare with all nonfundamentalist Christian denominations, nonfundamentalist Christian churches, and nonfundamentalist Christian individuals. They consider these denominations, churches, and individuals who follow Jesus Christ to be apostate. The term apostate refers to all those who have turned away from what the fundies regard as the “true” Christian faith (their exclusive religious viewpoint) and who have by so doing become the enemies of God. Simply put, Christian fundamentalists consider themselves to be soldiers in a war against all sin in the world, sinful men and women (everyone but them), and all the rest of Christianity on planet Earth.
2) Christian fundamentalism fills its devout followers with extraordinary spiritual pride and arrogance. They consider themselves to be God’s “T-I Double Gr-r-r-r-r-er!!!”—and just like Tigger—they are his only one. They tend to be nice to people when they are trying to woo them into their fold, but when people refuse to be further wooed or to enter their fold, their soft boxing gloves often come off—and these people become just plain mean. Their social currency in dealing with human beings outside of their own religious circles is incessant anger and hatred. Consequently, in social environments where they are totally free to be themselves, they tend to be narcissistic, conceited, self-righteous, condescending, hateful, and mean-spirited. Many enjoy demeaning people, being abusive to people, and tearing people to shreds emotionally and psychologically. Bullying and shunning of outsiders who do not follow after the religious tunes they pipe are fairly common. I once knew a highly educated Christian fundamentalist who regularly referred to nonfundamentalist human beings as mere “worms.” To further illustrate this overall point, check out the following quotation from televangelist Pat Robertson:
“You say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.” (The 700 Club on January 14, 1991)
3) Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are consumed by a focus on saving the Bible from destruction, obedience to Biblical law, human failure to obey Biblical law (sin), an Old Testament God who spends all his time filled with anger at mankind because of its sins, and a God who seeks vengeance against mankind as payback for these sins. They are driven in all they do by an incessant, jelly-quavering fear of this angry and vengeful God who they claim to love, but more often than not, they behave as if this God is the great child abuser in the sky. Their job here on Earth is to do everything within their power to save themselves and other people from Daddy’s final spell of rage (just like the many spells before it) and the inevitable violent beatings and cigarette burnings that always come with it. This is viewed as an Emergency Rescue Operation under severe time constraints: “You gotta believe like me now and get to my church now—before its too late—before time runs out tonight!!!” Because they believe in a God of incessant anger and vengeance, they tend to minimize the importance of the God of Love that pervades the New Testament. To them, love is primarily the God-provided opportunity for a few humans to get saved from Daddy’s rage and Hell (that awful torture closet He stuffs the children in forever).” In their minds, the emergency rescue is the end of God’s love and very close to the end of any responsibility they have for being loving toward their fellow man. If some poor man freezes to death in the gutter on a cold winter night, who really cares? The only important thing was to get him a quick fire insurance policy before he died. Little true love. Even less kindness and mercy—and except for a little lip service and minimalist action—screw those Jesus called “the least of these”—and show you mean it by voting Republican.
4) Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals do not trust facts as a matter of faith, and in so doing, they place a high religious value and a high personal value on ignorance and the spreading of ignorance to the rest of mankind. They often believe falsehood is truth and truth is falsehood. In their little world, if they believe the Bible says 2 + 2 = 5, then henceforth 2 + 2 = 5. In particular, they despise scientific facts that do not agree with their theology. Many believe the Earth is only 5,000 years old. Biological evolution never happened. Dinosaurs and humans lived on Earth at the same time and played together. Psychiatry and clinical psychology are often believed to be tools of Satan. There is no such thing as man-induced global warming. In astronomy, they believe the big bang never happened and the speed of light changes. And not to be outdone, the Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical faction on the Texas State Board of Education has introduced the idea into Texas K-12 textbooks that the Biblical patriarch Moses was a founding father of the United States of America. Yes, you read that correctly. Furthermore, they have tried to incorporate into the state K-12 curriculum the notion that historically disgraced former Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, an innocent-life-destroying communist witch hunter of the 1950s, was a great man Texas school children should admire. The following video interview with a former Calvinist evangelical, who is still a follower of Jesus Christ and is now a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, puts the whole matter into perspective:
5) Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals often go out of their way to hurt people. Does anyone remember the Kim Davis fiasco in Kentucky? Nowhere is this imposition of hurt more evident than in the current controversies over LGBTQ rights and gay marriage. This was brought home to me in spades on one of my favorite Christian blogs where the owner asked the mothers of LGBTQ children to write in and share their experiences with their LGBTQ children in church. Many of the women who wrote in to the blog were current or former members of Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches. Readers were moved to tears by their stories, and I was (quite frankly) shaken to the core by their revelations. One might expect the church leadership and its members to shun the LGBTQ person alone, but the mothers often reported that their entire family was disgraced and shunned while still in the church. Church members who had been close friends of family members for decades would withdraw and no longer have anything to do with the family—and we are not just talking about one or two people here. Judgement and enforcing that judgement by social sanction and punitive action were the name of the game. Young people in these churches who discovered they were LGBTQ at puberty were harassed incessantly, and some fell into deep mental illness and suicide under the pressure. In short, the church leadership and members made the lives of LGBTQ children a living Hell until the whole family had no choice but to leave the church. Self-righteous fathers disowned their sons and daughters and kicked them out into the streets to fend for themselves. Children who could no longer take the incessant pressure to tow the fundie religious hardline and be perfect ran away from home because the only other choice they could see was suicide. Judgement, condemnation, and harsh punitive action were everywhere—and the love of Jesus Christ was nowhere to be found in the tragic stories told by these mothers.
6) Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals think they know how to do things better than God does, and if He will just get off his throne for a few minutes and let them sit on it, they will show him a thing or two about how the universe ought to be run. God makes it clear that he gives human beings a free choice to believe in Jesus or reject him. With regard to human behavior, God gives people a free choice to obey him or disobey him. That is not good enough for Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. For the past 45 years, they have been working extremely hard day and night at the federal, state, and local levels to take over elected government offices and government institutions so they can use their legal authority, police power, and military power to force the American people as a whole to believe in God as they dictate (i.e., force them to become Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals) and force them to behave in their everyday lives exactly as they dictate. They have a totalitarian dictator mindset that is anathema to the principles of human free will and free moral agency God established at the foundation of the world and has maintained throughout human history. It is also anathema to the principles of our free representative democracy as set forth in the U.S. Constitution, crystallized in the minds of our founding fathers, and recorded in the annals of American history.
The sin of Eve in the Garden of Eden parable was not disobedience to a command of God. That was only a symptom of a much deeper original sin. If you will read the text closely in the Book of Genesis, you will see that the true root sin was Eve’s desire to be God, and she bit into the fruit to achieve that end. The disgusting and unAmerican lust for political power in Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals—and their long-term aim to misuse it and abuse it to get what they want—indicates that they too have taken a bite out of Eve’s forbidden fruit so they can one day get enough power to play God. These people are dangerous, and they have to be stopped by peaceful, moral, and legal means before they have an opportunity to commit unspeakable acts of evil on the Earth in God’s name.
7) Christian fundamentalism is not original, 1st century, orthodox Christianity as the fundamentalists often claim. Any well-educated theologian who knows the full 2000-year width and depth of church history around the world knows that claim is spurious. Christian fundamentalism is a homegrown “American tater” that was founded in the Great Lakes Region of the United States in the early 20th century. In effect, it asks the American people to believe that Jesus abandoned his bride (the church) for 1,900 years, and a few theological rutabagas in the American northeast found her again about 100 years ago and gave her back to Jesus in a newly revised way that captures how she was originally intended to look on her wedding day. That is 100 years of recent human history and fundie spiritual pride against 1,900 years of overall church history. There is that fundie arrogance again—and their refusal to face facts.
On this blog, we use the term “Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism” quite often—combining the two sub-terms. We have a very good reason for doing that. Conservative evangelical churches have much in common with Christian fundamentalist churches, including their ridiculous belief in Biblical inerrantism and a primarily literalist reading of scripture—to name just a couple. Moreover, the leadership and members of conservative evangelical churches have bought deeply into many of the neofundamentalist religious, social, and political beliefs that accompanied the Christian fundamentalist resurgence in the United States that began circa 1970. Today they are like two peas in the same pod, separated by only a modicum of distance as set forth in the following blog article by a former and very knowledgeable former Baptist pastor with 25+ years of experience:
Is the Southern Baptist Convention just a bunch of conservative evangelicals? The position we hold here at the blog is the same position as that held today by many former Southern Baptist leaders, seminary professors, pastors, and church members throughout the United States. In our considered opinion, the hostile takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1979 was, in its very essence, a takeover by a Christian fundamentalist element that had long laid low and lurked within that organization. The takeover of this once great denomination was in its essence a Christian fundamentalist takeover, and given the path it has traveled over the past 36 years and its current association with right wing extremist political ideology, it is our shared opinion that the Southern Baptist Convention is now easily classifiable as a Christian fundamentalist denomination—and we consider it to be one. In good conscience, we can do no other. You can read more about why it and many other conservative evangelical organizations deserve such a classification at the following blog owned by a moderate Southern Baptist pastor in Oklahoma:
8) It goes without saying that most Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are not going to like this blog. Many of them might even try to accuse this blog of being a center of religious hatred, bigotry, and persecution. To the contrary, this blog—and we believe rightly so—adheres to the opinion that any such charge sent our way is a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black because Christian fundamentalism (and by derivation conservative evangelicalism) clearly set the original pattern for American religious militancy, exclusivity, hatred, and bigotry at its own inception in the early 20th century and even more so during the period from 1970-2015. Indeed, instead of accusing the kettle of being black, the old Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical copper pot might do better by listening to the words of old Marley’s ghost in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens:
I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you [Ebenezer]? Or would you know the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full and heavy and as long as this seven Christmas Eves ago. You have labored on it since. It is a ponderous chain. Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable, but he could see nothing.
With regard to themselves, the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are just like Sergeant Schultz in Hogan’s Heroes: “I see nothing!!!” They specialize in picking apart, accusing, judging, and condemning all of mankind on a daily basis, but they almost never stand in front of a mirror to see their own grave sins, errors, and failures. Indeed, under the crushing weight of Old Testament law, they make it from one day to another in life by blinding themselves to them. This blog sets a mirror in front of Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, and their two “isms” so they and all of mankind can clearly see their sins, errors, foibles, and failures in this life. Moreover, this blog is an old-fashioned, loud, bold, and outspoken Christian rebuke of Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and their outrageous, heartless, deceiving love child known as the Religious Right.
A car in the parking lot of my church every Sunday morning bears a bumper sticker that says the following: “If there had never been a Pearl Harbor, there never would have been a Hiroshima.” In a similar vein, we would like to say clearly and unequivocally that if Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism had never gone spiritually arrogant, angry, militant, aggressive, hungry for political power, and bereft of love towards the rest of Christianity and the rest of mankind first, this blog would have never been created. This blog and the criticisms on it are simply a direct mainline Christian response to this long-held arrogance, anger, militancy, aggression, hunger for power, and lack of love—and the harm all of these things are doing to people in their own churches, to Christians outside of their churches, and to their other fellow men and women throughout the United States.
Famous Christian pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer decided to be quiet in the face of Nazi tyranny. He later repented of it and spoke up. Can this blog do anything less than speak up in the face of potential religious tyranny in the United States? A saying often attributed to Irish-born philosopher Edmund Burke reads as follows:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
We are not good men here at the blog. We look at ourselves and recognize many sins, faults, and failures that occur in our lives each day. As Jesus said, only God is good. However, in good conscience, the owner of this blog cannot just sit around, say nothing, and do nothing about the outrageous wickedness and excesses of Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and the harm they are causing to ordinary Americans. To do so would make this blog an accomplice in the commission of those evils and excesses. As a result, we feel compelled to speak out about these things and to speak up for the many ordinary Americans who are being hurt and oppressed by militant Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and the Religious Right today. Indeed, even in his own mission statement, Jesus said:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19)
Jesus was always willing to speak up and speak out about the many spiritual and social matters that concerned him as part of his mission on Earth—and he sometimes used very strong actions and words to do it (Matthew 21:12-13 and Matthew 23). This blog can do no less in dealing with the evils and excesses of Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism—and all of the hurt they are delivering to our fellow Americans and the Christian faith.
Recent statistical data gathered and published by traditional, hard core Christian fundamentalists indicate that a full 88 percent of the children raised in Christian fundamentalist churches (and probably many conservative evangelical churches that share similar ideologies) leave the faith traditions of their youth when they become young adults and never go back to those churches or churches like them ever again for the rest of their lives. Young men and women know when they have not been truly loved in church—and they want out because of it. The Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog is targeted at: (A) informing Americans about the ideological belief systems of Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and the Religious Right; (B) describing and denouncing the evils, excesses, and hurts they cause; (C) flushing out the remaining 12 percent of young adults (high school graduates and college graduates), as well as older adults, now sitting in the pews in Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches throughout the United States, thereby eventually depopulating both their churches and the so-called Religious Right. The ignorance, bigotry, hatred, spiritual abuse, outright lies, distortions of truth, and concealment of truth in Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and the Religious Right cannot continue if there are no people left in the pews to love ignorance and falsehoods, deceive people, hate their neighbors, and abuse people.
Those Christians who escape from Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical bondage and oppression are very much encouraged to keep their faith in Jesus Christ and transfer their membership and attendance to different churches of their choice that are neither Christian fundamentalist nor conservative evangelical in nature so they can worship God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in both spirit and truth in an uplifting atmosphere of genuine love, calm, and peace. If no such churches are available in your area, this blog encourages you and some Christian friends of like mind to get together and establish new and independent churches with these goals in mind for your immediate geographic area. These churches are envisioned to put faith in the persons of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit at the center of the church. They should be churches that focus primarily on God’s love for its members and their love for him, the love of the members for one another, God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ his only son our Lord, and a deep and unwavering love so the church members may truly love their 6 billion neighbors outside of the universal church as they love themselves.
If you would like to be a regular follower of this blog, then click on the “Follow Button” in the black strip at the top of this blog page. If you are wondering why there is no button for commenting, just click on the Blog Policy button.