IMPORTANT NOTE: The Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog is devoted to peaceful, nonviolent opposition to Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and the so-called Religious Right in the United States. We believe that written and spoken words alone are sufficient, powerful, and effective means for opposing fundie wickedness in all of its many forms. We completely and totally reject any current or future call from the American public to settle religious and faith differences by means of physical violence.
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.
The Flee from Christian Fundamentalism 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) Many Americans believe Christian fundamentalism was born in the American South because they have seen so many fat-bellied fundie preachers with southern accents on television. As a matter of historical fact, the American South was not the birthplace and cradle of Christian fundamentalism. Christian fundamentalism was born and raised in the American northeast and in the states bordering on the Great Lakes. From there it diffused outwards over time to California, the American South, and other areas of our nation.
From its beginnings in the Northeast Region and 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. Christian fundamentalists consider these nonfundie denominations, churches, and individuals to be apostate. The term apostate refers to all humans and organizations 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. Who are these so-called enemies of God? They are sincere disciples of Jesus Christ who are the members of numerous well-known American denominations such as the United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Presbyterian Church USA, Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, Northern Baptist Church, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, American Baptist Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and many others of the approximately 44,000 Christian denominations on Planet Earth. Simply put, Christian fundamentalists consider themselves to be soldiers in a militant religious war against all sin in the world, against all sinful men and women (everyone but themselves), and against 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 fundie belief system, but when people refuse to be further wooed or to enter into their belief system, the white gloves come off, the boxing gloves go on—and these people often become just plain mean and nasty. Their social currency in dealing with human beings outside of their own religious circles is incessant condescension, anger, and hatred. Consequently, in social environments where they are totally free to be themselves, fundies 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 Anti-Christ.” (The 700 Club on January 14, 1991)
3) Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are consumed by a focus on saving the Bible from destruction, Bible idolatry, Old Testament laws, and an Old Testament God who spends all of his time (24/7) filled with anger at mankind because of its sins. In their eyes, He is a male sex God who seeks eternal vengeance against mankind as payback for these sins. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are driven in all they do by an incessant, jelly-quavering personal fear of this angry and vengeful God who they claim to love—but more often than not—they behave as if they are God’s only children—and He is the Great Child Abuser in the sky.
Their job here on Earth is to do everything within their power to save themselves and save other people from God’s final spell of rage (like his many Old Testament rages before) and the inevitably withering salads of death, destruction, and genocide that always come with them. This evangelism focus is viewed as an Emergency Rescue Operation implemented under severe time constraints:
You gotta believe like me right now and get to my church now—before its too late—before the world ends tonight.
Because of their fear-soaked belief in a capricious 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 consists only of the God-provided opportunity for a few lucky human souls to get saved from Heavenly Daddy’s final rage and the fires of Hell (that awful torture closet Daddy stuffs the naughty children into to torture them with skin-melting pain for all eternity).
In Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical minds, this emergency rescue operation 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 loved and 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 peculiar 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 fundie 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 over time. The United Nations was established to be the future throne of the Anti-Christ.
Just to show you how far this love of ignorance has gone, 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—George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Moses. Furthermore, they have tried to incorporate into the state K-12 curriculum the notion that historically disgraced former Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, a publicly disgraced, innocent-life-destroying political witch hunter of the 1950s, was a great man Texas school children should admire. The following video interview with a former Calvinist evangelical and co-founder of the Religious Right, who is still a disciple of Jesus Christ and is now a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, puts the whole matter into appropriate and truthful perspective:
5) Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals often go out of their way to harm people they disagree with. Does anyone remember the Kim Davis fiasco in Kentucky? Nowhere is this imposition of harm more evident than in the current controversies over LGBTQ civil 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 mothers 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 and leave it at that. But no, 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 incessantly hounded, harassed, and bullied. Some fell into deep mental illness and suicide under the pressure. In short, the church leadership and church 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 hard line and be perfect ran away from home because the only other choice they could see was suicide. Judgement, condemnation, shunning, and other harsh punitive actions were everywhere—and the love of Jesus Christ was nowhere to be found in the tragic church stories told by these mothers of LGBTQ children.
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 Heavenly throne for a few minutes and let them sit on it in his place, 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 exactly 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 crystallized in the minds of our founding fathers, set forth in the U.S. Constitution, 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 and abuse such power 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. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals 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 the name of Jesus.
7) Christian fundamentalism is not original, 1st century, orthodox Christianity as the fundamentalists often claim. Any well-educated Christian 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 and Northeast Region of the United States in the early 20th century. In effect, Christian fundamentalism asks the American people to believe that Jesus abandoned his bride (the church) for 1,900 years, and a few theological rutabagas up north found her again about 100 years ago and gave her back to Jesus in a newly revised form that captures how she was originally intended to look on her wedding day nearly 2000 years ago. 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 often use the term Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism—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 (very knowledgeable) Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) pastor with 25+ years of experience:
Is the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) 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 SBC leaders, seminary professors, pastors, missionaries, and church members throughout the United States. In our honest opinion, the hostile Pressler-Patterson 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 the SBC has traveled over the past 36 years and its current association with right wing extremist political ideology, it is our shared opinion that the SBC and its churches are 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 former SBC pastor who lives in Oklahoma:
8) It goes without saying that most Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are not going to like the Flee from Christian Fundamentalism 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. Why? Christian fundamentalism (and to some extent 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 1970-2017. Indeed, instead of accusing the kettle of being black, the old Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical pot would do better by listening carefully 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, many Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are just like Sergeant Schultz in the old TV series Hogan’s Heroes:
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, foibles, errors, and failures. Indeed, under the heavy weight of Old Testament law, they make it from one day to another in life by blinding themselves to their own sins, lest their hearts and souls be crushed by the weight of them. Taking a cue from Sergeant Schulz, they choose to know nothing about the evil within themselves.
The Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog sets a mirror in front of Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, the Religious Right, and their two precious “isms” so they and all of mankind can clearly see their wickedness, sins, cruelty, hypocrisy, inconsistencies, errors, foibles, and failures in this life. Moreover, this blog is an old-fashioned, loud, bold, and highly outspoken Christian rebuke of Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and their outrageous, heartless, deceiving love child known as the Religious Right.
(9) In our honest opinion, the white hot Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical fervor for electing Donald J. Trump President of the United States was a full-on demonstration of just how utterly low-down, undiscerning, spiritually blind, and spiritually corrupt American fundie leaders and their followers have become. Just turn on any news channel except for Fox News; watch the daily behavior of Mr. Trump; and ask yourself these two questions: “Is this how a Christ-follower behaves?” and “Is this the kind of person a serious Christian admires?”
We advise you to stay away from the Fox News channel because independent fact-checking organizations have discovered it to be the most highly biased and lie-filled news network on TV. (See this article.) The fact that Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals feed on Fox News like mother’s milk fully demonstrates just how spiritually deceived they are and how much they are dedicated to any lie that will make them feel good and scratch their itching ears. (II Timothy 4:3)
Purposes of this Blog
The Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog is targeted at and dedicated to the following:
(A) Informing Americans about the ideological belief systems of Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and the Religious Right.
(B) Describing, denouncing, and rebuking the evils, abuses, oppression, excesses, and harms Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and the Religious Right inflict on people made in God’s image.
(C) Encouraging the remaining 12 percent of young adults (high school graduates and college graduates), as well as older adults, to leave their 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 their pews to love ignorance and falsehoods, deceive people, hate their neighbors, and abuse people in the name of Jesus.
(D) Warn American Christian and nonChristian citizens against joining Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches—and let them know that far less crazy, dangerous, and abusive church environments are available to them—and show them how to find those warmer, kinder, more loving, and more nurturing churches of Jesus Christ in their areas of the United States.
Some Final Thoughts
A car in the parking lot of my church every Sunday morning once bore a bumper sticker that said 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 hateful, 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 hatred, arrogance, anger, militancy, aggression, hunger for political power, and lack of love—and the harm all of these things is doing to the fundie people in their own churches, to Christians outside of their churches, and to nonChristian men and women throughout the United States.
Famous Christian pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer at first decided to be quiet in the face of Nazi tyranny. He later repented of his silence and spoke out against this tyranny toward the end of World War II. Can this blog do anything less than speak out loud 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, as a matter of Christian 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, the Religious Right, and all 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 harsh words to do it (Matthew 21:12-13 and Matthew 23). This blog can do no less than speak out with a bold voice against 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 beliefs) 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 have not been told the truth in church—and they want out because of it.
Those fundie 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, peace, and mercy. These churches should take the Bible seriously—but avoid turning it into an inerrant, internally consistent, literally read idol. (Bible idolatry is just as bad as any other kind of idol worship.)
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—not in an inerrant, internally consistent, and literally read Bible. Once again, they should take the Bible seriously without turning it into an idol and without pretending that it is God or Jesus. 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 much as they love themselves. In addition, we believe such new churches should reject the Christian fundamentalist doctrine of extreme separation from all sinners. We contend that no Christian can truly love his neighbor as himself (as Jesus commanded) while simultaneously and perpetually rejecting and shunning that neighbor. The Bible says that all saved Christians are still sinners. Ask the next Christian fundamentalist you meet how he manages to practice extreme separation from himself.
Finally, each of the major world religions has a fundamentalist element or faction operating within its ranks. It is usually a minority element within each of these world religions, but it gets public attention far in excess of its small numbers of followers because religious fundamentalists tend to be loud and/or violent to get this attention. Radical Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism are just one example of this. Scholars of religion who study the various religious fundamentalisms around the world have noticed many similarities between them. Now listen closely to my words written below for emphasis:
These scholars have found a single, giant, and compelling thread of truth that runs through the center of every major form of religious fundamentalism on planet Earth. It applies equally to Christian fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism, Hindu fundamentalism, Buddhist fundamentalism, and all the other forms of religious fundamentalism. This shared thread is a deep-seated and all-pervasive FEAR OF ANNIHILATION that dwells in the hearts of those people who have become fundamentalists. They feel that their traditional religious belief systems, subculture, and even their own lives are in grave danger of being erased forever from the surface of the Earth.
There is both good news and bad news in this. The good news is that some of these fundamentalist religious belief systems are so antiquated and out of step with the modern world that they are destined to disappear in their current form because they no longer have any significant meaning for the present or the future. The bad news is that assorted fundamentalists tend to forsake peaceful engagement for violence when their fear of annihilation reaches a fever pitch. This is what has happened with Islamic fundamentalism. The superorganic, 1000-foot-high tidal wave of western technological innovation, western cultural innovation, and economic globalism have overwhelmed Islamic fundamentalism. As a result, its eventual annihilation is a near certainty—not by anyone’s willful malice—but simply by the normal passage of time and the normal process of human cultural change. ISIS is not so much a danger as it is an ephemeral symptom of impending and inescapable religious and subcultural death.
With regard to Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism in the United States, the key question is this:
At what point in time will this fear of annihilation become so intense that IFB Baptists, Southern Baptists, and other Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical religionists begin secretly planning and resorting to terroristic violence against their fellow Americans?”
When does the violent Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical terrorism begin on our own soil and against our own citizens? In our honest opinion, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the American people need to be vigilant and on constant alert for it now and going forward in time. This vigilance should be focused on the very real possibility of such homemade terroristic violence on our own soil. It is happening in all of the other major religious fundamentalisms around the world. Why would it not eventually happen here?
Personally, I suspect it may someday come, and if it comes, I am sorry to say that it may come in the form of a religious civil war similar to the one recently concluded between the Protestants and Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland—a religious and cultural civil war between the red states and the blue states. The hatred, racism, bigotry, violence, and just plain nastiness of the Trumpites (including the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups that claim they are Christian) over the past year is more than enough to evoke such concerns. If such a civil war ever comes, it will be the greatest American conflagration since the Civil War (1861-1865), and millions upon millions of Americans will die as a direct result of it. Spilled blood, destruction, and death will be everywhere. Given their deep love affair with firearms, let us all pray that American Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals have just a little bit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ still left in them somewhere—enough that their own fear of annihilation will never cause them to start a religious civil war on American soil.
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