They are taking over the US, and they’re coming to the UK – fundamentalists are hijacking Christianity and squeezing out people with any sense at all.
It makes me sick to think that Bush was re-elected by people claiming to believe in the same God as me, and the reason given by these people was “moral issues”.
Meanwhile, I’ve had my own taste of fundamentalism back home.
Moral Issues? Presumably by that you mean ignoring any concept of right and wrong and voting on a narrow point of theology?
You know, fundamentalism ought to mean going back to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and re-evaluating everything we do in those terms. Wouldn’t that mean providing for the poor instead of giving vast tax cuts to your super-rich friends? Wouldn’t that mean taking care of the people under your command instead of sending them on a war of personal revenge mixed with greed? Wouldn’t that mean showing an iota of concern for people? And as a president, wouldn’t it mean accepting your duty to lead wisely, allowing people to act freely instead of taking away their rights to privacy, freedom from intimidation and freedom of religion? Wouldn’t it mean showing mercy to and care for the “alien” (foreigners) in your land?
But it seems to these people that’s not what it means. What is means is not only that a previously unheard-of literalism is applied to the Bible (taking the kind of “worship the book” attitude that is taken in Islam, but which is forbidden in Christianity where we worship God and learn about him from the Bible) but also that the strange conclusions which are drawn from that literalism are taken to be more important than the basic moral laws which are infused through the whole of the Bible, not to mention explicitly stated on numerous occasions in both the old and new testaments.
Yes, strange conclusions. How many verses are used to back up the opinion that a person becomes a human on the point of conception? 2? So you vote for the hater, the greed-feeder, the alien-oppressor, because he is against abortion. How many verses do you need about taking care of the alien and the oppressed? I don’t know when a fetus becomes a person – but I do know that the leader of a country is supposed to care about the dignity of humans under his authority, instead of lying to them about how rich his tax cuts will make them (while wages in the US slip downwards) and lying to them about why they should fight and die in a weak and corrupt foreign country.
How many verses condemn homosexuality? 5? How complex is the context? Should we ban men having long hair? Should we stone people for having sex during a woman’s period? I don’t know what I think about homosexuality – I genuinely don’t know, but I do know the impression given in the Bible about how God feels about oppressing the weak and not defending the powerless.
Speaking of which, which part of “Blessed are the peacemakers,” do these people not understand? How is leaving the Israelis and Palestinians to fester a “moral issue”?
So we come to my local experience. I went to a meeting about Israel and Palestine this week, and I heard some of the violence that is being used to oppress and drive out the Palestinians from their homes. But no matter what your opinion is on this situation (and certainly the Israeli government has the right to try and protect their citizens), what really got me going was the utter idiocy of some of the people who came along.
A direct quote:
“We have to remember that God is on their [the Israelis’] side.”
WHERE DID YOU GET THAT FROM?
Even if we presuppose for a minute that Jesus’ coming and saying everything was different (remember the phrase “new covenant”?) made absolutely no difference, where did you get the idea that God has always been on the Jews’ side?
Did you forget the exile? How about when Moses had to plead with God not to wipe them all out? What about the countless times they disobeyed God and he scattered them, made their enemies defeat them, or left them to fester in their sin?
ARE YOU AN IDIOT?
The ridiculous thing about this is that there really isn’t one verse in the Bible you could twist with your idiotic literalism and come to this conclusion in the first place. Where did you get it from?
So I came closer this week to throwing in the towel than I’d like to admit. How can I say it is reasonable to believe in God, when so many of the people who say they believe in the same God are so happy to believe such stupid, stupid things?
But I remembered that there have been other heresies, and there have been other mistakes in the church, and somehow we’re still here.
And somehow I still believe in God and I still think he wants people like me to argue and persuade these people that they’ve got their priorities muddled, and they should take another look at the “fundamentals”.
But I hope he and you will forgive me for letting off steam a bit before I try.