By Peter Fredson
(Preamble: I live in a small town surrounded by Christian symbols, buildings, music, bulletins, TV shows, etc. I get along well, and like, the great majority of 40 different brands of Christians inhabiting this small town. This blog does not apply to them. But, I object strenuously to a few aggressive proselytizing, meddling True Believers. I call people “fundamentalists” who intend to push their beliefs, dogma and symbols down everybody’s throats. So, whatever your definition of “fundamentalist” might be, mine takes priority here.)
Fundamentalist Christians are nice, honest decent folks. I know this, because they tell me constantly that they are nice, honest and decent. And they are so nice that they want me to be exactly like them. They want me to pray their prayers, worship their god, and obey all their taboos. They want me to believe that somebody disappeared about 2,000 years ago, but is going to come back again any minute…maybe tomorrow. They want me to believe that he lifted up, off of the ground, went sailing up into the sky, past the clouds, without food, drink, oxygen, space suit or thermal underwear or any kind of propulsive power. For all I know he is still less than a million miles away, somewhere beyond Arcturus. They tell me constantly that two geographical places exist which give their beliefs some meaning, but they have never specified the exact loci. When pressed, they explain that it’s all metaphor.
They don’t want me to refer to acts of sex and excretion or general physiological functions without using Latin words. They don’t want me to expose any part of my body which they specify is unexposable. If a bit of mammary gland should become exposed the entire fundamentalist senate reacts in horror, veins popping in their foreheads, eyes bulging, and they rush to pass legislation meriting expulsion from civilized Christian society. They don’t want me to act in any way which they specify is undesirable or unacceptable to them, and constantly refer to quotations from their sacred literature about stoning or burning people. Their book is full of murderous passages, yet they are fine, honest and decent people.
They want me to treat all women as inferior to men, as having to obey any man, and as having no opinion which any male cannot override. Their sacred book plainly says that women are for screwing, sewing, sweeping, cooking and raising children and should keep their mouths shut, their opinions to themselves, and must rush to provide their male with food and clean clothing and comfort when he comes home from making money or raising hell, or anything else that pleases his fancy.
They don’t want me to use my genitals, body, or mouth or mind in any way unacceptable to them, or at any time unacceptable to them, or in any place unacceptable to them. They want me to obey all their rules, to accept their sacred beliefs, to obey their sacred anthology, and force me to give up anything that violates their sacred rules.
And, of course, they do all this for my own good. Everything they do is for my own good, and if I object they can beat the devil out of me, or kill me, for my own good. They mean to do me good. They mean to make me good, according to their definition of what is ‘good’.
And, of course, they are absolutely right. They have absolute truth absolutely; they are in full and exclusive possession of absolute truth. So anything that contradicts their version of absolute truth must be absolutely wrong. It must be very comforting to know you are in full possession of absolute truth and that you are destined to go eventually to some non-specific geographical locality, unless it is already filled up.
And they would correct you, for your own good. They will do whatever is necessary to have you accept their version of what is absolute truth. They will shun you, burn your house, write you long passionate (and largely illiterate) letters, persuade your neighbors to shun you, and they will boycott you or any business, they will persuade your employer to take your job from you, they will use the laws at their convenience against you, they would take away all your possessions, and if the law allowed they would imprison you, torture you, maim you and kill you with any one of several devices that these fine, honest and decent fundamentalists invented back in the Dark Ages. All this is for your own good. Similar fine honest decent loving Christians burned 100,000 innocent women as witches a few years ago, and then those fine honest decent folks said, “Oops, Sorry!”
And if the law doesn’t presently allow them to torture you, or seize your property, or murder you for not believing their beliefs, then they will work tirelessly to change the laws to permit them to torture and murder you….for your own good!
They would override all democratic values of free speech, free assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of press and make you conform to their frightening mold. They would take away all of your liberties of expression. They hide under the protections of democracy in order to eventually bury democracy. Their agenda is total control. Total control of wealth, of influence, of speech, of behavior, of opinion. Nothing less will do.
And they will do all this because they love you. Like Jerry Falwell, with eyes gleaming hell-fire, said he loved Larry Flynn. “Love”, of course, is a Christian code-word for “You slimy bastard atheist scum, you are gonna scream in hell and I’m gonna laugh like crazy, watching you burn eternally.”
Otherwise, I’ve got nothing against fundamentalists.