THE NATURE OF FUNDAMENTALISM
“Fundamentalism really cannot help itself—it is absolutist and can compromise with nothing, not even democracy. It is not surprising that immediately after the Islamic fundamentalist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon two prominent Christian fundamentalists were reported to have accounted it a justifiable punishment by God for our secularism, our civil libertarianism, our feminists, our gay and lesbian citizens, our abortion providers and everything and everyone else that their fundamentalist belief condemns. In thus honoring the foreign killers of almost 3000 Americans as agents of God’s justice, they established their own consanguinity with the principle of righteous warfare in the name of all that is holy, and gave their pledge of allegiance to the theocratic ideal of government of whatever sacred text.”
The Jews believe they are God’s chosen people and that the Holy Land was conveyed to them by a divine deed with general warranty title in perpetuity. The Mormons are so certain that their theology is identical with God’s will that they send their youth all over the world to save everybody they can from his and her theological ignorance or willfulness. The Baptists know without question that all others’ faiths and philosophies are in error, if not the workings of the Devil, and that unless the lost listen to them and come into their church, hell is their inevitable habitation for eternity. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe only a select group of them will see heaven and apparently no one else. And the Catholics have no less a conviction in the uniqueness and divine origin of their faith.
Islamic fundamentalists are so certain of their theology and so certain of their knowledge of the mind of God that they explode themselves and many others to bloody bits with the expectation that they will forever thereafter reside in a heavenly, air-conditioned oasis inhabited for their pleasure by dark-eyed maidens.
And E. L. Doctorow has made clear in the quote above from “Why We Are Infidels” that the Christian Right or the evangelical fundamentalists are no less certain that they know the workings of God’s justice and know that God inspired and instructed the Saudi fanatics to take down the WTC on 9/11—in order to let America know in a unequivocal manner that He disapproved of its secularism, etc. In asserting that the killing of 3000 American was God’s justifiable retribution, fundamentalists “established their own consanguinity with the principle of righteous warfare in the name of all that is holy, and gave their pledge of allegiance to the theocratic ideal of government of whatever sacred text.” That is, they have an affinity with and allegiance to theocracy.
What would Thomas Jefferson learn could he have knowledge of where America has gone and what America has become? He would learn on return very quickly that America is a corpocracy, or plutocracy, ruled by the money of corporations and by those made rich by corporations that have expropriated an inordinate and unjust share of the value labor has created; and that it was led currently by a confessed-alcoholic [George W. Bush] who found Jesus but who apparently never read the Sermon on the Mount. And that fundamentalists, descendants of the Pharisees, had the ear and mind of the 43rd president, who recklessly is undermining the wall separating church and state, the safeguard Jefferson spent his life trying to establish in view of his knowledge of the European terrorists arising from established religion and its warfare and Inquisition.
Since the Christian Right has through its leaders expressed the opinion that the horrors of 9/11 were the result of God’s wrath resulting from this nation’s sins, it seems reasonable that one with no affinity with the Christian Right may under the aegis of the First Amendment express his views as to why God was provoked to wrath and retribution. First, He was provoked by the hypocrisy of this nation’s claim to be Christian when it violates every tenet, every teaching, of God’s son, every day. Second, He was provoked by this nation’s arrogance in the belief that its every action was manifest destiny, divinely sanctioned, and that every other nation’s actions were, if adverse to this nation’s profit, the work of the devil. Third, by this nation’s belief that all other life, plant and animal, was its preserve and legacy to pillage, plunder and consume with abandon for its profit, comfort, and delight. Fourth, by this nation’s belief that God upon day’s end took note in his journal of what happened in America and Israel and took no note of what happened in any other nation on the ground that no other nation had any of His concern.
And lastly, by this nation’s efforts to frustrate the just goals of the exploited poor and oppressed of the world by the expenditure of billions to fund fascist thugs with weapons of destruction and by the tacit mandate to use whatever means necessary to defeat the yearnings of the landless and powerless for a better world.
Fundamentalism’s absolutism is its comfort and complacency but it is also its arrogance and pride, the elements of the first of the Cardinal Sins and the seeds of its destruction. Faith forced upon another by violence or law is a Satanic presumption.