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Old 11-28-2007, 09:06 PM
diebitter diebitter is offline
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Default The rise of the fundamentalist right in America

I heard about this specific clip on a film review show:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOIYsGVyg8M

WTF?


The reviewer, Mark Kermode, was talking about how the movie shows 10 year old kids packed off to Jesus Camp and whipped into religious hysteria by this dangerous woman.

Here's more:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqNLMuijRyU

Do you Americans worry much about the fundamentalist right? It is something of a concern here in Europe - and we mostly attribute its continuing growth as we perceive it with G.W.Bush - but given the shocking state of newspapers these days, it's almost impossible to fathom what's a genuine piece of cultural news, and what's hyped up for our European tastes.


Sometimes this sort of thing makes you think America is now in serious decline as a credible world power, and maybe China or even Russia is going to be overtaking it as the single dominant world power.

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2007, 09:17 PM
Dominic Dominic is offline
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Default Re: The rise of the fundamentalist right in America

I worry about it, as my post earlier this year about "Letter to a Christian Nation" can attest to.

I'm stunned how stupid most of America is, and how they are so willing to trash the civil rights of other Americans whose politics and morals do not agree with their own.

I'm very happy to see the success of political humorists like Bill Maher and John Stewart - at least there's someone fighting for true American ideals.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:17 PM
ElliotR ElliotR is offline
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Default Re: The rise of the fundamentalist right in America

Yes we worry, but their power is currently ebbing.

America is in fact in serious decline as a credible world power, but it has a long way to fall. And at least we don't get ourselves in a tizzy because a couple of CDs got lost in the post. [img]/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:20 PM
MrWookie MrWookie is offline
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Default Re: The rise of the fundamentalist right in America

I'm not quite as worried, but I mostly agree with Elliot.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:32 PM
tarheeljks tarheeljks is offline
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Default Re: The rise of the fundamentalist right in America

idk if i would consider it to be "on the rise." there are plenty of people who are not members of the fundamentalist right, but would side with them b/c of shared religious beliefs if you drew a line in the sand. many of these people do not harbor the extremism of fundamentalists, but in the end their religion trumps all.
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  #6  
Old 11-28-2007, 09:51 PM
daveT daveT is offline
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Default Re: The rise of the fundamentalist right in America

The Christian Coalition is a major donator to the Republican Party. So much for separation of Church and State.

If the papers are making it sound like we are under the iron fist of The Christians, I will say it is an exaggeration. Broadcast television looks like cable 15 years ago. The country is becoming more liberal over the years, and there is little that can be done to oppress the mindset.

No doubt that Christian Organizations are putting out scare commercials, but they are often looked at sideways. There was a public service announcement talking about how girls should abstain from sex because they were more likely to commit suicide.

I think that the Fundamentalists, in the view of most Americans, are not respected. They created the Creationism Museum, which is frowned upon and picked on.

They tried to get prayer in school, but the atheists won in California by declaring the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional for the line "One nation, under God."

The only thing that they can do is use shock statistics to try to move people. They managed to gain more funding for "sex education" which is really abstinence education.

The over all case for America turning to some sort of Taliban is flimsy at best. No matter if there are or are not laws, the laws must reflect the general opinion.

The biggest concern for me is the so-called War on Drugs. I don't blame Religion solely for this, but I am sure it is no small contributor to the fear tactics used to support it, although I believe most Americans are against it.

As for poker: There are people who approve and those that don't Casinos and Card Rooms are popping up at record speeds all across America. Gambling is not as frowned upon as it was even 20 years ago. It is starting to be viewed as an outlet, healthy as long as people have control.

A friend recently moved to New York and asked me, "Do American's do nothing but work?" She was complaining because she had to work a 50 hour week, "only" got 2 weeks of vacation and sick time. I don't believe that the Americans will fall under another country for a while. We have ingenuity, a well-educated work force and a maleable language. It will take China decades before it can be seen as a world power. Simply put, China and Russia are too poor, the people are to oppressed, and the money and resources are not used properly to change their countries enough to become a world leader.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:07 PM
Blarg Blarg is offline
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Default Re: The rise of the fundamentalist right in America

daveT, I think you are very wrong about the power of Fundamentalists, and the power of religion in our society. They have been courted assiduously and enormously successfully, and religion is a major factor in our politics.

The fact that you can even still see a commercial saying sex leads to suicide doesn't point out how ridiculous that notion is -- ideas like that have been around forever and promoted forever -- but how powerful it must be in the community that despite being so idiotic it can still find enough money to get on the air.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:03 PM
Blarg Blarg is offline
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Default Re: The rise of the fundamentalist right in America

[ QUOTE ]
idk if i would consider it to be "on the rise." there are plenty of people who are not members of the fundamentalist right, but would side with them b/c of shared religious beliefs if you drew a line in the sand. many of these people do not harbor the extremism of fundamentalists, but in the end their religion trumps all.

[/ QUOTE ]

And they are often one-issue voters who will vote the same way, so are far as elections are concerned, it comes to the same thing.
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:02 AM
MrWookie MrWookie is offline
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Default Re: The rise of the fundamentalist right in America

[ QUOTE ]
idk if i would consider it to be "on the rise." there are plenty of people who are not members of the fundamentalist right, but would side with them b/c of shared religious beliefs if you drew a line in the sand. many of these people do not harbor the extremism of fundamentalists, but in the end their religion trumps all.

[/ QUOTE ]

There's another side to that coin here, Tarheel. I consider myself a devout Christian, but in many regards, I consider the fundamentalist right "Christians" in name only. If you look at much of their politics, much of it is 100% contrary to the actual words of Christ. "Fundamental" tenets such as "love they neighbor," and "love your enemies," have been lost on many people who call themselves fundamentalists. In many, many regards, the fundamentalist right acts like the Biblical Pharisees that Jesus railed on time after time for focusing on their own self-righteousness instead of loving thy neighbor, even if that neighbor sticks his dick in the wrong hole or plays poker or worships differently or even worships another god. Hell, I think even atheists have a better grasp of the story of the Good Samaritan and its implications than the average fundamentalist. The calls to arms of the fundamentalist right are so befuddling that I have to wonder if they've ever actually read the Bible they claim to tout. Why is it that the pinko hippies the fundamentalists would label as heathens are the pacifists and the fundamentalists are the ones leading the battle charge? Why do they completely ignore Jesus' words to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's?" Separation of church and state is actually prescribed by Jesus himself, but too many Christians miss or forget this.

One thing to bear in mind is that if every you hear about a Christian drawing a line in the sand, you can be pretty sure he's not acting in a Christ-like manner. When did Jesus ever draw a line in the sand or send away someone who came to him, even if that person was a theif, a prostitute, a heretic (Samaritan), a leper, or any other manner of sinner? Jesus does say that he will bring division into friendships, communities, and even families, but that's him saying that the forces of the world will exile Christians, not that the Christians should be drawing lines in the sand and casting out people who aren't pure enough.

This topic always gets me riled up. I'm always half-tempted to go through every single Bible passage that some politically-minded fundamentalist has construed to have some political implications and then just tear their words to shreds by going through the rest of the book that they call holy and showing how severely they've missed the point.

I'll close with the one idea I hope everyone who reads this takes to heart: the abuses of the fundamentalist right are not a fault of Christianity or of Biblical teachings. Not all Christians think like them, and it would not be the conclusion of any reasonable person who read the Bible, the whole Bible, in context, that the teachings therein would naturally lead to the creation of a group with the political goal of forcing, sometimes violently, their brand of righteousness on a morally wayward world. No. The abuses of the fundamentalist right come from people misunderstanding or misusing the words of the Bible in a manner completely contrary to its most central commandments for their own political or economic gain. Does the context of Christianity make it easier for people with their own gain in mind to abuse the system? There are reasonable arguments for yes, but I would argue that there are countless examples throughout history of people (ab)using secular "us versus them" propaganda that takes advantage of weak-minded people in much the same way that the fundamentalist right does. There will always be demagogues, and there will always be people who fall for them. Christianity is just one system some of today's demagogues are abusing for their own gain. Patriotism are fear-mongering are two secular means for demagogues to rise to power that they're also getting a lot of mileage out of in this day and age. Christianity is not supposed to be a demagoguery, so do not lump all Christians in with those who abuse it.
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2007, 02:12 AM
Blarg Blarg is offline
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Default Re: The rise of the fundamentalist right in America

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
idk if i would consider it to be "on the rise." there are plenty of people who are not members of the fundamentalist right, but would side with them b/c of shared religious beliefs if you drew a line in the sand. many of these people do not harbor the extremism of fundamentalists, but in the end their religion trumps all.

[/ QUOTE ]

There's another side to that coin here, Tarheel. I consider myself a devout Christian, but in many regards, I consider the fundamentalist right "Christians" in name only. If you look at much of their politics, much of it is 100% contrary to the actual words of Christ. "Fundamental" tenets such as "love they neighbor," and "love your enemies," have been lost on many people who call themselves fundamentalists. In many, many regards, the fundamentalist right acts like the Biblical Pharisees that Jesus railed on time after time for focusing on their own self-righteousness instead of loving thy neighbor, even if that neighbor sticks his dick in the wrong hole or plays poker or worships differently or even worships another god. Hell, I think even atheists have a better grasp of the story of the Good Samaritan and its implications than the average fundamentalist.


[/ QUOTE ]

You strike me as peculiarly understanding and mature for a religious person, a category of people in whom such attributes are far from celebrated.

As an atheist myself, but one with very strong moral standards, I think that among my many born-again Christian friends, I have if anything brought more closer to God by encouraging their best, kindest, most honest, and most responsible and truly Christian spiritual leanings. A number of them have told me as much too. Spirituality is not only restricted to the religious, nor is morality and basic human kindness and decency. Nor is clear thinking and open-mindedness reserved only to atheists and humanists.

Religious people, especially those of the "revealed religions," are often so rigid, dismissive, combative, xenophobic, and unkind that it is especially satisfying to see others interested in living up to what I think is a fair understanding of the messages of the revealed religion and especially Jesus are. And to what the nature of unbelievers are. It is no picnic to be demonized all one's life, and I can tell you that's what my life as an atheist has been. And Christians by and large have not acquited themselves terribly well in response. I still believe that Christians can do so, despite their worst efforts, but it is nice to see a welcoming hand still extended in the religion that purports to pride itself on love.
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