Religious Fundamentalism: To Repeal It, Revolt Against It

   The American Revolution was a middle-class commercial undertaking. American colonists grew crops, uncovered resources, shipped timber to the Mother Country, and bought more expensive manufactured goods, assuring they would be forever in debt to the commercial interests of the Old World. There was a reason to throw tea overboard in Boston Harbor.

    The battle cry of the American Revolution? "Taxation without representation is tyranny." 

   The others, "Don't Tread on Me," and "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death," fit better on battle flags. The taxation issues stirred the hearts of the Fighting Accountants of Hartford first.

   In 1979, the Saudi Royal Family experienced something terribly new in their "nation." It was a religious revolt against the ruling family and their debased life styles. A deal was struck with the revolutionaries in Saudi Arabia. The Ruling Family would stay in place and divert much wealth to the mullahs, the religious schools, the ones that today are the most vituperative in the world Bin Laden is a Saudi. He was wealthy. The people he led were mostly lower middle class. The oil wealth of the Saudi Royal Family moved them upward a bit.

   In 1979, the Southern Baptist Convention was the most missionary, evangelistic convention of churches in the world. I write those words with some regretful pride. I was a Southern baptist then, a Texas baptist later. In 1979, Southern Baptists intended to reach the world with the gospel, as we understood the world and the gospel, by the year 2000.

    Then, an angry, shunned element of the SBC middle-class rose up to defend, well, something or other. Later castigated as Fundamentalists, this group discovered and exploited a tiny opening in the old SBC constitution. Today, the SBC is listed as a declining denomination and no one talks about coming together to reach the world.

   These are instances of middle-class commercial revolutions against perceived injustice or disinterest on the part of the elite, ruling classes. You decide what good they did for yourself. For my opinion, the one illustration above that has proved lastingly effective was the American Revolution. The Founding Fathers, deists, unitarians, episcopalians and baptists, immediately began to divide power among three branches and set laws around themselves to prevent any one group from taking power from the whole. American worked for a lot of years because of the rule of law. If America fails, it will be because it leaves off the rule of law, as it obviously did in the last decade in commercial/political enterprises.

   Just ask Bernie.

   I suggest if you are as disgusted with the product of Religious Fundamentalism as many of you claim, you simply quit buying the product. When a large section of the religious middle class population no longer buys the product a change will come.

    A mega-congregation in the Dallas/Fort Worth area recently got close scrutiny on a local news station. A portion of the membership had discovered they owned a private jet, used by the pastor to jet around the world. No one knew. Someone found out. Some started to ask questions. A sizable number took their support and walked away from the place. This was a simple process. People who gave to the cause stopped to ask where the money went. Their discovery horrified them. They staged a middle-class commercial revolt. That is, they quit buying the product.

   Some things will change if and when the middle-class launches a risk-taking, grass-roots revolt against the ruling class. Even religious people quit acting like sheep after awhile.

Opinions expressed here are my own, not those of the church I serve or any other person.




7 thoughts on “Religious Fundamentalism: To Repeal It, Revolt Against It”

  1. One of the greatest tragedies of this “war” in the baptist family is the loss of the children who witnessed their parents’ being fired, intimidated or marginalized because they were not a member of the right “party” and who decided then that they wanted nothing more to do with church or Christianity. When the tactics of secular politics are used to manipulate and control and take power over that which is sacred, everyone loses. I have seen careers ruined, reputations shattered, friendships and families fragmented and churches split, weakened or lost in this terrible 31 year process. So, was it worth it?

  2. Being born in 1978, the Baptist war is something that I did not know about until about 11 years ago while in college. From what I’ve read and what I’ve researched, it certainly has been ugly. Some call it a “hill worth dying on.” I really don’t know since I wasn’t around in the years leading up to it. For those of you that were around then, please tell me, was there a hill that needed to be taken?

  3. awww Jeff we all found something that interested us more than Evangelism – we called it our right to worship as we pleased…somehow we all forgot we are to worship as He pleases…that whole Spirit and Truth thing…Evangelism lost its luster as it always will when measured against selfishness…so let us desire selflessness in the future and refocus our desire from self to Evangelism…That is the example of Christ

  4. Jeff,
    The man who used the quote “a hill to die for” killed a lot of good, godly men’s reputations while he crept around with young boys.
    The other one lives like a mafia don and acts like one. I would not want to be near him at the bema seat.
    The Bible is now read less and the work of the kingdom has been replaced by quests for power. It was a hill for Satan to rejoice on.

  5. A Hill for Satan to Rejoice On.
    Sounds like a title for a book. As you can tell from Jeff’s question if the story is not told how will our children know?

  6. In the middle of the “battles”, I heard from the pulpits of churches I attended, how horrible “those people” were that didn’t give in to the party line. Many of “those people” I have since met and found them to be Godly people who believed in the Baptist principle of priesthood of the believer/s.
    The “hill to die on” destroyed the positive image that was the SBC. And now we see it losing potency.

  7. Well, then eventually Fundamentalism will cancel itself out. I think that’s what is already taking place right now.

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