Monday, September 28, 2009

On Christian Fundamentalism

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not a religious person, or even a man of faith. I avoided writing about religion because I never wanted to turn into one of the proselytizing pedants that harassed me about my atheism in grade school. Their ungracious efforts to prove their own faith by converting me embittered me toward religion and most people with any sort of pronounced faith. (Thankfully, I have since made my peace with religious people--some of my best friends are Christians--and religion generally.)

I don't usually like reading about religious debate either. Political or otherwise interesting bloggers that engage in theological navel-gazing usually drone on ad nauseam, offering less information about God than their own departure from reason and their rationalizations for preferring one strain of ancient demagoguery to another. I'm all for faith if you can muster it, but I'm not at all interested in mundane personal journeys of people I don't know.

I also didn't really feel like 'coming out' as an atheist to my more religious family members in order to prevent any lectures on Jesus at family reunions, but I read something so menacingly stupid today that I felt compelled to comment:

When author J.K. Rowling was proposed as a recipient for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Bush [43] nixed the idea because Rowling’s Harry Potter series “encouraged witchcraft.”

While I am no fan of Bush, I always assumed he was smarter than his popular image. And, given the undeniably high intellect of William F. Buckley, Jr. and his unquestionable faith in God, I usually tread very lightly in associating intelligence and religious/spiritual belief. But anyone who believes that Harry Potter encourages witchcraft is an imbecile, period.

The books' popularity doesn't negate the assertion of 'pro-witchcraft' leanings--common sense does. God or no God, the fact that whomever suggested it wasn't immediately mocked and thrown out of the room makes me shudder that the corridors of power were ever staffed with anyone so asinine to believe it or so spineless as to know its absurdity and ignore it.

Seriously, though, I know that this way of thinking represents a much higher number of people than I like to admit. I was once placed into a Mennonite youth group and was thereby introduced to the surreal worldview of Christian fundamentalists. I won't go into all the gory details, but suffice it to say that anything secular was treated with suspicion, and anything in fiction that paralleled God in any way—e.g., the Force in "Star Wars"—was evidence of the Devil's workings. I don't know which was more ridiculous: their belief that fantasy fiction was intentionally meant to subvert Christianity or that they were actually afraid of it. (I know Darth Vader was evil, but damn.)

This ingrained fear of fiction spilled well-beyond fantasy and into other works that dealt with unpleasant (esp. sexual) subject matter. These See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil types are the book burners of old. They are the censors. They are the people that perpetuate ignorance, in the name of public morals. They look to quash anything that challenges their worldview, and thus, their control over others. They are, in short, evil in their own way.

The fact that these people ever rose to such power in this country actually scares me. The fact that I ever voted for them makes me sick.

1 comment:

Amy Y said...

I was nodding my head in agreement until the last sentence... which makes me want to puke. ;)