Monday, August 29, 2011

Not All Extremist

Despite living in a secular country with laws and founding principles that forbid theocracy, there is still a significant, well funded, very loud, and influential Christian movement that is actively working to bring their Christian theology into daily American life via local and national government. They achieve successes because they claim to represent Christianity as a whole and therefore a large majority of Americans. Although one might characterize these theocrats as being fringe elements of Christianity, that is not how they present themselves or solicit help from their fellow Christians.

Pointing out that these groups exist and are dangerous to the liberty of non-Christians is not an indictment of all Christianity. I am personally sorry if self professed mainstream Christians are offended by atheists like me discussing the activities of fundamentalist Christians without constantly emphasizing the distinction between the theocrats and them. Look, I get it, it sucks to be lumped in with those people and I am sorry to inadvertently imply a connection among you that you don't like. I imagine moderate Muslims can relate to that. But how are we supposed to know that religious moderates oppose the extremists unless they actually oppose them loudly and consistently. Otherwise it is not unreasonable to be concerned that the silence is perhaps tacit approval of the goals of the fundamentalists if not the tactics.


Nandy said...

Right on, Billtannica!
This has long been something that has bothered me about Christians. There is a perception of unity that is based only on the most generalized, light, airy theology. It enables the success of the extremists by making them look less crazy, but mainstream/moderates use the perception also. It emboldens them. They take solace in the numbers. They feel connection to each other and to something bigger than us all. For some, it provides proof of God ("it is inconceivable that so many could be wrong, therefore God must exist"). With this unity, a supposed victory for any kind of theology can be taken as a victory and justification for all the nooks and crannies of one's particular brand of faith. Given the inch, they take the mile.
As distasteful as moderates may find the connection, they do perpetuate it--not by endorsing extreme political goals, but in numerous other subtle ways. Im not trying to say we should lump moderates in with extremists, only that we aren't the ones blurring the line.

Billtannica said...

Well put, Nandy. Thanks.