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reader comments: Christian ultra-fundamentalism

19 May 2008

I'm quite offended by your section on Christian ultra-fundamentalism. Some of the so-called facts are pretty flimsy, and not true. For example Dr. James Dobson is NOT against sexual equality. He is against sexual inequality. He points out that some feminists do want special rights which are not equal rights according to the definition of equal.

reply: Glad to hear it. I wonder if you could prod him to reveal what 'special rights' he's referring to? I know he approved of the feminists Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon when they tried to get legislation passed that was against pornography, but I wonder if he realizes that the legislation they supported considered any depiction in art of a woman in a subservient position as pornographic. I don't think that Dobson approved of Dworkin's lesbianism, either. Anyway, maybe I was mistaken in thinking that Dobson advocates women to stay home and raise the children while men go to work and earn money to support the family. I'm pleased to hear that he thinks women and men have an equal right to decide for themselves how to be happy. If that means not getting married, so be it. If that means not having children, so be it. On the other hand, it will really please me when Dr. Dobson announces that he has finally figured out that homosexuality is not a sin and that gay people have a right to marry. These are mature, consenting adults, harming no one by their choice of mates and should be given equal treatment before the law.

Dr. Dobson criticizes judges when they do not rule properly on the Constitutional Law of the United States. Not because he personally disagrees with them. Dr. Dobson is by no means subverting the Constitution. The Supreme Court and Federal Banking systems are doing that pretty well. Also Dr. Dobson correctly points out that Supreme Court judges do not make the law of the land, and yet they've been doing that a lot recently.

reply: When anyone, judge or lay person, says that the Supreme Court "did not rule properly," it can only mean "I would have ruled differently." Dobson, like many other critics of the majority in a Supreme Court decision, accuses those who do not rule as he would have liked of being biased and of trying to impose their own personal values on the country. Those sitting on the court have very different ideas regarding how the Constitution should be interpreted. It is common even for those on the court, especially Scalia, to accuse his fellow justices of not being true to the Constitution when they rule differently than he thinks they should rule.

It is a myth that judges don't make law. Every time an appellate judge hands down a decision, he or she is making law. What we don't want is for a judge to make law while ignoring the Constitution or statutes.

By accusing judges of bad faith every time they don't like a ruling, critics undermine faith in the law.

Another example is your statement that America was not founded as a Christian nation, when in fact it is stated in Article 7 of our Constitution: "Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names."

reply: You're kidding, right? The option of using CE (for common era) wasn't open to them. Even atheist historians in the West were forced to use A.D. and B.C. in dating events. That doesn't make their history "Christian history." The fact is that there never has been a requirement to be a Christian to be a citizen, to vote, or to hold public office. Of course, Christians have outnumbered all other religious groups here and have had a significant impact on both laws and common practices. I think the impact has been mostly detrimental to human happiness and freedom.

Also Ben Franklin insisted that every Congressional meeting be opened with the Lord's Prayer or the Our Father. Similarly, Eleanor Roosevelt and the United Nations agreed to open every UN meeting with the Our Father. The original pilgrims came to America in the hopes of freely practicing Christianity, whether it was Anglicanism, Catholicism, etc.

reply: I don't know what Franklin insisted on. I find it hard to believe that the United Nations opens every meeting with the Lord's Prayer. Why would the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. countries allow it?

Anyway, government meetings should not be religious services. The reason we have no established religion is that established religions tend to persecute and discriminate against those who belong to other religions or to no religion, thereby making the freedom to exercise one's religious preferences an impossibility. The pilgrims who came here did not come to establish a country where everybody could worship as he or she saw fit. They came here because they were persecuted, but that did not prevent them from persecuting others. Various religious groups came here and settled in different communities because they did not want to be under the rule of people who didn't have the same faith. The only thing that saved this country from the kind of religious wars that plagued England was that the framers understood that the only way to have the free exercise of religion was to forbid the government to favor any one religion.

Self-esteem is not an anti-Christian notion, hubris is. Also when you mention that the CUFs have limited embryonic stem cell research exactly why is that bad? It's an ineffective, costly procedure. To date there have been no long term successful treatments that have come from embryonic stem cell research. Adult stem cells have shown the most promise and are easier to get and cheaper to use.

reply: I thought humility was a Christian virtue. According to the literature I cite, CUFs have opposed movements to enhance self-esteem as part of the "liberal agenda." Embryonic stem cell research is opposed by CUFers not because it is ineffective or costly, but because they think it's baby killing. They think one-celled zygotes have rights and should be treated as persons.

I agree that some scientists and journalists have over-hyped stem cell research, but the decision to use embryonic or adult cells should be a scientific decision, not a religious one.

I'm also flustered by your insinuation that EWTN is CUF network. I would suggest you watch Apologetics, Abundant Life, the Catechism of the Catholic Church with Father Corapi, and Life on the Rock to name a few. None of them are ultra fundamentalist in anyway.

reply: I guess I'm flustered, or at least mildly agitated, that you think I insinuate these networks or shows are CUFers. I never heard of any of them.

Also the occult has entered the classroom. It is acceptable to have a Satanic Bible at some colleges, including mine, but it is utterly horrid if you bring a Bible on campus. Comparatively there are more occult clubs than Christian clubs on college campuses. Many Christian beliefs are being suppressed at schools. Here's an example of a school initially denying students' free speech rights. (The link goes to an article in the WorldNetDaily.)


reply: What, pray tell, is a Satanic Bible. I taught on college campuses for 37 years and never saw one or even heard of one. On the other hand, I had a Bible on a bookshelf in my office for most of those years and nobody even noticed. I'd like to see the evidence that there are more occult  clubs than Christian clubs on college campuses. (What do you mean by "occult club" anyway?)

The examples from the WorldNetDaily are of high school kids who want to express their anti-abortion views during school time in ways that would be disruptive. Free speech doesn't give you the right to express yourself any way you want whenever you want. Regarding high schools, other rights are also involved. The right to express your anti-abortion views by walking around campus with tape over your mouth and a sign that says "ask me why I'm not talking" while handing out anti-abortion fliers would be disruptive. If a student wants to do that after school at the mall, go ahead. But school officials have both the right and the duty to limit what people can say or wear or how they can act on campus.

Anyway, I'm not sure how this relates to being offended by what I have to say about Christian ultra-fundamentalism. I will say, though, that if these high school kids were in power, they'd forbid anyone either to advocate or to have an abortion. If my people were in power, these kids would never be forced to have an abortion and they'd be free to express their anti-abortion views. My people aren't in power. Neither are theirs. I hope the latter stays that way.

Christian ultra-fundamentalism


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