Today is a good day, when I read two articles from Christians, willing to call evil and abuse what it is.
Thank you God – for reminding me there are some real Christians out there, with the balls to speak up and speak appropriately.
And reflect my own views and insight.
This is what comes of fundamentalism.
This week in the news, the Duggar family–made popular by their reality show, “19 Kids and Counting”–have been in the spotlight for a sex scandal. Though I seriously doubt they are calling it that, amongst themselves. No, where they come from, this is a youthful indiscretion; a series of inappropriate behaviors; evidence that we are “not a perfect family”… Etc.
But the news that the oldest son, Josh (now 27) repeatedly molested and sexually assaulted his younger sisters (and another unnamed minor) is beyond “inappropriate.” It is a crime. And one for which nobody is going to jail, given the 3 year statute of limitations in the state of Arkansas. (And in many states).
This is what comes of fundamentalism. And this is not about me railing against conservative brands of faith. Conservatism in belief does not always amount to abusive behavior. But when conservative beliefs (the Duggars are part of the Quiverfull movement) manifest in harmful, toxic systems that allow for–and even condone–systemic abuse, then you have fundamentalism. And it comes at a price. Most often, the price is human dignity. And most often, that price is paid by women.
Fundamentalism is how Jim Jones got a tragically large group of people to “drink the Kool-aid.” (I know that is a really derogatory thing to say now, but this is, most literally, where the saying originated). Fundamentalism is how Waco happened. Fundamentalism is how ISIS continues to grow at an alarming rate.
Fundamentalism is why so very many children have horrific stories of being abused by Catholic priests; and fundamentalism is why so few of those priests are in jail (so far).
At the heart of fundamentalism is fear: fear of being cast out for dissent; fear of an authority figure (always a man or group of men); and in many cases, fear of physical harm. This fear is held in place by a power structure that depends, ultimately, on silence.
Deadly, deafening silence.
And that’s why we can now classify the Duggars, and their brand of faith, as not just conservative–but harmfully fundamentalist. Continue reading