Fundamentalist ≠ Evangelical
Posted October 7, 2013on:
I am an evangelical as a member of the ELCA – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I am not a conservative, though some members of the ELCA are. You’re welcome to call me a progressive Christian or even a liberal.
Conservatives do not have exclusive rights to “evangelical.” Let’s not confuse people by calling fundamentalists and conservatives “evangelicals” just because the commercial media do.
Some folks ask me how to change fundamentalists – religious, political or social. Studies show that it is futile to try to change fundamentalists. They are not touched by facts. And though progressives are stereotyped as caring and “feeling,” fundamentalists are actually more moved by emotions, primarily negative ones, particularly fear. The way they deal with fear is through security and the way they feel secure is with a strong military.
Only about 10% of fundamentalists are open to input from outside their circle of fear-mongers, such as Fox News. So, how much time and energy do we want to invest in finding those few?
Usually we have to ignore them and work around them when we can. Try to keep them out of positions of authority.
I have a friend who is a success story. We went to college together. Bob was conservative then and throughout most of his professional life. Now he’s a honest-to-goodness, anti-war, pro-gun-control progressive. Several things happened. He and his wife moved from a conservative Lutheran Church to the Episcopal Church, and now, through the influence of their children, to the Catholic Church.
Bob credits his wife — a family counselor — for his change. The relationship brought the change. He’s content, even grateful, with his new outlook.
I’ve heard many personal testimonies that the mind-changer about gays and lesbians was getting to know some. As long as they’re just a group, it’s easier to dislike them. But when we have a nephew who’s gay, it becomes easier to be accepting.
Likewise, it’s easy for Tea Party politicians to discriminate against poor people and try to cut their assistance benefits, until they actually get to know some. As one of my most respected modern-day prophets says, “It’s not that the wealthy hate the poor. They just don’t know any.”
Let’s not put a smiley face on fundamentalists by calling them evangelicals.
OTHER RECENT ARTICLES of INTEREST on Related Topics
- The Psychodynamics of the Tea Party’s Success—and How to Transcend Them by Michael Lerner (also by Rabbi Lerner Hope in History vs. Consumer Addiction)
- Understanding the Fundamentalist Mind by Mark Sandlin from The God Article
- The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government by Chris Hedges
- Progressive Christians Global
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Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist
GRAPHIC: Spirit of Simplicity – Quotes & Art: 4. Peace & Justice #4-A2141