Friday, December 4, 2015

My answer to National Catholic Reporter

And its gushing celebration of Pope Francis's war on Fundamentalism.  
I find the sudden thrashing and trashing of fundamentalism not unlike the trashing and thrashing of communism and socialism back in the day.  After all, when we say 'fundamentalists', we usually mean some group of people holding fast to ideas or beliefs we disagree with.  What is a fundamentalist?  Someone who flies jets into skyscrapers? 
Someone who thinks they are right and everyone who disagrees is wrong?  If that is the case, who isn't a fundamentalist/
It was as recent as the West Wing where, liberal though that show was, it went out of its way to point out that fundamentalism is not terrorism.  Something we seem to have forgotten.  Perhaps it's just that we need someone to point our fingers at.  Someone other than us. Sure, there is such a thing as fundamentalism.  And usually, it's us.  Holding to fundamentals we will not budge on.  After all, does Pope Francis think he might be wrong about some of the things he says?  Some of the things he condemns?  Probably no more than a KJV fundamentalist holds to his particular view of Bible translations.  
At the end of the day, we're all fundamentalists about the things we cherish, and usually pretty tolerant and open, dare I say liberal, about the things we don't.  Just what those things are might be different, but we're all the same in that way.  So the growing idea that fundamentalism and fundamentalists should all be lumped in with the world's worst and condemned outright suggests we're seeing just one more generation looking for the 'them' who we can blame for everything.  And for a Pope who famously asked who is he to judge, I think he's shown us exactly who he is to judge, and judge brutally and with a zeal that would shame many a fundamentalist pastor on sawdust floors in a South Alabama tent revival.   

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