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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/10/13

North is a Direction. The South is a Place. That's Fundamental!

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From thedailybeast.com by Fred Rich, "The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimates that groups representing these citizens [Christian fundamentalists] spend about $390 million each year to lobby the government to impose their religion-based agenda on the rest of us, making the Orwellian argument that their own religious freedom requires the rest of us to live our lives in accordance with the dictates of their religious beliefs.

This strain of Christian fundamentalism is not disappearing and, despite the recent successes of the marriage equality movement, in great swaths of the country they are winning the "culture war' they have fought for 30 years."

One great swath where they've already won is in the American South -- plus Texas. (I know some people consider Texas in the south. But some don't, so I wanted to make it clear.)

Author Chuck Thompson, in his recent book, Better Off Without "em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, makes the argument that we would be better off if the South, specifically the original Confederate States of America where to secede.

And among other variables, one of the major factors that divides the rest of us from the South is their brand of Christianity.

He writes, "Of all the things that divide the South from the rest of the country has got to be fervent Christianity, says Dr. Michael Hill, president of the League of the South, the secessionist group he founded in 1994. The South historically has been a very Christian society. That has defined its worldview. We realize men have evil hearts and can't be trusted." (Talk about Calvinism!)

The Southern religious patterns of acceptable thinking and acting are, most of the time, evangelical fundamentalist Baptist and Methodist in origin. Thompson goes on to write, "They are so deeply indoctrinated in the orthodox faith that they cannot articulate alternative formulation to it much as they wish they could."

Although Mr. Thompson makes a compelling argument for Southern secession, I have no real gripe here about their inability to even imagine alternative forms. I just want them to keep it in the South.

But I border on apoplectic when I read about the amount of money being spent to convince the federal government to legislate the rest of us into living our lives according to their values.

To be clear, because I don't want their beliefs imposed on society, doesn't mean I   disagree with all of their positions. I happen to hold several conservative values contained in their religious canon. But I've come to these values by discernment and not the imposition of an orthodoxy based on literal interpretation of a seriously flawed book with dozens of irreconcilable inconsistencies.

In effect, belief in the inerrancy of a book with irreconcilable inconsistencies is a disease of logic.

For instance,   in the Gospel of John, Jesus is crucified a day earlier than in the Gospel of Mark. To a Christian who understands the difference between biblical poetry and praxis, this is simply a factual discrepancy and reconciliation is not necessary. The problem starts when one insists that the bible is inerrant, as do the Christian fundamentalists.

How can both Gospels be correct?

The broad application of this logic causes a disease in society. And as long as it stays in the South, I don't care. But when it spreads into the rest of the country we get the claim that resistance to the imposition of fundamentalist Christian tenants is a war on Christianity. Which gives rise to the culture war in Mr. Rich's comments above.

While pockets of this diseased unchristian version called fundamentalism has spread to many other states, patient zero is the South.

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Author, columnist, and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I've authored and published seven books: "You, Your Self and the 21st Century,"The Flowers Are Talking to Me," and "Faith (more...)
 

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