Tuesday, January 06, 2009

On Religious Fundamentalism

I'm a great collector of books, but when I'm in school I usually don't have as much time to read them as I'd like. Hence, I've built up a backlog of books that I've been meaning to read. One such book is Vine Deloria Jr.'s God is Red: A Native View of Religion. It was originally released in 1973 and the edition I'm reading is one that was updated and released in 1994. So far I'm only about 60 pages into it, and I'm starting to see why it is often referred to as a seminal work on Native religious views. Although interestingly enough, it is much broader than just Native religion and looks at politics, the American Indian Movement, Christianity and Western societies, and more. He's got some really interesting things to say, including this paragraph discussing the rise of the "religious right." His take still feels relevant considering such recent controversial public figures in the news as Sarah Palin, Pastor Rick Warren, and Bernie Maddoff.
An increasing number of Americans have become members of the religious right, the fundamentalists. As mainline churches lose members rapidly through their constant efforts to pander to the unchurched and make themselves relevant, mindless fundamentalism makes amazing strides, even among the educated people in society. When the fundamentalists seized on abortion as an issue, they found the key to political power. Thus was created the irony of modern American life. The fundamentalists could care less about human life after birth. They unquestioningly accept American military ventures around the world and cry for more blood with each invasion or carpet-bombing of small countries. They steadfastly support the death penalty and see nothing wrong with its one-sided application to racial minorities. They close their eyes to blatant theft of American assets by government officials, savings and loan executives, and bankers, and oppose every social program that is proposed. Yet on the abortion issue they wax eloquent about the sanctity of life as if their salvation depends on it.

Rather timely? I think so.


Snotty McSnotterson said...

This is really awesome--I'll have to try and find that book at the library.

Manthony said...

I can lend it to you when I'm done if you'd like. I've heard that the second half of the book doesn't hold up as well, but so far I've been pleasantly surprised.