Friday, January 9, 2009

Fundamentalists Voted for Barack Obama

With the holidays and a vacation taking place over the last month, blogging kind of got put on the backburner. I am ready to get back to it though with something that has been driving me somewhat crazy for weeks.

In catching up on my podcasts from the last few weeks, I have been listening to a lot of commentary about Obama's selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. What I find most interesting is the comments by some who actively campaigned for Obama's presidency. One interview with an official of the Human Rights League (I think I got that name right), a group that seeks equal rights for the homosexual community, described Obama's selection of Warren, an opponent of the move to legalize gay marriage in California and one who has compared homosexuality to incest, as a complete betrayal of the people who worked to get Obama elected. How dare he give time to someone who has a different opinion and view on an issue than Obama himself?

Obama and Warren have both admitted that they do not agree on the issue of homosexuality. At the same time, they have also both stated that they respect the concern for the poor the other has and that they hold similar positions on several other social issues. Statements out of the Obama administration say that Obama's invitation is no different than when Warren invited Obama and McCain to come to his church to answer questions about a variety of issues.

I remember Dr. Robison James, a theology professor at the University of Richmond, once telling a classroom full of students that fundamentalism was not a set of beliefs but an attitude. It is an attitude that says "If you are not entirely with me, then you are my enemy." In our culture today, the term fundamentalist has come to be synonymous with extreme conservatism. However, isn't the statement from the Human Rights League representative of a fundamentalist attitude? Never mind the issues that Obama and Warren agree upon, they disagree on this issue, and therefore Warren is the enemy and should not be invited. I imagine that the people making this statement would rise up in anger and fervently deny being a fundamentalist. However, the reality is they are just as much a fundamentalist as John Hagee or Jerry Falwell, just with a different set of beliefs.

My point is this: if you are going to argue for acceptance and equal rights, you better make sure that you are not committing the same crime you are accusing others of committing. Fundamentalism knows no left or right.

1 comment:

Tim said...


You hit the nail on the head with Fundamentalism. It is an ideology with regards to who is in and who is out, rather than something that is "conservative" in nature.

I remember a distraught religion major who wanted to do his senior research on the unity of Isaiah, which, though not widely accepted, has some vocal proponants in scholarship. However, the professor vehemently insisted that Isaiah had three authors. Multiple authorship of Isaiah had become a "fundamental" for that professor.

Imagine when the issue is something much more serious than biblical scholarship.