PostHeaderIcon The Defensive Culture War

I am involved in an interesting discussion on a conservative site frequented by Christian fundamentalists. This morning, a fellow named Rich made a comment suggesting that the Left is waging a “war against Christians,” and that political activism by the religious Right, is “most always” to counter that. It inspired me to share a unique perspective I have, as a non-combatant in the culture war raging across our land, who has communicated extensively with participants in both camps. I think it is worth sharing with a wider audience, so it follows:


The tragedy, Rich, is that most of those on the Left think they too, are playing defense. I spent a couple of years back in ’07 and ’08, frequenting freethinker forums, which were mostly populated with insufferable ACLU type atheist activists. There, I essentially played the opposite role that I have here. I referred to myself as a godless redneck heathen, and defended the traditional American culture extant in flyover country. I was as much an enigma there as I am here.

Here, my patriotism and more or less conservative political views, generally resonate; but my lack of faith, and unabashed willingness to challenge Christian dogma, is confusing and consternating to most. There, I passed their godless test; but my unabashed willingness to defend Judeo-Christian culture, and challenge their equally dogmatic Politically Correct ideology, drove them nuts. Thus, I can report with some authority, that they are irrationally afraid of the Piously Correct agenda.

While flawed in their support of government coercion, for the purposes of redistributing wealth for ‘social justice,’ they are fulsome in their support for civil rights for all mankind, and adamant in their insistence that government stay the hell out of their personal lives. In this, I was in full agreement, although I took pains to point out their inconsistencies, and insist that I wanted government to also stay out of my personal pocketbook.

You are wrong to characterize their agenda as a ‘war on Christians.’ I can understand your misapprehension, since you are a Christian; but they could really care less which god you worship. Theirs is a campaign against fundamentalism. They seldom refer to you folks as Christians in their discussions. They regularly employ the word ‘fundie’ instead, which is a mildly derisive term for ‘fundamentalist.’ They make no distinction between Jews, Christians, Muslims, or any other doctrinaire religion, a fundie is a fundie.

Based on the rhetoric emanating from the spokesmen for the Religious Right (e.g. Falwell, Robertson, Dobbs, et al), they equate you folks (not without some justification) with the Taliban fundamentalists. Since they demand personal freedom for themselves, they are very tolerant of the lifestyle choices of others, who are doing them no harm (as am I). The specter of Taliban-like religious police, acting under the color of law, to force gays back into their closets, etc. is repugnant and truly frightening to them.

It really makes no difference if you and I find that fear irrational, it is real for them, and they intend to defend against it, by all means available. I tried very hard to disabuse them of the possibility; but I was drowned out by the foolish public rhetoric of your spokesmen, and that found in the comments on most any conservative website. So, to repeat, you both think you are playing defense against a dastardly agenda, by an aggressive foe.

There, like here, I tried to sell the principle of federalism, which is enshrined in our Constitution, where community standards were a local matter, rather than established nationally and enforced by the Federal government. I didn’t have any more success there than here, with that suggestion to return to our original Constitutional limits on Federal power, to interfere in the daily lives of individual citizens. The reason why, is inexplicable to me.

As I always enjoyed pointing out, fundamentalism is not restricted to religious doctrine. By definition, it also applies to political doctrine. Whether they like to admit it or not, these intransigent Leftists are fundies, too. For over five years now, I have been frequently posing the following question, to fundies on both sides of the culture war. “Would you agree to allow those living on the other side of our country, to choose their own local community standards and stay out of their affairs, if they would agree not to try to impose them on your community?”

Stunningly, not once have I received a direct answer to that question from a fundie. It is either ignored, or dismissed as unworkable. The reason why they find it unworkable, is an open question. Are they truly on defense, and distrust their dastardly opponents to keep such an agreement? Or, are there perhaps nonnegotiable components of their agenda, which they insist on imposing on everybody else, Constitutional prohibitions be damned? Perhaps you would like to be the first to offer a straight answer, and your rationale behind it. 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

2 Responses to “The Defensive Culture War”

  • Chris says:

    Very on point Dave. The problem does not reside with the “fundies” on either side but with a central government willing to cater too and address the issues at all. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and everyone has the right to express that opinion and effect anyone receptive to their point of view. The right they do not have is to expect a central government to force that point of view nation wide. Gay marriage is a good example. Generally marriage is regulated at county levels. Records are kept at county levels and it’s county level courts that litigate marital disputes. Why would or should the federal government presume to decide who can marry? Why would or should communities abdicate that authority to them in light of the fact that they are responsible for every other aspect of the marriage contract?

    I got a bit off topic but I wanted to illustrate that it’s not the opinions that are the problem. It’s not even the level of passion for those issues. It’s where the parties try and address them and the more than willingness of the central government to use the issues to their advantage in their quest for control.

  • Troy says:

    As usual, you are totally correct. You also surely know that you would do as well to have this conversation with a telephone pole, brick wall or other such. The fact is that they (the religious) have a “book”. A magic book that is, one that contains the answer to any and all questions, if only you know how to use it (oddly, many folk think the concept of “cut and paste” started with the computer age — but, I digress). As I indicated, said book only works for the supposedly “godly” among us because, I have tried to read it only to find a bunch of pseudo-historical myths written in such a fanciful language as to be impossible to derive any real sense from. Indeed, I find Alice In Wonderland a far better source of real wisdom and insight. I guess I am fundamentally not fundamental.


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