Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why We Must All Step Up to Fight Fundamentalism

"Je Suis Charlie" has become a rallying cry for
for free speech and against fundamentalists since last week
s terror attack.  
A video has gone viral this weekend that shows some right wing "religious" preacher bragging.

This so called pastor was proud about the time he punch a kid hard in the chest to make him comply with his word, which he thinks is God's word.  

Yeah, he's a real peach.

Here's the video of this idiot, and then I'll talk about why this guy crystalizes everything that's wrong with all forms of fundamentalism:

A telling passage in this nut's talk comes when he notes the kid he assaulted was bright. This jerk, Eric Damman of Bible Baptist Church in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., in his video said. "Ben was a bright kid, which didn't help things. It made him even more dangerous."

Bingo! This guy in one sentence explains fundamentalism. Not religion, mind you, but fundamentalism.

The main rule of thumb for virtually all fundamentalists is any independent thought, or any deviation from their sick orthodoxy is to be met with violence and repression, and not any kind of intellectual persuasion.

It's all because fundamentalists tend to be stupid. Intentionally stupid.

It's too painful, too much work, apparently to think anything through. So they resort to some strange harsh, by the books ideology. Maybe the pain of that harsh ideology somehow feels good to them?

Well, knock yourself out, fundamentalists, if you like that sort of thing.

Of course, no fundamentalist would dream of just wallowing in his own misery. They have to spread it. That's where the problems come in.

Yes, I get it, this jerk in New Jersey who hit the kid can't be compared to those Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who go around killing anyone they don't think adheres to their quote, unquote ideology.

He assaulted a kid, but sure as heck didn't commit mass murder.

He can't be compared to those killer terrorists, except in one respect: Both seem to agree any form of intellectualism is bad. Asking questions, any questions, is bad. Independent thought is bad. Saying, even thinking outside their narrow orthodoxy is bad.
Three of these four people are dead, their twisted, violent
fundamentalist voices forever gone, thank goodness.
As for the other fundamentalists out there, we'll combat
their hate of free speech with more free speech. 

That's why the Jersey jerk probably hit Ben, that poor kid. The kid was smart. He was probably asking questions. Challenging our "pastor."  The pastor couldn't reason with the kid, because he has no reason, so he decked the teen.

You can tell how proud he is of that. I also sure as hell bet the kid he hit wasn't led to the Lord, at least Jersey Jerk's lord, as the preacher says. I just hope he's OK. The kid, not the Jersey Jerk.

Fundamentalists live in a small little blank world of their own making. It's an awful place to be, I'm sure, which is probably why they insist that everyone else need to be locked in that hell with them.

They can't stand the sight of anyone experiencing joy, or fun, or interest, or something new, or engagement, or something that makes them learn, or something that satisfies their curiosity, or

For most people, adherence to these fundamentalist nutcases would be excruciatingly jail-like.

But for a small minority of people in the world, those fundamentalists who twist and torture and really violate the peaceful tenets of Christianity, of Islam, of Judaism and other religions, are going to continue to lash out at those of us, the vast majority of the world, who actually think for themselves.

We know the Paris attacks by so called Islamic terrorists were not isolated. It happens a lot.  Just ask the unfortunate people in Syria and Iran victimized by ISIS.

The jerk from Jersey isn't an isolated incident either.

We have "religious" nutcases in the United States suggesting parents beat up their four year old kids if you think they're acting gay. An Arizona "pastor" thinks the way to banish AIDS from the world is to kill all gays.

If you want a film fest of hate, watch the videos of Bryan Fischer who is some sort of head honcho of some outfit called the American Family Association.

Most of the world's fundamentalists are right-wing, but the right doesn't have a lock on this crowd. There's left wingers as well. You know, the type who, instead of lobbying for anti-environmental policies, burn down housing developments and laboratories, and vandalize scientific or corporate experiments.

I'm not advocating that we shut these guys up, right wing or left wing. Quite the opposite in fact. Yes, if they act violently or harass somebody, charge 'em with a crime.

But if they keep blathering on about their "religious" ideology, let them. The old saw that says the best antidote to excesses of free speech is more free speech is an excellent one. It's our duty - all of us - to rebut people who make all these fundamentalist claims and statements.

As I said before, there's big differences between the assholes in Paris who shot all those people at the satirical magazine, and in that Jewish deli and some nutcase "pastor" in that New Jersey suburb.

No matter what their stripe or propensity to violence or not, there are a lot of fundamentalists out there. Ranging from the garden variety right wing American pastor all the way up to mad bombers who think nothing of killing several hundred people at one time with a big bombing.

The good news, of course, there's a lot more of us than there are of them.

The rules for us on how to combat fundamentalism are pretty simple. We stand up for ideas, questions, alternative theories, satire, comedy, political arguments and all that jazz, even if some of it offends us. We stand for all these as often as we possibly can.

We don't have to like or embrace anything that offends us, but we have to let it exist. That includes religions we don't like. As long as those religions don't violently lash out at the rest of us, or try to suppress us.  
Some of the more than million people who
marched through Paris Sunday, standing for free speech
and against repressive fundamentalism.  

As I write this, more than a million people are marching through the streets of Paris, offering an answer to those who would deny our freedom, our right to think, to question dogma. Some of the marchers are heads of state from around the world.

Other large demostrations have happened or are scheduled in major cities throughout the world.


Often, this type of response to fundamentalism requires no bravery at all. I jumped on the bandwagon last week of saying on social media. "Je Suis Charlie," in solidarity to that satirical magazine that was so horribly attacked in Paris.

My action was tiny, required absolutely zero bravery and won't make any difference by itself. But if everybody joins in, like those million plus people marching through Paris, it will show the fundamentalists what kind of world they really live in.

By the way, the French government says this is the largest mass demonstration in the country's history.

So there, fundamentalists! It show the fundamentalists that their hate, their stupidity, won't win.

Sometimes the resistance against fundamentalism will take great bravery, like the good Muslim store employee in Paris, who secretly hid people who were in that store in a basement refrigerator, escaped, then told police what was going on at the store.

That guy's actions led to a solution to the crisis that would have been a lot bloodier if not for his bravery.

Whether it be a violent terrorist attack with lots of bloodshed, or some idiot in the United States claiming that somehow, two people who love each other are suppressing their supposed "religion" and must be stopped we need to speak up.

We need to speak up against anyone who would stop comedy or satire with bullets. Even if that satire or comedy is kinda stupid. We need to speak up for science, for reality, for discovery, for questions, for answers, for creativity, for newness, for fresh thought, for life.


Fundamentalism isn't going to go away. It's always going to be a problem. But it won't win, as long as the rest of us with our loud voices, our worn out computer keyboards, our over-used pens and our filled-to-capacity cameras don't ever shut up. No matter what.  

These are our voices.

So use them.

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