NAU-POS254-Globalization and fundamentalism
Northern Arizona University
POS 254 Political Ideologies
- 1 Globalization
- 2 Fundamentalism
- 2.1 Radical Islamism
- 2.2 Christian Fundamentalism
- 3 Notes
Globalization is a political ideology that has developed over the past 50 years. It centers on the spread of certain economic ideas that, in turn, influence political decisions throughout the world. It is the idea of one shared economic market. There are five key elements that Globalization promotes: internationalization, liberalization, universalization, westernization and the removal of economic and political territories.
There are several international institutions that have developed Globalization and continue to promote its development. These include the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and, most recently, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). These five “institutions” promote global cooperation and free trade among countries. They may also intervene to restore stability when a country experiences economic upheaval. These organizations were developed in the last 100 years in an effort to steady the world’s economy. Many advocates of these institutions believe world bodies are needed to help monitor and stabilize developing nations. Countries have become interdependent, creating a niche for bodies such as the WTO and IMF, which were created to supervise and regulate agreements. Countries join the associations in an effort to promote their own interests and become part of a more extensive trade relationship.
Freedom, Equality and Democracy
A.Globalization claims to promote freedom, equality and democracy. One of the tenants of Globalization is liberalization: the idea that barriers are removed, and free movement is permitted. Countries that promote Globalization are often democratic countries. They see Globalization as a way to promote and encourage democracy, and thereby encourage freedom. It is believed that the elimination of trade barriers will allow for free information flow and the development of equality between nations. Internationalization, universalization, and westernization are also key aspects of Globalization. All are believed to promote freedom and democracy. If each nation is working together, getting information and products from each other, barrier free, then there are no secrets between people. Arising out of globalization is the Revolutionary Social Movement or liberation movement. This movement holds certain beliefs of freedom, equality, and democracy such as:
B.The idea of this movement when it comes to freedom is mostly that similar to socialism. This revolutionary movement focuses on the strength of the movement as a whole and the individual as being small in relation to the movement as a whole. The view of the individual is that they are free to participate in the movement in a positive contributory manner. The individual is thus viewed as a worker ant in the colony of the revolution.
C. The ants of the revolution as mentioned before are seen as equals in every respect. They are seen to be wanting to share equally amongst themselves the fruits of the revolution. They see these fruits as being distributed amongst all people of the globe evenly.
D. The revolution calls for autonomy and democracy at every level. They want to see the neo-liberal days of capitalism gone. "Enclosure" is seen as one of the most powerful concepts in capitalism and the revolutions protesters see tearing down of the fences as their form of democracy and resistance to enclosure. "Those who tear down fences are part of the largest globally interconnected social movement of our time; we are the globalization of resistance."
Supporters of Globalization
Socialists, liberals, and even some conservatives find common ground in Globalization. Their common belief is that, through innovation and free markets, products and goods will become less expensive. Therefore, the world’s population will pay less to subsist, and, consequently, quality of life will improve. Terrence Ball and Richard Dagger, authors of Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal, analyze this theory. The book outlines the hopes of Globalization's proponents, saying, “They have believed, that is, that human life can and will become easier-less subject to starvation, disease, and unremitting labor-through the ‘mastery of nature’” (page 259). This mastery of nature is accomplished through technology and industry. The shared, unrestricted flow of ideas will ultimately lead to a better world. Through western influence, free trade and joining forces, we can reinvent and improve the world’s economy, and thus improve the situations much of humanity finds itself in.
Opponents of Globalization
1. Opponents of Globalization are rising. The voice against Globalization appears to be emanating from the poorer nations that genuinely feel they are being overrun for purely economic gain. This rise in protest has emerged in the last 15 years. However, the movement demonstrates diversity in that it is reaching out to people from very different backgrounds. For example, one the biggest disruptions occurred in Seattle, Washington, in 1999, during the World Trade Organization’s meeting. Protesters blocked streets for hours, causing the meeting to be delayed for some time. Other protests have occurred in Mexico, Europe, and parts of Asia. Many protesters are poor, indigenous, lower income people, but the moveent is capable of reaching out. It seeks to unite people in opposition of barriers in many forms, rather than battling a particular type of oppression.
2. Notes from Nowhere published a book in 2003 called We are Everywhere, which argues that Globalization is actually damaging the economies and lives of our world population. They showcase in the book the rise of the indigenous people in Mexico called the Zapatistas. The Zapatistas rose up against the Mexican government in protest of conditions. They didn’t want to take over the government they simply wanted their land back that had been taken from them. The movement defines itself in opposition, and, thus, can trace its roots back over centuries to acts of defiance that undermined the power of a system that oppressed some for the benefit of others. The Zapatista uprising marked a defining moment, but it was only the beginning. The real strength is in the ability of the movement to transcend boundaries. Rather, people all around the world are called together to unite against oppression of all sorts.
3. Out of this rose an entirely new movement mentioned previously. The Revolutionary Social movement. The Revolutionary Social Movement is a movement that sprang up from within the poor society of the world. It is a movement characterized by being the "globalization of resistance" according to "We Are Everywhere. In more simple terms this movement started with the Zapatistas in Mexico and has now encompassed the globe in its mission to revert from Neo-liberalism and Capitalism to a world order where everyone holds collective power instead of the few rich ruling over the many poor. This is accomplished through protests and various shutting down of important financial meetings such as the G8 and WTO meeting in Seattle.
4. The Revolutionary Social Movement started with the Zapatistas of Mexico when they rose up against the government to be heard. They fought for the right to farm the land and have their fair share of the products from the land. The people were fenced off and a few rich owned the land in Mexico leading its poor to starve. In order to free the people from this oppression indigenous rebels (Zapatistas)went up against the federal troops. They wanted autonomy and democracy stating "nothing for ourselves alone, but everything for everyone." Their battle chant was "Ya Basta1" (Enough!).
5. Many of the protesters argue they are tired of the unchecked power of capitalist organizations; rather, they want power to oppose their situation. They believe that the world’s population has simply become a commodity, and capitalism is what created this oppression. “People have grown weary of being ordered about, whether by their oppressors or their self-appointed liberators”. The poor, indigenous, and working class people simply want to govern themselves. They don’t want huge corporations making the daily decisions for them. They don’t want those same corporations making the decisions for their government. In fact one of the main concerns is the erosion of democratic power that they feel accompanies Globalization.
1. In some manner, each and every one of us has been affected by globalization. It impacts what we can buy and for how much; it impacts which jobs stay in our country and which ones end up over seas. The anti-Globalization groups profess to be against capitalism, but they use the Globalization network to organize and protest its very existence. In the book We Are Everywhere, the authors discuss the use of cell phones, internet sites, etc. to spread the word about protests, effectively organize, etc. Without these globalistic products, the movement would not be nearly as effective.
2. Protesters could be more effective in their fight against Globalization if they chose to use more serious tactics. Often protesters are dressed up in cartoonish Halloween style costumes. (We Are Everywhere mentions a crowd of Robin Hoods and Maid Meriams.) Many bystanders unaware of their cause have difficulty taking them seriously. Many see them simply as silly young hippies unaware of how the world works. In order to bring a seriousness and validity to the cause, perhaps they should consider protests that grab attention, but do so in a way that does not make a mockery of the issue they wish to bring to the public.
Globalization and Enlightenment Ideals
1. Supporters of Globalization will argue that it promotes the seven ideals of enlightenment. Through free trade, democracy and capitalism, countries support the idea of freedom of thought and separation of church and state. These freedoms will allow people to develop their own thoughts and reason, in accordance with Enlightenment ideals. This development ought to promote and embrace the democratic ideal of popular government. Through a better world, people will leave poverty behind, find success, purchase land of their own, and make decisions about their futures in accordance with their own reason and ambitions. These are all aspects of Enlightenment ideas.
2. Opponents would argue that Globalization prevents the cultivation of Enlightenment ideals. Capitalism prevents people from making their own decisions. Governments are making the economic and social decisions for many. Most people simply don’t have the liberty or freedom to choose their own path. Workers keep working and are unable to dream of a different world for them and their children.
Fundamentalism, whether based in the Christian or Islamic faiths, seeks to return to a time of purity within society. The ideology is an inseparable combination of politics and religion. It is only by reintroducing faith, in its uncorrupted form, as the basis for government and political action that society can improve.
Islam is religion developed some 1,400 years ago. Islam began around 620A.D. after the Prophet Muhammad received a revelation from the angel Gabriel. With relatively short period of time, roughly 100 years after Muhammad’s death in 632 AD, Islam had spread throughout the Middle East, parts of Europe, and northern Africa. The religion split into two factions the Sunni and Shi’ites that still remain today. Radical Islamism seeks to return the faith of Islam to its original form. It sees the present state of Islam as being corrupted by pressures to incorporate intellectual, political, and scientific developments, as well as pressures to become more accepting of Western ideas.
A. Radical Muslims identify four distinct waves of attack on their religion. Since then, they argue, they have gone on the offensive to protect themselves. It started with the Christian Crusades of 1100-1300 AD. Muslims were consistently attacked for their beliefs. The second major wave of attack was the European expansion into northern Africa and the Middle East at the end of the 1800’s and early 1900’s. The third major threat was the establishment of Israel after WWII. Muslims were upset, and continue to be angry, about the creation of Israel and the implied disregard for their Palestinian brothers. The fourth, and most recent, perceived threat is the globalization of the Middle East. The influx of western ideas, commercialism, secularism, and religious toleration.
B. Radical Islamism can be found throughout much of the Middle East, parts of Asia, and even in western countries such as Britain and the United States. Its followers have grown over the years as globalization has become more pervasive. Training camps for young followers are located throughout the Middle East. Young poor boys are often recruited to go to religious schools and are indoctrinated into the radical form of Islam.
C. Factions in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, and parts of Iraq have called for strict adherence to Islamic law. Although most Muslims believe religion is a way of life and not restricted to personal preference, the radical Islamists anchor all aspects of life in their faith. There is no separation of church and state. The two are deeply intertwined.
Freedom, Equality, and Democracy
A. Radical Islam sees freedom within the constraints of the Koran. There are now some major faces associated with Radical Islamism. One is the current president of Iran, Mahumond Ahmadinejad, and the second is Osama bin Laden. Within this tradition, there is no separation of church and state. The two are deeply intertwined. In fact, Islam calls for government to be structured in a “theocracy”, which is a form of government wherein laws and rules are developed and structured around God’s commandments. Freedom is found in Allah. By following strict laws governing dress code, religion, and social customs, Radical Islamism believes true freedom exists.
B. Equality among the people will be found when all believe in the Koran. Accordingly, those that believe will be equal to each other. However, Radical Islamism does acknowledge there is a difference of equality among men and women. Women are to be kept separate. They claim protecting them from the world’s evils is providing for their freedom and equality.
C. Democracy is viewed as an objectionable form of government. It allows too much secular, western influence, which corrupts the believer. In a capitalistic/democratic society, Allah’s laws become secondary, which is unacceptable. Islam calls for government to be structured in a “theocracy” which is a form of government wherein laws and rules are developed and structured around God’s commandments. Government must be formed and structured in accordance with God, regardless of the form of government instituted.
Voice of Radical Islamism
A. Osama Bin Laden has been an outspoken radical for several years. He is associated with the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. His brand of radicalism calls for the destruction of Israel and the United States. He sees both countries as imperialistic threats to Islam, and his reading of the Koran calls for all Muslims to fight these threats. He claims the call for “jihad”, or Holy War, in the Koran is a justification for terrorism and attacks around the globe. In February of 1998, he claimed in his article, “Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders”, that it is a Muslim’s duty to kill Americans and their allies. “The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque (Mecca) from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten nay Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah ‘and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together’, and ‘fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah’”. Bin Laden goes on to specifically direct his followers to kill Americans and take their money. He calls on all of Muslim society to take action.
B. Bin Laden makes his arguments based on the four specific instances of oppression outlined above. He sees the United States and its allies as occupying lands. They control Middle Eastern countries, corrupt their leaders and, thereby, operate according to a double standard of conduct.
C. In his “Letter to America”, dated November 23, 2002, bin Laden outlines his reasoning for fighting the US and explains the reaction he wishes of Americans. He expects absolute submission to Islam and Allah, destruction of the state of Israel, and complete withdrawal of any American personnel from the Middle East. He gives no leeway for Americans that may not agree with their leaders. By voting, he claims, you are responsible. Bin Laden develops this ideology first by pointing out the "wrong doings" of America against his people. These include the belief that America gave Palestine to the Jews, the belief that the idea that the Jews were granted Palestine in the Torah is the "biggest fallacy" in that he states, "This is one of the most fallacious, widely-circulated fabrications in history," the belief that America made other Middle Eastern countries attack them ("they use violence ans lies to prevent the establishment of Islamic Shariah, they steal Ummah's wealth, humiliate us, and place us into fear and sub-dual"), and finally the belief that the removal of these governments will be the renewal of Islam and the peaceful freedom of Ummah and the return of Shariah as the prime law. They also believe this will begin their reign over Palestine. Bin Laden clumps these beliefs together with the thought that America is the power house of all of these governments in the Middle East turning on the Muslims, and he pushes his people to the belief that the removal of these governments will lead to their ultimate renewal of peace in their lands. Osama bin Laden then goes on to explain his ideology in terms of what must be done. He proclaims that Allah demands his people to fight against their oppressors in a Jihad (Holy War) in order to get the above mentioned governments out of their land. Later he addresses what he would like America to do to ensure his ideology wins out. He states America needs to come to Islam because it is the all knowing all loving religion, and he calls America to stop the oppression of his people. The response of the Muslim people if America does not follow the demands laid out for them by Bin Laden is war. D.
D. Radical Islamism advocates terrorism in order to rid the world of "infidels". This is clearly a departure from mainstream Islam. Terrance Ball and Richard Dagger explain this justification of terrorism in their book Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal , saying, “…terrorism is permissible when it promotes the greater good of ridding the Islamic world of western ‘infidels’ and their pernicious ideas about free speech, sexual equality, and religious toleration”. (page 258).
A. Radical Islamism is expanding but may never completely take over Islam. The number of moderate mainstream Muslims far outweighs the radicals. True Islam is not radical Islam.
B. However, as long as there is poverty and unemployment in Middle Eastern countries, young men will be indoctrinated into the ideas. To combat this tendency, moderate Muslims must stand up and defend their way of life. There is a balance that can be achieved.
C. Westerners have a hard time understanding Radical Islamism. This difficulty emerges not only because Islam is a religion with which many of us are unfamiliar, but also because the violence incorporated in Radical Islam is alarming. Direct statements from the face of Radical Islamism, Osama bin Laden, which call for the destruction of America, are hard to be sympathetic to. Westerns by tradition also tend to agree with Enlightenment ideals-free thinking, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, universalism, tolerance, popular government, and capitalism. These ideals run counter to Radical Islamism.
Radical Islamism and Enlightenment
A. Radical Islamism and Enlightenment could not be further from each other. There are stark differences. Some of the tenets of Enlightenment directly oppose Radical Islamism ideas. Enlightenment calls for individual thoughts and autonomy. It calls for an environment wherein an individual can develop his or her own thoughts and desires separate from state or church influence. Through this process, an individual will begin to think on his or her own and develop as his or her own person. Freedom of thought without restrictions means an individual can develop his or her ability to reason and, thereby, progress in society. This, in turn, will create a tolerant society with free markets and capitalism. There is strong emphasis on toleration of others and freedom from institutional influence. Government is structured and run by the people, for the people.
B. Radical Islamism is the complete opposite. It believes that all decisions for the individual must originate with Allah or God. One must view the world through Islam. Islam is central, and decisions about government and the economy are decided in accordance with Islam. Islam is the absolute truth, and one must not question that authority.
Fundamentalist Christians perceive around them a world that has strayed from the moral code set out in the Bible. This is derived through a literal reading of the Bible, rather than a moderate, interpretive reading. As such, Christian Fundamentalism rejects the teaching of evolution and the dilution of Christian beliefs to fit into the mainstream. The actions of Christian fundamentalists are oriented around a return to a political climate in which morality would be perpetuated by the state. The belief system articulated within Christian fundamentalism is pervasive, influencing all aspects of life, and thus denying the separation of public and private life, church and state.
A. Christian Fundamentalists, also discussed as the Religious Right, emerged first in the years immediately following World War II but became a much more powerful force in the 1970s. This prominence can be attributed to the shifts within society that were evident in the 1960s, such as legalized abortion, increased use of drugs, high divorce rates, and riots. Christian fundamentalists saw a return to morality as the only way society could right itself. This code of morality is derived from Biblical teachings, and, thus, demands a closer relationship between church and state.
B. Christian fundamentalists differ from most conservatives in several ways. First, in order to institute policies that adhered to the Biblical code of morality, Christian fundamentalists would advocate the expansion of government powers. Secondly, they wish to have the United States legally recognized as a Christian country, despite the Constitution's point of separating church and state. Some recognize this issue and advocate that it be solved by amending the Constitution to include this Christian classification. Finally, there are several Christian fundamentalists who have distinguished themselves from other conservatives by blaming those elements of society that do not fit into their idea of morality for certain disasters (e.g. September 11 and Hurricane Katrina). This is not to say that all Christian Fundamentalists share that particular trait, but remarks such as those create a defining moment.
Freedom, Equality and Democracy
A. Christian fundamentalism supports freedom insofar as it does not interfere with morality. The Bible establish parameters within which people are free to act. Since the Bible establishes absolute truths, there are issues upon which the Christian fundamentalist has very little latitude even in thought. Subscribing to the beliefs of the Christian worldview necessarily impacts many other aspects of thought and action. Therefore, a Christian fundamentalist's perception of the world is unable to accept many opinions in their own right because it involves denying the absolute truth of some one or other of their own beliefs. Moreover, if freedom of expression endangers the morality of people within a country, it seems that Christian fundamentalists advocate suppression. Morality supersedes the desire to have freedom for its own sake.
B. With regard to equality between genders, Christian fundamentalism does not seem to accept the premise of equality. The religious right has storied the family as composed of men and women having very clear-cut, traditional roles. The man is the head of his house, ultimate decision-maker, while the woman is the nurturer and care-giver. The fact that they have absolute truths means that they believe they are right to trample the rights and freedoms of those who do not share their beliefs. Other beliefs are wrong, and therefore not on the same level. Rhetorically, it sees like Christian Fundamentalists often speak of equality under God, but I don't think the speech holds up in practice. Some of the pivotal beliefs involved in the Christian fundamentalist ideology simply don't condone ideology.
C. Christian Fundamentalism advocates democracy so long as the democracy is being run by a moral majority of Christians. If the decision is between a democracy that will not be run in accordance with God's will and a non-democracy that fits into God's will, the choice will be the non-democracy. Therefore, this value in not central to the Christian Fundamentalist's ideology. It is a secondary issue that will depend first on the morality at work in a political system.
Voice of Christian Fundamentalism
A. Del Tackett, President of the Focus on the Family Institute and spokesperson of the Truth Project, articulates the worldview of the fundamentalist Christian. This worldview shapes the way that its subscribers perceive and interact with the world. It is the lens through which they are able to make sense of life. Everyone uses some sort of worldview to interpret life, and this perception shapes the reaction that every person has to everything he or she comes into contact with. The "Biblical Worldview," as Tackett terms it, is tied to eight beliefs: 1) absolute moral truths do exist, 2) absolute truth is defined by the Bible, 3) Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, 4) God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe, and He still rules today, 5) salvation is a gift from God that cannot be earned, 6) Satan is real, 7) a Christian has the responsibility to share his or her faith in Christ with others, and 8) the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings. It is these beliefs that are supposed to be clearly evident in every aspect of the fundamentalist Christian's daily life. The Christian Fundamentalist sees the secular world as an environment hostile to his or her faith. Therefore, subscribers to this belief system cannot live their worldview passively, but must take active measures to live up to their faith. It is through actions and decisions that beliefs are manifest. In the case of the Biblical worldview, this means that there is only one acceptable stance on certain controversial issues. The Christian Fundamentalist, operating under the worldview Tackett articulates, will take a united stance when dealing with "abortion, same-sex marriage, cloning, stem-cell research and even media choices." It is a pervasive belief system that demands absolutes from its adherents.
B. Paul Hill's "Defending the Defenseless" articulates a stance against abortion that demands action to combat evils that the state has authorized. Paul Hill was the first person in the United States to be executed for the murder of an abortion provider, and the article details his decisions and actions leading up to, during, and following the murder of the abortionist and his escort, Jim Barrett. Hill progresses from defending the actions of other individuals who have taken it upon themselves to prevent the murder of children by attacking the person performing the abortion, equating these abortionists to Nazi concentration camp "doctors". He asserts that not committing the murder is insufficient. Rather, people have an obligation to prevent abortion through violent means. God grants people the right to rebel against their governments to do His will, but Hill notes that many are too afraid of acting outside the bounds of legality to take the moral high ground. This defense threads its way through his narrative of the days leading up to his crime. It is the rationale beyond a coldly calculating description of the plan for, and moments of, the shooting. It appears again as the judge prevents him from, in Hill's perception, putting abortion on trial. It is even inherent as he accepts the death penalty, believing that his death will prove a rallying point for others who are willing to risk much to save the innocent. His argument is that, for those who believe that abortion is murder, the next logical step is to protect those children by force, taking one life in order to save many.
C. Jerry Falwell's "The Left's Hidden Agenda" advocates an America in which the Church is an integral part of state. The United States is a state founded on Christian values, values articulated by most of our Presidents, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, various state charters, articles of confederation and state documents. Christianity is ingrained in American identity and cannot be separated from American life. He blames interest groups, Federal judges and the media for creating an environment that rejects the traditions that have so long been part of America. Falwell portrays the legal decisions that have taken measures to better separate church and state (e.g. eliminating Bible reading and prayers from public schools, removing the Ten Commandments from courtrooms, legalizing abortion, banning manger scenes in public places, declared the Pledge of Allegiance "unconstitutional", etc...) as "undermining America's traditional values, revising our children's history books and attempting to re-shape our nation into the secular image of China, Russia and other godless states." Falwell highlights the role of the judiciary branch in this "undermining", claiming that the courts have overstepped their authority. He says that judges have begun "legislating instead of interpreting", relying on the example of European countries instead of drawing on the US Constitution. This would allow judges to effectively bypass the traditional Christian values that Falwell claim are a critical component of America's defining documents. Jerry Falwell advocates action. He demands that Americans impeach the judges who have usurped authority that ought not be theirs, and that Christian fundamentalists unite to place certain key issues beyond the reach of the judiciary. He feels that the only course through which "polygamy, common law marriage, group marriage, bestiality and same-sex marriage" will continue to be denied by the courts is if they become a part of the constitution. This interpretation of the trends in court rulings push Christian fundamentalists into offensive positions, taking action to prevent the further erosion of the values they hold as central to life.
A. In Tackett's argument, regarding absolute truths resulting from Biblical readings, it seems that interpretation is necessary in order to apply the Bible in the sweeping manner advised. Interpretation of the Bible seems likely to be fallible, even if the Bible itself is not. If everyone's interpretation of the Bible were the same, different Christian denominations and sects would not have developed over time. Thus, it seems flawed to expect even those who subscribe to all eight beliefs to reach the same conclusion on matters like abortion and stem cell research, which the Bible does not directly deal with. Taking a stance on issues that have developed as a reaction to technological advancement require the Christian to extrapolate based on principles found in the Bible, but that extension is just one human's flawed understanding.
B. If one believes, as Hill obviously does, that abortion is murder, Hill's argument is valid. How does one stand by and watch a child be killed by a mass murderer? A murderer who is paid for the job he does? However, Hill's action is short-sighted. Not only will there be more doctors to take the place of the abortionist he killed, but Hill alienates those whose stance on abortion is undecided. He would be better off taking more moderate tactics to help create a movement that might eventually do away with abortion altogether. People who don't necessarily believe in abortion but respect a woman's right to choose hear stories like this and shy away from the pro-life side of the issue. Additionally, while killing the abortionist might make sense from a numbers stand point, the abortionist is really the paid assassin. Isn't it the mothers who are actually the murderers? However, I've never heard about a woman getting shot on her way out of the abortion clinic. I'm not saying killing either one is right, but Hill's argument seems flawed in this matter.
C. This argument begins with the premise that the only moral values that ought be upheld in the United States are those of mainstream Christianity. Rather than the state leaving people free to practice religion, Falwell advocates the state enforcing the moral code of a particular religion (i.e. theocracy). This country was founded by religious dissenters, people who wanted freedom to practice the religion of their choice without interference from the state. It seems Falwell is ignoring an important part of American tradition. Secondly, the Ball and Dagger book is quite clear about the only mention of religion in the Constitution being a negative one demanding separation of church and state. It seems that Falwell is willfully ignoring the words that the judges have interpreted in order to reach the decisions he's complaining about. America may have been forged within a Christian context, but it seems like he is leaving out some major goals that the founding fathers had for this country.
Christian Fundamentalism and Enlightenment
On nearly all counts, Christian Fundamentalism appears to reject the ideals established by Enlightenment thinkers. Whereas history in Enlightenment ideology is progressive, history for the Christian fundamentalist is apocalyptic. The world is slipping gradually toward disaster, and the emphasis is on life beyond this earth. Enlightenment ideology emphasizes the importance of separating the state from faith, whereas fundamentalists require faith to form the cornerstone of the state. Without this reliance upon divine wisdom the state is weak and the people will stray from doing what is right. Similarly, Christian fundamentalism does not place the same emphasis on tolerance for diversity of opinion within society because the Bible has set out specific, absolute truths. These truths, by nature of being held infallible, invalidate those opinions with which they are in conflict. These truths are also applied to many aspects of life, which means that other opinions that do not fall in line with the implications will also have less value. The Enlightenment demanded reason to be the basis of decision and action, whereas Christian fundamentalism returns to the position that Enlightenment thinkers were reacting to, establishing faith as the most important factor in decision-making. Whereas the Enlightenment placed incredible importance on the economic system with reference to politics, Christian fundamentalism subordinates economics to faith. The health of a country is less dependent upon its economy than its accordance with God's will. Similarly, the individual's ability to act freely is constrained by his or her adherence to the Biblical moral code. As discussed with reference to freedom in the above section, individual autonomy must operate within firmly established parameters. Finally, where the Enlightenment placed great value on self-governance and popular government, the process of governance is less important with respect to Christian fundamentalism. The results produced by the government in question (specifically, whether they fall into the Christian tradition being preserved) are more important than the system that brings that government to power. As we can see, Christian fundamentalism counters Enlightenment thinking on all fronts and often returns to the tradition to which the Enlightenment was reacting.
Notes From Nowhere Collective "We Are Everywhere" Osama bin Laden, "Letter To The American People" Osama bin Laden, "Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders" Add notes, references and edit categories here