Saturday, January 07, 2006

What he said

A couple of days ago, Bill Ehlig shared a powerful quote with me from a former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. It was an excerpt from Carter’s recently published book entitled Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis (pp.34-35). Carter said (and quite well):
“Almost invariably, fundamentalist movements are led by authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others and, within religious groups, have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women and to dominate their fellow believers.

“Although fundamentalists usually believe that the past is better than the present, they retain certain self-beneficial aspects of both their historic religious beliefs and of the modern world.

“Fundamentalists draw clear distinctions between themselves, as true believers, and others, convinced that they are right and that anyone who contradicts them is ignorant and possibly evil.

“Fundamentalists are militant in fighting against any challenge to their beliefs. They are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal or even physical abuse against those who interfere with the implementation of their agenda.

“Fundamentalists tend to make their self-definition increasingly narrow and restricted, to isolate themselves, to demagogue emotional issues, and to view change, cooperation, negotiation, and other efforts to resolves differences as signs of weakness.

“To summarize, there are three words that characterize this brand of fundamentalism: rigidity, domination, and exclusion.”
Food for thought, isn’t it?