I know religious fundamentalism is not a new concept in the United States. I mean we were founded upon the principles of religious freedom for those who had been persecuted back in Europe, but has religious fundamentalism gone too far in the secular United States?
I have no problem with religion, but it’s not for me. It served its purpose hundreds of years ago to keep people in line, support the elite and provide hope for a better afterlife for those who lived in mud huts and barely had enough to remain living. I suppose that is part of why religion is still very prominent in much of the developing world. Yet, religion continues to manipulate peoples’ lives in the developed world, religious leaders and Orders have attempted to remain as influential as possible. In 2007, the Catholic Church released a 36 page(!) document entitled “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road” (I kid you not). Of course this is not the only example, but it is the first one that pops into my head.
While religion attempts to maintain a strong hold, it is not doing so without popular support in some countries. Yesterday I read an article about religious reawakening and a conservative Jewish movement in Poland (Wow) that I found fascinating. This type of revivalism is non-threatening and may provide an avenue towards peace and understanding across the world, but when the revivalist movements assume violent language, the world faces a dire dilemma. In fighting fundamentalism, one must distinguish between attacking the religion and curbing the violent elements. The world has quickly learned the trouble in doing so while watching the US and our allies carrying out missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yet this dilemma is not what I want to focus on, rather I was truly disturbed with the latest fundamentalist claim stemming from the US. Fundamentalism is not reserved for the “savage” or “untamed” countries; it has rapidly developed here in our backyard. The most recent influential religious group has been the Evangelical Church. Many pundits credited the Church as the reason and source for Bush’s re-election and the current far right leaning of the Republican base. Personally, any religious organization playing a leading role in American politics is disheartening, but politics being obviously influenced by the most conservative branch of the Evangelical Church was down right scary.
The far right leaning branches of the Church are the embodiment of fundamentalist radical religious zealots cropping up in our backyard. To prove my point I have one statement for you: watch the documentary “Jesus Camp,” but specifically take notice of this (Watch Me). By the way, the name of the camp this Minister leads is called Kids on Fire School of Ministry, is this alluding to the Minister’s desires to brainwash Evangelical children into becoming suicide bombers so that her followers can be on par and compete with certain radical Islamist movements???
The latest violent religious overtures coming from the US have to do with the recent unfortunate incident at the Orlando SeaWorld. It’s horrible that a trainer was killed by a whale, especially in front of an audience, but this response is obviously going too far (EXTREME). In response to the American Family Association (somehow they think a majority or “traditional” American families support stoning animals), I’m pretty sure the Killer Whale was doing what God created it to do…KILL!!! (Or maybe Orcas evolved into killing machines which was not God’s intention when he created them…your call.) From the reports I’ve heard and read, Tilly grabbed the trainer and dragged her underwater and thrashed about violently; don’t know if you’ve ever seen a Killer Whale hunt seal (You can here – WARNING GRAPHICALLY WONDERFUL), but it seems like Tilly was acting totally naturally in the most unnatural setting for a whale. The AFA has gone way too far in calling for the stoning of Tilly, but to extend the call for a death sentence to include the curator in charge of animal behavior is ludicrous and extremely scary! If this isn’t a warning sign to the American public and government that violent fundamentalism isn’t just a foreign problem, I don’t know what is.
If any animal behavioral scientist read this, please remember to take notice and kill any captive animal that shows signs of its innate, God-given, natural instincts! I don’t want to see any of you stoned to death.