Saturday, June 11, 2005


June 11, 2005, NY TIMES,

Zealots at the Air Force Academy

In an overdue burst of candor, the superintendent of the Air Force Academy has acknowledged that his campus is so permeated with evangelical proselytizing that it will take years to rid the institution of religious intolerance. Lt. Gen. John Rosa Jr. said he finds the problem of cadets unfairly pressured to adopt Christian beliefs and practices occurring throughout "my whole organization," with offenders among faculty, staff and students.

"Perception is reality," the general apologetically declared of numerous complaints that cadets' constitutional rights have been violated by militant evangelists wielding peer pressure with the blessing of authority figures in the chain of command.

In a meeting with concerned Jewish civilians, General Rosa said recently that the problem is "something that keeps me awake at nights," and that he even had to reprimand his second in command, a born-again Christian, for fervidly pressuring cadets. One campus chaplain went so far as to warn hundreds of cadets that those "not born again" would "burn in the fires of hell," according to campus interviews by the Yale Divinity School. In an authorized study, Yale investigators concluded the problem was rife.

Yet the superintendent's admission was the Air Force's most honest acknowledgment of how bedeviled the campus is. "If everything goes well, it's probably going to take six years to fix it," General Rosa estimated. The problem, however, is that all is not going well. Reforms were promised last year, but were compromised by heavy-handed editing from the Air Force's chief chaplain.

When Capt. MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran chaplain, dared to complain of cadets being abused by "systemic and pervasive" proselytizing, the Air Force transferred her to Asia. General Rosa should bring the major back if he is serious about the cleanup.

An inspector general's report is promised soon from the Air Force. But it will take much more prodding, especially civilian pressure from President Bush, Congress and taxpayers, to undo the damage and restore the separation of church and state as a showcase principle at the academy.

NY TIMES, JUNE 11, 2005

Can you imagine the Religious Right in the White House doing ANYTHING about this abuse of human rights in our premier military academies? How do we know it is not prevalent in other military settings?

Comment and discussion?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Web Sources for "fundamentalism"

Web sources for “Fundamentalism”

Good history of fundamentalism rise in the United States.

The Wikipedia is another good online source:

Here you will see the Scolfield name connected with dispensationalists -
popular in the rural and conservation churches of the South because of his
study bible.

Francis Schaeffer The Christian Manifesto was the
book stating the position that many fundamentalists took.

C W. Hodge (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Princeton University,
Calvanism) Interesting
comparison of hodge and Grenz (Postmodernist)

Benjamin B. Warfield - This was the name I was struggle for.

This is a great page for browsing.

This is the common ground for most informed fundamentalists.

Comparisons and differences of Reform and Fundamental theology

Comments and discussion invited.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Fundamentalism: prevalence, types, overview.

Fundamentalism, in its many varieties of religious enthusiasm, is in the process of destroying civility today--our ability to get along with each other in trust and cooperation, possibly even our civilization. We seem to have reached a turning flashpoint of using religious faith to divide the world into “us” and “them.” We are willing to stereotype those who disagree with us as dangerous and even as “anti-faith,” anti-American,” and “anti-patriotic.” Are there healthy and unhealthy forms of fundamentalism?

In this country, politicians are willing to wade into any situation where they find political gain by asserting supposedly religious values, such as in the recent Terri Shiavo case. Religion is being used to divide the electorate, not only by many religious groups, but even by the White House itself, all in “God’s name.” Overseas, religious extremists so read their scriptures to obtain the mandate to strap explosives on themselves in order to kill as many of their brothers and sisters as possible in order to make a socio-politico-religious statement. They believe this suicidal assassination of innocent countrymen gains salvation and eternal reward for their sacrifice.

I want to distinguish several types of religious fundamentalism, several ways of affirming the fundamentals, or the basic truths of an ideology. There are other kinds of fundamentalism, for example, in science and other disciplines, e.g., holding firmly to certain truths even in the face of contrasting evidence. Einstein’s holding to the classical scientific view that the universe was fixed and static even in the face of his own mathematics until he finally looked through the Hubble telescope to discover the expanding universe would be an example. He later regarded this obstinance as his greatest scientific error.

Perhaps the easiest religious fundamentalism to understand is the extremist type, although it is also the most challenging to deal with, as it is a type of fanaticism. Secondly is a literalist fundamentalism that insists that every word in the Bible is the infallible Word of God and must be under any circumstances Divinely inspired. Thirdly, a radical fundamentalism seeks to return to the “roots’ say of the real message of Jesus as opposed to what organized religion has done with Jesus. We intend to describe each, with its limits, and make some suggestions for a remedy.

I have already addressed the first two types in an article published some ten years ago titled “The Ultimate Temptation.” I suggested that for the religious person those types of fundamentalism are a form of stealth idolatry. That is, instead of accepting faith as a divine gift, they have a sense of entitlement or ownership of the faith vision that permits and even encourages the judging of others as further from the Divine Light than they are. They even judge the motives of others who think, feel and believe differently as insincere. This article may be found elsewhere on my blog on the Human Shadow. There is also other posting there that addresses religious extremism. Here I intend to distinguish healthy from unhealthy fundamentalism, and offer some criteria for the reader. A second article already addresses this issue somewhat “What is a psychologically healthy spirituality?” which is can be found in numerous places on the web and also in my blogs.

What is an extremist fundamentalism?
What is a literalist fundamentalism?
What is a radical fundamentalism?
Is a civil fundamentalism possible?
Do we need a global ethic for our survival as a species?
The context in all these questions is religious faith.