Friday, January 21, 2011

Attention America - No Such Thing As A Catholic Fundamentalist

There was an update to the rather absurd comments a journalist make abroad about how scary Catholics are taking over the U.S Military. The Washington Post has New Yorker's Hersh sparks anger, puzzlement with remarks on military 'crusaders'.

However the article has got me on a rant for another reason.

...In a speech this week in Doha, Qatar, Hersh advanced the notion that U.S. military forces are directed and dominated by Christian fundamentalist "crusaders" bent on changing "mosques into cathedrals."

Now I am not blaming the Washington Post here for using the word Fundamentalist. Tough the media has played a large role in abusing the term of any proper meaning over the decades.

......Further, Pentagon sources say there is little evidence of a broad fundamentalist conspiracy within the military. Although there have been incidents in which officers have proselytized subordinates, the military discourages partisan religious advocacy.......

Now as you can see in the article this is about Catholic groups. If the Pentagon source used the term "fundamentalist" then OK. However if not the Washington Post really does not need to contribute to the confusion here by using that term

Back to Hersh

"I'm comfortable with the idea that there is a great deal of fundamentalism in JSOC. It's growing and it's empirical. . . . There is an incredible strain of Christian fundamentalism, not just Catholic, that's part of the military."
He called his "angry black man" comment about Obama a "figure of speech, a cliche" that his audience, consisting primarily of American expatriates, laughed at. The speech was sponsored by Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, which has a campus in Qatar

It is something that at a School with a Catholic connection that this utter ignorance on many levels were uttered.

In the American context fundamentalist has a SPECIFIC context. It should not be used to replace words such as "Traditional", "Orthodox", etc. Also being a strain of theological and Christian thought one should perhaps I think avoid using the term as many do as something bad.

So we really should not see things as "Those Fundamentalist Catholics that like the Latin Mass" or those "Fundamentalist Anglicans becoming Catholic because of women priests" or those "Fundamentalist Catholics that are against Gay marriage" or in this case "those Fundamentalist Knights of Malta and Opus Dei Catholic folks".

Get Religion like me hates the way this term is used. For just one instance see The word is evangelical, not fundamentalist .

They also went big into the topic atPlea for journalism fundamentals (updated) They quote this from the APA stylebook which says:

The word gained usage in an early 20th century fundamentalist-modernist controversy within Protestantism. In recent years, however, fundamentalist has to a large extent taken on pejorative connotations except when applied to groups that stress strict, literal interpretations of Scripture and separation from other Christians. In general, do not use fundamentalist unless a group applies the word to itself.

Exactly!! Now I am not faulting the Washington Post here. However the media had played no small role in letting people confuse this term .Worse they have enabled a strain of American theological thought to be used to qualify in a negative way all sort of things.

End of rant.

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