Fundamentalism Goes The Way of the Macarena

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 9:43 EDT
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Cheesy American evangelical culture, it seems, was a trend that swept America but now that people are beginning to realize it’s not a good look, they’re quietly putting it away and pretending in never happened. It’s like the Macarena, except hateful to women, gays, and science. Or that’s the argument being offered by Daniel D’Addario in Salon, in a piece about how Tim Tebow might be the last openly fundamentalist (which is what he really means, since there are openly evangelical celebrities who aren’t necessarily aligned with the Christian right) mainstream celebrity—and he just got shitcanned. (Already, you’re seeing whining about this from fundies who believe white Christians are an oppressed minority.) Part of the problem with the “brand” appears to be, you know, the hate issue. D’Addario quotes pastor John S. Dickerson, who is quite whiny about it:

“The culture has turned the corner, specifically on the conflict between the LGBT movement, if you call it a movement, and the evangelical movement, if you  call it a movement. Evangelicals have invited this, but they’re being typecast. The cultural view of the new America is that the biblical view of homosexual sex is backward, the stuff of cavemen or the Ku Klux Klan, ” Dickerson said. He noted that the recent ban on “reparative therapy” in California may sound a death knell for evangelicals’ influence.

Or perhaps its that fundamentalists seem wholly incapable of understanding how their weird, prudish bigotry sounds to people who aren’t immersed in their culture. For instance, in just this quote alone, you can tell that Dickerson is a first class asshole, even in you know nothing else about him. Let’s just count the infractions against basic human decency in this comment:

  1. Claiming that the fate of an entire religious movement rests on their ability to make false claims that abusive reprogramming tactics constitute “therapy”. Sorry, but the government has a right to ban unsafe medical and psychological practices, even if you pretend they are “therapy”. You’re also not allowed to have “headship therapy” where women are beaten and emotionally abused until they learn to accept the doctrine of wifely submission, either.
  2. Claiming that you’re being “typecast” and then playing exactly to type. Being accurately described is not typecasting. Just because you don’t like what you see in the mirror doesn’t mean the mirror is out to get you.
  3. The phrase “the biblical view of homosexual sex” being bandied, as if the issue here was your right to privately disapprove of other people’s sexual practices, when in fact the issue here is that you’re trying to use the government to strip away people’s rights based on your arbitrary religious beliefs.
  4. “if you call it a movement”: That’s the kind of blather you get from someone who is so busy acting the victim and arguing in bad faith that he employs those tactics even when it’s not necessary. You get the feeling he says things like, “Pass the salt, please, if you’re not too busy being the Bloomberg nanny-state police to do so.”

All that said, the Macarena still lives on at wedding receptions and fundamentalists aren’t going anywhere, even if they’re learning to tone it down a little in public. The right has mastered the art of periodic remodels of bigotry to make it seem more palatable, once the public figures out their game. Witness the evolution of racist tactics from open support of segregation to white flight to freakouts about “welfare queens” and whining that white people are victims of affirmative action. They’re in the remodeling stage right now, and I suspect we’re going to see a new face for the homophobia and misogyny rationalized by religion that marks American fundamentalism soon enough.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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