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Comments

  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    November 10, 2009

    I recently read “The Family” and it is terrifying. These people (evangelicals and right wing conservatives) need to be weeded out of American life.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2009

    I’m reading the family now.

  3. #3 Mandrake
    November 10, 2009

    Are fundamentalists and evangelicals the same thing? Do those terms both refer to Protestants?

  4. #4 Stephanie Z
    November 10, 2009

    Mandrake, while the evangelical movement in the U.S. has largely been the product of fundamentalist Protestant sects, and thus has a very large overlap, they don’t all have to be the same.

  5. #5 Mandrake
    November 10, 2009

    Thanks, Stephanie. Being a secular/agnostic/something Jew, I’m not really familiar with how the various flavors of Protestantism differ, including fundamentalist and evangelical.

  6. #6 chris
    November 10, 2009

    How would you differentiate the two terms? I guess I know there’s a difference but can’t articulate what it is. I’m curious.

  7. #7 Stephanie Z
    November 10, 2009

    Chris, evangelical generally refers to spreading the Word; fundamentalist generally refers to biblical literalism (in Christianity). Admittedly, both have become movements of their own, which means they may not quite follow those principles as much as do what the next guy does, but that’s the big difference.

  8. #8 havoc
    November 10, 2009

    Chris, evangelical generally refers to spreading the Word; fundamentalist generally refers to biblical literalism (in Christianity). Admittedly, both have become movements of their own, which means they may not quite follow those principles as much as do what the next guy does, but that’s the big difference.

    I’d agree with this. To give you examples, the Ted Haggard like ‘mega churches’ would be evangelical. Fundamentalists would be more like southern baptists, the holiness movement, etc.

  9. #9 Cath the Canberra Cookcan
    November 11, 2009

    We have evangelical Anglicans here – they are not fundamentalists or bibical literalists; but they do focus a lot on recruiting.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    November 11, 2009

    Historically, the word “Evangelical” is synonymous with “Protestant” and refers specifically to Christians who deny the authority of the pope, believe firmly in the four gospels, and go along with the reformation. (The word Evangelical and Gospel have similar origins and mean “good news” as in spread the good news about Jesus Christ, etc.)

    Currently, the word “Evangelical” has a range of meanings. It means “Proselyting” (spreading the “good word”) to many people, and little more, or it means a certain set of religious traits including: Religion is personally important (belief = devotion) day to day (thus the “praise god” in every paragraph trait, the use of “blessed” etc etc. not just as a habit but as part of the religious practice… see the “I beleive I believe” thread); rebaptism or being “born again,” a fundementalist interpretation of the bible, meaning (in part) an assumption of truth and accuracy in the actual writings (thus young earth creationism … a US Evangelical who does not believe in Noah’s flood, etc. is committing a sin), etc.etc.

    The word is not used the same way everywhere and by everybody by any means, but for a working definition the above is probably the best. Some Americans and many Brits add to all of this the part many people believe is the most important part of the term but actual conflicts with some fundementalist interpretations: Converting as many people to your religion as possible. Some Protestants fit the definition above but are selective in their conversion efforts, and in Britain they may not think of themselves as evangelicals (as it has been explained to me by British missionaries) but in the US that trait is not needed to call yourself an evangelical.

    (To put is starkly, there are Protestants who would not see any value in converting Africans to their own religion because they could not possibly be Rapture-approved.)

    The word “Fundamentalist” does not mean much by itself and is usually paired with a word like “Christian” or “Muslim” although it does actually come from the Protestants out east in the US ca 1900 and was a named movement by Presbyterians. Simply put, “Fundementlist” means “Orthodox.” Whatever that happens to mean.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    November 11, 2009

    Cath: Exactly… but your Anglicans in all their evangelicalism have managed to create a fundamentalist movement in the Anglican Church with their missionary efforts. Funny, that.