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Ruminations on the Moral Majority In the Hands of an Angry God Who’s afraid of the Moral Majority? By Terry Pringle Abilene MARK TWAIN once wondered how fundamentalists, who could tolerate no more than an hour and a quarter of church, loved sex, hated singing, and usually lacked the ability or interest to play a musical instrument, could look forward to heaven, where they would have no sex and church forever, listening endlessly to billions of screaming voices singing praises and harps “gritting their teeth.” The contradictions of fundamentalism don’t often bother us any more because it’s too easy, if you don’t agree with them, to see smiling Jerry Falwell or grimacing James Robinson as just a couple of bozos on television waving arms and Bibles, wanting money and advances on heavenly rewards” while awaiting final transportation. *here are too many charlatans around to take those old boys seriously. Right? Wrong. If they weren’t serious, I wouldn’t be worried. And if they were sticking to areas like belief and baptism and sacrificial giving, I wouldn’t be worried. But at the basis of this Evangelical New Right, at the heart of the religion brandished by Falwell and Robison, is a dragon that spits fire and brimstone and glories in tales of death and destruction. It’s oldtime fundamentalism and it’s marching on Washington. Unless you’ve been on intimate terms with fundamentalism for most of your life, unless you’ve sweated blood wondering if Jehovah would summarily boot you into the lake of fire, the Evangelical New Right may not worry you, but I have and I am worried. You have to understand the fundamentalists. Their religion is rooted, not in the teachings and life of Christ, but in the Old Testament. Take some time and read the Old Testament; get to know Jehovah. Every fundamentalist is made in his image. The trademark of fundamentalism is a literal interpretation of the Bible, wherefrom you acquire a concept of God that is several millenia old. If you wonder why James Robison says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,”‘ check the evidence. Jehovah turns Azariah into a leper for overlooking idolatrous shrines,, strikes Uzzah dead for reaching to steady the Ark after the oxen stumble, blinds a Syrian army, and kills 185,000 Assyrian troops. When David commits the sin of taking a census, Jehovah gets slightly fired and gives David his choice of three disasters three years of famine, three months of destruction by earthly enemies, or three days of plague at the hands of Jehovah. Knowing his God is more merciful than his enemies, David opts for the deadly plague. Seventy thousand perish. KINGS WHO ASSUMED the duties of priests didn’t fare well . either check on Uzziah, who was transformed into a leper. And ridiculing a prophet well, that brought out the bears on 42 boys. Moses avoided Jehovah’s wrath and intent to commit murder by suddenly remembering to circumcise his child. 2 Here is fertile ground for fear. The fundamentalist reacts to unbelief and “immorality” much as Jehovah did. If an unbeliever wants to know where the fundamentalists want him, I can tell him. They want him sweating out the 42nd verse of “Just As I Am,” squirming and crawling under conviction for his sin of unbelief. They want him distressed until In the uncountable services, I sat, stood, and knelt through, it wasn’t unusual to hear someone pray, “Lord, make old Joe Bob miserable until he accepts you. Don’t let him have a minute of rest until he’s been saved.” This demonstrated a true concern for Joe Bob’s soul, because if he died before being saved he was doomed, bound for the pit of hell, and his blood dripped gently from fundamentalist fingers. Better you ask that Joe Bob suffer constant irritation from hemorrhoids, writhe wretchedly under conviction until he commits suicide, than that he die without true concern for his soul. A more serious way of demonstrating commitment was to stand in a revival and pray, “God, if I’m standing in the way of real revival, then just remove me. I don’t want to quench your spirit. I want this church to have true revival. Don’t let me stand in the way.” The visiting preacher could give you an example of the last man who uttered such a request, a deacon in his last revival, and how on his way home from that very service the deacon was removed, all right; his body was removed from his head by a fairly large truck. A hardened heart is the most difficult of all substances for the fundamentalist. The classic case of hardened heart is Nabal, whose heart stopped ten days before he did. \(Don’t ask how one lives ten days without a functioning heart. It says so in the Bible. 3 If God said it, then that heart, you are useless in the scheme of things and a great frustration for the believer. You represent any number of evils a tool of the devil, an obstacle for God, a stumbling block for other unbelievers, and, worse from a psychological standpoint, a symbol of the fundamentalist’s failure to convert you. You don’t think he wants your blood on his hands, do you? He’s already got the continent of Africa to worry about. So he sits back confident that catastrophe will befall you or your children, or your property and if your heart remains hard after sufficient opportunity and travail, you will simply be destroyed. Remember who you’re dealing with Jehovah. Didn’t he send Moses to tell Pharaoh great troubles were going to de