In what ways is modern fundamentalist Christianity similar to McCarthyism? It seems that the new film about Charles Darwin, Creation, can't find a US distributor. Despite finding distributors in...

In what ways is modern fundamentalist Christianity similar to McCarthyism?

It seems that the new film about Charles Darwin, Creation, can't find a US distributor. Despite finding distributors in all other western countries, American distributors seem scared to associate themselves with this film and will not promote it, presumably because they are worried about boycotts and organsied opposition from fundamentalists.

Is modern American Christianity bullying its opponents into silence? Is this behavior similar to McCarthyism? Are people, especially politicians, scared of publicly professing beliefs which disagree with Christianity?

Expert Answers
MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Indeed to all. Revelations about "C Street" are particularly disturbing. This is the boarding house run by "The Family", an elusive and secretive fundamentalist group that grooms politicians for leadership, following fundamental Christian values. While this group claims to base their values on the teachings of Jesus, they actually practice Social Darwinism with a Christian twist. The poor are no longer blessed-they are not holy in the eyes of God. Instead, those who are wealthy have been blessed by the Lord. But this is not some hidden organization; they are involved with high-status politcal leaders. Recently, three prominent Republicans associated with the Fellowship were reported to have engaged in extra-marital affairs. Two of them, Senator John Ensign and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, were considering running for President in 2012 and their affairs were known to the Family several months before becoming public. The affairs of Ensign and then-Congressman Chip Pickering, R-Miss., took place while they were living at the C Street Center. All three voted to impeach Bill Clinton; Ensign and Sanford had called for Clinton to resign over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

The fact that such groups have such strong powers, & are not subject to any public control, is terrifying to me. The revelations of their hypocrisy is merely disgusting.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One common thread I find between these two is fear. Joseph McCarthy rose to power by generating fear among the American people during a time of great national anxiety. I don't hear much from fundamentalist Christians about love, but I do hear a lot about fear and condemnation. Politicians feared standing up to McCarthy; they feared losing their reputations and power. Similarly, politicians today generally cater to the fundamentalists for the same reasons. Any individual or group that attempts to achieve a political agenda by promoting fear is an individual or group to watch. Very, very closely.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do think that conservative politicians of both parties are influenced strongly by the Christian fundamentalists' loud protest of anything perceived not to be moral. This effort by fundamentalists to shape public policy, however, is nowhere near as pervasive and damaging as McCarthyism was back in the 1950s. For one thing, McCarthyism spread throughout the entire Congress and was pushed by many sitting legislators. Contemporary religious fundamentalism is paid lip service by many legislators, but they do not go so far as to attempt to force morality on the public.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Modern fundamentalist Christians seem to assume that they are right and everyone else is wrong.  They try to create an insular group, and ostracize anyone who does not follow along.  There have been instances where people are scapegoated to keep everyone else in line.

alohaspirit eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One main similarity I can point out is FEAR.  Fear of losing that lack of power, and fear of others that do not have the same belief system as other people.

elfgirl | Student

McCarthyism was the aggressive mis-use of 'American Values' to bully the public and pervert political power. The persecution by the McCarthy movement was powerful and non-judicial. It is interesting (and scary) that several Neo-Con Christians have tried to 'rehabilitate' McCarthy as a patriot.

The fundamentalist movement consists of people who are implacable. They don't adhere to the constitution, they adhere to the bible, especially the old testament. They believe they are agents of an angry, puritancial God and they have the right to judge others. I think there is a lot of similarity between The Fundamentalists and McCarthy-ites.

Do you remember the big fuss about the Ten Commandments outside a courthouse in Alabama? They want to replace Constitutional Law with The Laws of "God', a mythical creature who destroys cities and flooded the whole world because Man upset him.

Anyone who opposes the fundamentalists is vigorously denounced as a 'follower of Satan' or some other such rubbish. They use highly charged rhetoric and outrage to whip their followers into a frenzy of self-righteousness and launch co-ordinated media attacks on anything they don't like. And they have a large minority of the American population supporting them. If we are not extremely careful we could soon see a House of UnChristian Americans Committee, chaired by Ted Haggard and all those other bigots.