external image cross.jpgFUNDAMENTALISM

What is Fundamentalism?

Fundamentalism is a term used to describe strict adherence to Christian doctrines based on a literal interpretation of the Bible.


The first people to come to America from England were Puritans, looking for a new home. Because of this, Christians liked to think of America as a country that always was, and always will be, a Christian country. However, by the end of the 1800s, factors in the Bible, the most important Christian document, were challenged by modern day scientific discoveries. Scared that Christianity would soon end, some of the more extreme Christian groups broke away from the church, and formed new sects with various names, but all were Fundamentalists. They were focused on raising awareness, finding new members, and gaining power for Christ and Fundamentalists. The actions they took are called Fundamentalist Movements. By the mid 1970's, there was a resurgence of fundamentalist activity due to cultural and social changes.
There are still Fundamentalists movements going on today and in the 20th century.

Fundamentalist GROUPS:

Fundamentalists formed groups, which were further able to promote fundamentalism in schools, politics, and broadcasting. They were not always successful in all of their attempts, but the groups helped spread awareness of Fundamentalism around America.

1) Christian Coalition

Protecting Christian Family Values
Protecting Christian Family Values
as and Leaders:

  • conservative political organization in the United States.
  • devoted to preserving "traditional values" in American life.
  • to reach their goal, they help elect public officials who agreed with their own ideals (conservative Republicans).
  • 1.9 million member organization.
  • Pat Robertson, and Ralph Reed - helped found and run the organization.

  • Created the Contract with the American Family which wanted:
    • laws to restrict abortion and pornography, and to allow voluntary prayer at public places like courthouse lawns and public high school graduation ceremonies.
    • to use government funds to help parents send their children to parochial or other private schools.

Important Dates:

  • 1989 - founded by Pat Robertson
  • 1994 - with organization's help Republic party won both houses in Congress for the first time in 40 years.
  • 1995 - issued a social program, the Contract with the American Family, to be adopted by Congress.

2) Moral Majority

Ideas and Leaders:
  • national program composed of conservative Christian political action committees.
  • one of the largest conservative lobby groups in the United States. external image 166750126_2922119605.jpg
    • 4 million members and over 2 million donors.
  • Jerry Falwell - help found and establish organization.
  • members from Baptist Bible Fellowship shared leadership with Falwell.

  • campaign on issues that were important to maintaining Christian moral law.
    • they believed that these ideas represented the opinions of the majority of Americans.
    • the name Moral Majority - based on beliefs.

Important Dates:
  • 1979 - Moral Majority Inc was established.
  • 1980 - helped elect Ronald Regan as president.
  • 1989 - disbanded by Jerry Falwell saying it had accomplished it's purpose.

Fundamentalism in POLITICS:

Fundamentalists realized that the most effective way to get people to do what they want, is if they dominated in politics. This really shows the greedy side of fundamentalists, simply because they want power. Fundamentalists worked hard to gain power, which at some points was successful, but currently, are lacking in large politically active members.

1) Republican Fundamentalists

  • Fundamentalists are usually republicans.
  • Pat Robertson (from the Cristian Coalition) ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1988.
  • Coalitions efforts became clear when Clinton signed bill "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act" in 1996, in support of Fundamentalists beliefs.

2) Political Actionsexternal image contractwithamerica.jpg

They were able to vote enough Republican Congress people so that republicans had a majority in both houses of Congress.
  • These new Republicans proposed some bills that involved
    • restore school prayer
    • restrict abortion
    • limit pornography
    • provide tax breaks for parents who send their children to private or religious schools
    • called for a "Personal Responsibility Act" to limit benefits to welfare recipients who bore children out of wedlock
  • Most measures were never put into effect.
  • Bills that did pass became part of Contract with America program (a list of promises that Republicans made before the 1994 elections, that they would fulfill if they won)

Figures in Politics:

Ralph Reed
  • 1982 - 1984 - executive director of College Republicans National Committee.
  • 1989 - 1997 - named by Robertson to head the Christian Coalition as executive director.
  • 1994 - persuaded many in evangelical Christian movement to vote for Republican party candidates. Coalition staff members were active in key positions in the 1996 Republican presidential. nomination campaigns of Lamar Alexander, Pat Buchanan, and Robert Dole.
  • 1997 - left the Coalition to head his own political consulting firm in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • 2001 - elected chairman of the Georgia Republican party.
  • 2005 - nominated as the party's candidate for lieutenant governor in the 2006 election.
  • author of the book Active Faith: How Christians Are Changing the Face of American Politics
Ralph Reed - crusade to take over U.S. politics - and it's working.
Ralph Reed - crusade to take over U.S. politics - and it's working.

Fundamentalism in SCHOOLS:

Fundamentalists tried very hard to be a major influence in public schools, because teaching children their beliefs would ensure a new generation of fundamentalism. In the early 1900s, they wanted to make sure that no new scientific discoveries that went against the bible were taught. In southern states, where fundamentalists had lots of support, this was not as large of a problem. Fundamentalists also formed private colleges, where they taught their most extreme ideas. Their motive was to try and gain more supporters, and it was very affective in southern states for a while, until the absolute separation of church and state was enforced.

Darrow and Bryan
Darrow and Bryan

1) Scopes Trial

  • Dayton Tennessee, 1925.
  • John Thomas Scopes was charged with teaching evolution in a public school; this was illegal at the time because of the Tennessee
    law, The Butler Act.
  • The Trial was called "The Monkey Trial," because many bible enthusiasts believed evolution was all about how man came from monkeys.
    The Monkey Trial
    The Monkey Trial
  • William Jennings Bryan prosecuted Scopes. Clarence Darrow, defended Scopes. These two gave the trial world wide attention.
  • Darrow asked Bryan difficult questions involving direct adherence of the bible.
  • He ended up embarrassing and humiliating Bryan, who was considered an expert on the Bible.
  • Scopes lost, and was charged $100. The conviction was later reversed because of a small legal error.

2) Christian Universities

Bob Jones University (Greenville, South Carolina) external image 6a00e552e3404e88330105361550e3970b-150wi

  • founded in 1947.
  • established by world-famous evangelist Bob Jones Sr.
  • stresses belief in absolute authority of the Bible.
  • many students train for service as Christian leaders.

Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia)external image libertymonogramstda_cmyk.jpg

  • founded in 1971.
  • established by Thomas Road Baptist Church (member Jerry Falwell).
  • follows views of the Moral Majority.

Fundamentalism in BROADCASTING:

Many Fundamentalists realized that not all people could come to campaigns, or church gatherings. Because of this they began to use other resources to keep the faith alive. Through television networking and broadcasting they could get their message across and spread ideas to those who would have otherwise not been able attend regular sermons. Unlike ever before they could now reach audiences across the country and even across the globe. This means more funding and more support to leaders and organizations.

1) Televangelicals

  • external image canstock1396711.jpgKnown as the "electronic church" ministry.
  • Popular television evangelists: Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Jimmy Swaggart.
  • Appeal to their audience for support and donations
    • inexpensive jewelry, books and pamphlets, cassettes, or printed copies of sermons are offered to those who call or write.
    • many televangelists have been widely criticized
    • mainline church leaders claim that such "commercializing" cheapens religion.

2) Christian Broadcasting Network

  • external image 11949849161257289955radio_wireless_tower_cor_.svg.med.jpgnonprofit radio and television network specializing in religious programming.
  • 1960 - established and run by Pat Robertson.
    • most commercially successful of contemporary religious broadcasters.
  • helped spread their ideas to those people who can't go to church or public meetings.
  • world-wide media empire.
  • "700 Club" is on twice a day on 300 TV stations in 70 countries.

Important Figures in Broadcasting:

Jerry Falwell

  • Born in Lynchburg Virginia, he formed the Thomas Road Baptist Church.
  • 1970's - TV stations broadcasted the church's weekly "Old-Time Gospel Hour".
  • 1971 - the group established Lynchburg Baptist College (now Liberty University).
  • 1979 - helped to establish the Moral Majority
  • 2004 - established a law school to train attorneys who fight for conservative causes.
Young Jerry Falwell
Young Jerry Falwell

Pat Robertson
* Marion Gordon Robertson, nicknamed Pat, was born in Lexington, Virginia.

  • 1960 - established the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).
  • 1987 - announced candidacy for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination.
    • supported school prayer, a balanced federal budget, and a ban on abortion.
    • lost to George H. W. Bush.
  • 1989 - founded the Christian Coalition - served as head of the organization in 1989 and from 1999 to 2001 .
  • condemned femanists, homosexuals, abortion, and liberal professors.
Pat Robertson - "Televangelist"
Pat Robertson - "Televangelist"

Fundamentalists in WRITINGS:

The most recognized book about Fundamentalist beleifs was writen by fundamentalists for fundamentalists. It was published in the early 19th century to gain awareness and support from Americans.

1) The Fundamentals

external image books.jpgThe Fundamentals: a Testimony to the Truth
  • a set of 90 essays in 12 volumes, published from 1910 to 1915
  • intended to serve as a resource for and defense of essential christian doctrines; reflected core values of the Bible
  • written as a response to modernism and liberal theology in 19th and 20th century
  • made for ministers at gospel, missionaries, and Sunday schools.

Fundamentalism and WOMEN:

In America, the difference between womens rights and mens rights are basically obsolete. However in different groups around the world, this can still be an issue. One of these groups is Fundamentalists. Many Fundamentalists, even in America, still believe that a womans voice is worth less than a mans. This has become a huge obstacle for those Fundamentalists who try to excel in politics in particular. Fundamentalists also are troubled by their very strict and outspoken opinion on abortion. In 1970, this compelled them to take a stand in the Roe vs Wade trial. This was a very unsucessful act though, ending in the legalization of abortion throughout the United States. So for the most part, these particular beliefs have lost them support and dignity, exactly the oposite of what they wanted.

1) Place in Society

  • A woman can not have authority over a man.
  • The husbands views always prevail, no matter how ill-informed
  • in 1992, Pat Robertson stated: The Feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their hisbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.

2) Views on Abortion

  • Christian Fundamentalists are strongly against abortion.
    a sticker promoting abortion for Ireland
    a sticker promoting abortion for Ireland
  • The Bible states, in the word of God, "You shall not murder," (Exodus 20:13).
  • The fith amendment states, Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
  • This is the main argument of Fundamentalists against abortion; it is murder. This issue is very controvertial throughout the world, and Christian Fundamentalists make their opinions very clear.

3) Roe vs. Wade Trial
people protesting the Roe v. Wade Trial
people protesting the Roe v. Wade Trial

  • Norma McCorvey became pregnant in 1969, and wanted an abortion.
  • There was a Texas law (1859) that stated women can not get an abortion except to save her life.
  • McCorvey used the name Jane Roe in the trial. She was concerned that the trial would be less important if it was debated after she was aloud to get an abortion (4 months).
  • She argued that "The Texas abortion laws must be declared unconstitutional because they deprive single women and married couples, of their right, secured by the Ninth Amendment, to choose whether to have children."
  • The decission: Invalidated all state laws restricting women's access to abortions during the first trimester (three months) of pregnancy and upheld only those second-trimester (three to six month) restrictions that protected the health of pregnant women.
  • Significance: This decission made abortion legal in the United States

Fundamentalism and SAME SEX MARRIAGE:

Almost as clear as their opinions on abortion, Fundamentalists have taken a strong position on the new topic of Gays and Lesbians. Currently, there are still many people who are unsure of what to think of this strange new sexual orientation, so the stong outlook that the Fundamentalists have is easy to follow. Recently there have been a few states who have made gay marriage legal, despite the thoughts of Christian Fundamentalists. Again, their tough outlook on this controversial situation is an obstacle while trying to gain support, and as acceptance of gays increases, it will become even more and more of an obstacle. It seems for the moment atleast, that Fundamentalists are unsucessful in the battle with Gays and Lesbians.

1) Why?

  • Fundamentalists believe that all sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin.
  • many passages do condemn homosexual acts, calling them 'sodomites.'
    a book about the relationship between gays and evangelicals
    a book about the relationship between gays and evangelicals
  • There are no committed sexual relations in the bible.
  • The Bible speaks of homosexual acts, but not of sexual orientation. Since it is not mentioned in the Bible, it can't exist.
  • God destroyed the city of Sodom. because the men in the city were having homosexual desires.

2) Can they be HELPED?

  • Since only homosexual acts exist, not homosexual orientation, some believe that (interpreting Corinthians 6:9-10) that if Gays and Lesbians are saved, then God will remove their homosexual feelings and convert them to heterosexuality.
  • So some Christians believe that Gays can be saved through prayer and counseling.

Important Figures TODAY:

Joel Osteen - The "Feel Good" Gospel
  • born in Houston, now married with two children.

  • father developed Lakewood Church with 6,000 members and an active television minister.
  • spent 17 years producing the show with his father and later became the Pastor.
  • services are seen in over 100 nations around the world.

  • says he chooses to focus on goodness of god rather than sin.
  • he doesn't include Bible verses because he sees himself as a life coach.
  • tries to teach Biblical principles in a simple way.
  • emphasizes the power of love and positive attitude.

  • 2006 - he was named one of the year's "Ten Most Fascinating People" by Barbara Walters.
    • "Most Influential Christian in America" by The Church Report.
  • Former presidential candidate John McCain has described Osteen as "inspirational".
  • 2007 - toured around several countries presenting programs in large stadiums.

  • 2005 - appearance on Larry King accused of not believing that Christ was the way to Heaven.
  • 2007 - 60 Minutes methods of teaching is Christian heresy.
    • Fox New Sunday noticed a lack of Scripture reference in sermons.
  • many say his sermons only use concepts of prosperity theology or prosperity gospel.
    • belief that wealth and power are rewards for devoted Christians.
external image joel_osteen.jpg

external image 9781439100790_9781439100790.jpg


Overall, the Fundamentalist Movement was a success. By forming groups such as the Christian Coalition and Moral Majority, fundamentalists were able to spread their ideas to many different groups of people. In politics, they were a force to be reckoned with because they placed members with their ideas into office enabling their traditional values to be incorporated into politics. Fundamentalists stayed active in schools, particularly in southern states such as Texas, using textbooks and teachers who favored their views. They used the growing popularity of broadcasting and television to expand their audience and gain financial support. Although they made a substantial impact on society they still face many criticisms today. Many major figures have been accussed of interpreting the Bible for their own personal benefit, and that they are not staying true to their traditional values. They face the obstacles or abortion, and same sex marriage, which they strongly appose, challenged by the many others who support it. Because of an increase in liberal ideas over the past decades the fundamentalist movement has lost some popularity. Even with these ideas of evolution, women's choice, and homosexuality, the fundamentalists have still been able to stick to their firm beliefs, and influence people enough to continue the following of the movement.

**Dr. Halpin, our table of contents is a little messed up, but we talked to Ms. Dalbec and she couldn't figure out why it was messing up the text and creating weird tabs, so she told us to leave it the way it is.