population. No matter, the Idea Elitenhas slapped a scarlet F on them: “fundamentalists.”nThey are the last groupnwhich can be publicly defamed withnimpunity. If this be doubted, try takingnone of the hysterical “religious right”nscare stories such as Holy Terror ornGod’s Bullies and substituting “Jew”nfor “Christian” or “fundamentalist.”nThese attacks constitute the anti-nSemitism of the New Class, whichnviews religious people, especially outgoingnChristians, as dangerous andneven deviant.nFor example, in a recent custodyncase in San Diego, the press reportednthe conflict between a “homosexualnfather” and a “fundamentalist mother”ninstead of between a homosexual fathernand a heterosexual mother. Thenreligious beliefs of the father were notnexamined. Incredibly, the court subsequentlynspurned the mother andnawarded custody of a 16-year-old boynto the homosexual lover of the father,nwho recently died of AIDS.nAnother cliche denigration isn”Ayatollahs.” But if the legal prohibitionnof some forms of immorality linksn”Islamic fundamentalists” and JimmynSwaggart, then Marxists are the greatestnayatollahs of all, for their regimesnare bastions of militant puritanism. FoxnButterfield recalls that a Western visitornto China asked what the regime didnabout homosexuals and was bluntlyntold: “We shoot them.” Behold, thenreal Moral Majority.nFor those seeking an understandingnof American fundamentalism, DukenUniversity’s George Marsden hasnprovided Reforming Fundamentalism,nwhich should be read along with hisnFor Immediate ServicenChroniclesnNEW SUBSCRIBERSnTOLL FREE NUMBERn1-800-435-0715n30 / CHRONICLESnILLINOIS RESIDENTSn1-800-892-0753nearlier Fundamentalism and AmericannCulture. In the new volume, Marsdennexamines the wider movement throughnone influential institution. Fuller Seminarynin Pasadena.nA common perception of fundamentalists—nand even of their spiritualncousins, the evangelicals — is that theynare intellectually deficient. Interestingly,nmany of the key leaders charted bynMarsden were men of enormous erudition,nknowledgeable in Semitic languagesnand Greek, with earnednPh.D.’s from Harvard, Yale, and BostonnUniversity. Among them: GleasonnArcher, Harold Ockenga, and CarlnHenry. The European imports such asnGeoffrey Bromily and Bela Vassadynalso boast the highest scholarly credentials.nTo be sure, such erudition, and thendesire for it, has not always trickledndown to the pews, and Marsden does anthorough job on some of the antiintellectualism,nthe wild propheticnschemes, and the petty moralisms thatnare still characteristic of fundamentalism.nIts darkest side is also here revealed,nwhat its victims have rightlyncalled “spiritual totalitarianism,” or ann”ecclesiastical police state”; the hairsplittingntheological disputes andnchurch-splitting fights, the blind anti-nCatholicism, the secret meetings andndenunciations. At its worst, fundamentalismnmight be described as an orthodoxncult.nStanding alone, this all seems quitenterrible, but in the words of a LesnMcCann song, one must ask, “comparednto what?” Unfortunately, that isnnot part of Marsden’s purposes,nthough he does show that formerlyn”main-line” groups such as the Presbyteriansncould be as petty and divisive asnanyone. But those who in the I920’sndecided that everything in Christianitynwas negotiable take a backseat to nonone in obscurantism and outright buffoonery.nThey are much given to identifyingnthe Kingdom of God with thenSoviet Union, China, and variousnThird World gulags. Paul Hollandern{political Pilgrims) has done a good jobndocumenting what Muggeridge calls anchronicle of “fatuous imbecility” unequalednin history. The fundamentalistnwon’t drink because he believes itnharms the body; the religious liberalnwon’t eat California grapes because henbelieves this will promote social justice.nnnThe fundamentalist says “my countrynright or wrong.” The religious liberalnsays “your country right or wrong.”nFor every Bob Jones and John R. Ricenthere is a William Sloane Coffin andnRobert McAfee Brown. Shallow callsnto shallow.nMarsden comments that for manyn”a struggle with fundamentalism was ancentral event in their lives” and citesnGarrison Keillor as such a person.nSince Mr. Keillor has confessed tonwatching Jimmy Swaggart and sometimesnsings hymns in public, there arenprobably better examples. It is entirelynlikely that behind many a glib skeptic ornhostile television reporter is an auntnwho sent tracts with birthday cards ornlectured on the evils of rock and rollnand premarital sex. The New Class isnbasically a reactionary class. If JerrynFalwell is for it, they are against it. Butnall is not bleak.nThe movement Marsden charts isnmore properly called evangelicalism ornneoevangelicalism. These people notnonly attempt the rather perilous task ofnliving the Christian faith in a hostilenand secular age, with the ACLUnReligion Police on every hand, but arentrying to find a middle ground betweennan unreflective fundamentalism and anmoribund liberalism. They seem to benhaving some success, and this is surelyna good development for the Christiannchurch, for the country, and for whatnhas been called the “conservativenmovement.”nIn a recent review of Orthodoxy, ancollection of articles from The AmericannSpectator, Roger Scruton of thenSalisbury Review noted that althoughnmost of the material was intellectuallynfirst-rate, orthodoxy was precisely whatnseemed to be lacking. Scruton lamentednthat many of the writers seemed tonshare the basic materialist presuppositionsnof their liberal-left adversaries.nThe evangelicals surely have muchnto learn about political activism, intellectualnlife, and debate from movementnconservatives. But the broader movementnneeds a conduit to the deepernAmerican roots and traditions if it isngoing to be more than a transitorynphenomenon. And a glance at VoicesnFrom the Heart shows that Marsden’snsubjects, whatever their quirks, arenrooted in a tradition reaching back notnonly to four centuries of Americannpiety, but to times immemorial.n