Say “religious fundamentalist” and a lot of people conjure up an image of an abortion clinic bomber or a gun-toting terrorist in a mosque. But not every fundamentalist is an extremist by a long shot.
Most are militantly pious law abiding citizens who reject modern society – The Jewish man in Israel who like his 17th century Polish ancestors wears black and won’t allow contemporary literature into his home. The Baptist mother in America who won’t allow her kids to go to the movies, or the Shiite Muslim woman in Iran who won’t show more then her eyes in public.
At the turn of the new century the great religions of the world each have these passionate minorities with a common, vaguely connected impulse to make sacred again what they see as an increasingly secular, scientific, and skeptical world. What’s not so sacred to them is pluralism, democracy, or the separation of church and state. Karen Armstrong’s reading of the new fundamentalism is this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)