Fundamentalism by Any Other Name In the United States, it seems to me, we have two kinds of fundamentalism, religious and political. It now appears that the two have melded into one entity that is hell-bent on turning back the clock anywhere from a couple hundred years to perhaps as many as two thousand years. On the one hand, we have the so-called Tea Party that is preaching a form of Constitutional fundamentalism that basically states, "If it wasn't written into the Constitution, it's not a legitimate issue for our government." And where it has been written into the Constitution through the amendment process, if they don't like the amendment, they insist they, and only they know what was in the minds of the founders of this nation. Much of what these Constitutional fundamentalists appear to stand for is related to Christian beliefs, and more to the point, fundamentalist Christian beliefs, causing a potential Constitutional crisis by blurring the lines between religion and government. A case in point. The fundamentalist conservatives are adamant about repealing a woman's right to choose even though it is the law of the land. That argument is not based on constitutionality, but on religious belief. The 9th Amendment to the Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, states, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." This amendment was ratified in 1789. Those brilliant founders of our nation understood that over time, the world would change from anything they were familiar with. They understood that social evolution would take place and it was impossible to write into the Constitution, or any other document, language covering every possible change that might occur in the future. So, they added the 9th Amendment, allowing for the flexibility of our Constitution to adapt over time. Another issue that the fundamentalists, be they political or religious, rail about is the notion of same-sex couples and marriage. Again, there is nothing whatsoever in the Constitution to either permit, or prohibit same-sex marriage, but the fundamentalists would say that since the Constitution is silent on the topic, then same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Of course, they tend to ignore the 14th Amendment, Section 1, which states; "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." It was this amendment the Supreme Court cited when ending school segregation. When a mixed-race couple were married in Washington D.C in 1958, and returned home to Virginia, they were arrested for having sex, an illegal act under Virginia law. The Supreme Court again cited the 14th Amendment as the basis for ruling the Virginia law unconstitutional. Nothing in the Constitution specifically allowed, or forbid school segregation or mixed-race marriages, so when the states involved enacted unfair laws, it fell on the Court to determine the constitutionality of the law involved as it pertained to "equal protection of the laws". The problem with fundamentalism, besides the harm it inflicts on others, is that the ideology is frozen in time. The Constitution was written over 230 years ago, and brilliant individuals wrote it, but these were people who lived in a world with no electricity, no radio, no television, automobiles, air travel, or computers. In their wildest dreams, they could not have imagined the world in the early 21st century. Fortunately, they were smart enough to see that, and wrote into our governing documents, the flexibility needed to amend and revise our thinking as our nation progressed. In the same vein, men who believed the world to be flat, and that the sun and stars revolved around the earth authored the Bible's New Testament some 1,700 years ago. The Torah came on the scene another 1,500 years before the Bible, and makes up the beginning of the Old Testament. For the most part, the major religions have held that the Bible, along with the Torah and Koran, are the ultimate documents and must be obeyed; there is little room for interpretation according to fundamentalists. There is a reluctance to let any of these writings flex with evolutionary progress. Now, we have a significant number of religious fundamentalists entering government, and trying to apply the same inflexibility to our Constitution. They may call themselves constitutional conservatives, but they are really fundamentalists, questioning modern interpretations, and/or court rulings that try to reflect our changing society. The Constitution, as written in the 18th century, cannot provide the answers to 21st century problems, anymore than the Bible's teachings in regard to a woman's role in society, or the owning of slaves, can be applied to a modern world. Both of these documents were breakthrough thinking for their time, but they also reflect the often-archaic values of the time. Once the words were written down, in terms of the ideas therein, the values stopped progressing, philosophically, and socially. What those documents represent are the values of ancient people, and we have to review those values against what we know today. Do not be influenced by politicians who want to take you back to the 18th century through fundamentalism. The 18th century was not a good time, or an easy life, though undoubtedly better than around 300 AD when the Bible was written. Women had no right to vote. Children were pulled from school and put to work at the age of 12. If you struggled with an education, or suffered from a lack of skills, you could easily end up a beggar on the street. We've come a long way as a society, both economically, and in the treatment of our citizens. There is no turning the clock back, and even a quick study of life back then should tell anyone with a modicum of common sense that it would be a bad idea to try.