In the years since my enlightenment I’ve occasionally referred to what I call the 3 “I”s of American fundogelicalism:
Isolation Insulation, Inoculation and Infiltration. This post is a response to Astasia’s suggestion that I take this idea out of an obscure comment thread and write a (nearly equally obscure) post about it.
Isolation Insulation is the process by which fundogelical churches segregate the sheeple from the outside world. A few examples of the vast array of services and activities they offer to accomplish this are:
- Providing social activities for every demographic group
- Operating Christian schools and colleges
- Developing curricula to support home schooling
- Sponsoring sports teams and, sometimes, entire leagues
- Producing and distributing media (books, movies, music, etc.) that reinforce fundogelicalism
- Running summer camps
The idea is to meet all social, educational and spiritual needs within the fellowship so that fundogelicals never have to rely on support or resources from non-fundogelicals. Many fundogelicals encourage their sheeple to frequent businesses and professional practices owned and operated by Christians, and even publish directories to guide the sheeple in selecting businesses to patronize. God forbid that fundogelicals would ever mix with – and perhaps be
influenced corrupted by – non-Christians for any reason (except prosyletization, under rigidly choreographed circumstances)! After all, if you were a fundogelical, would you want an infidel plumber fixing your clogged drain? I think not!
2. Inoculation = indoctrination + apologetics. To use a sports analogy, think of indoctrination as the “offensive” play during which the fundogelical team has the ball and the opportunity to score points. Indoctrination points are scored by filling minds with dogma. Apologetics, then, is the “defensive” play during which the fundogelical team protects itself and tries to prevent non-fundogelical influences from scoring. The process here is to reinforce the dogma by teaching the faithful approved responses to challenges to their dogma. Indoctrination starts as early as possible; apologetics training comes after some indoctrination has been implanted quite firmly. Many fundogelicals seem to cruise through life on an indoctrination-rich regimen that includes little apologetics training. In fact, too much apologetics training may backfire if the faithful start examining questions and stock responses too carefully, especially if they go to non-fundogelical resources for additional information. Thus, the ideal inoculation regimen is heavier on indoctrination than apologetics, but a “healthy” regimen includes both.
3. Infiltration is the process by which fundogelicals seek to dominate a society. This dominance was taken for granted throughout much of American history. More recently, however (the past 30 years or so), expanding acceptance of pluralistic, liberal and inclusive ideals has prompted fundogelicals to take aggressive action to maintain social and, especially, political hegemony in the USA. School board decisions regarding Christmas pageants, Ten Commandments posters, science, social studies and sex education curricula, etc., have not been accidental or isolated. They have been part of a deliberate strategy to dominate public education and permeate public school content with fundogelical ideas and ideals (see Ralph Reed’s Active Faith for a thorough explanation of the genesis and implementation of this tactic). Sponsorship of repressive initiatives like Proposition 8, and ongoing opposition to abortion and stem cell research are additional examples of ways in which fundogelicals seek to impose their values on American society. Infiltration is particularly important to fundogelicalism because, if successful, then inoculation could be confined largely to indoctrination (apologetics could become a mere academic exercise rather than a survival tactic), and
isolation insulation wouldn’t be necessary at all.
Non-Christians should remember that the primary reason fundogelicals seek to infiltrate American society is because they see anything less than a Christ-dominated society as a threat to their own spiritual survival. They’re playing for eternal consequences: they want desperately to get into heaven and stay out of hell. Non-Christians don’t need to adopt quite that long-range a plan, but we need to remember that the 3 “I”s of fundogelicalism are connected to both fundogelicals’ highest aspirations and their deepest fears. Their stakes are high – eternal life. Ours are higher – the lives, the only ones we’ll ever get, that we have right now.
– the chaplain