Good piece in the NYT magazine this past week about the opposition to gay marriage. Good in that it exposes the outwardly normal looking people who so vehemently protest gay marriage as the ignorant, paranoid, dogmatic people that they are.
Here's what is interesting to me. You have a whole group of hardcore Christians (Not people who actually believe in the whole love and peace Christ, instead believing that everything Jesus said can be more or less ignored but that three or four lines in Leviticus justifies their fear and loathing of all things gay) who essentially equate homosexuality to a disease. A disease that seeks to perpetuate itself through the notion that being gay is an OK way to be. OK, so if gayness is a destructive disease that cuts down youth in their prime, destroys families and civilizations and erodes at the basic moral fiber of society, than what is fundamentalism?
It is transferred from parent to child in a familial structure that emphasizes obedience and conformity, and encourages the birth of as many offspring as possible to spread the word.
Fundamentalism has destroyed governments and encourages the rise of theocratic dictatorships.
Fundamentalism discourages critical thought and the academic pursuit, causing societies that embrace fundamentalism to be generally less innovative and less able to compete globally in a free market (unless, of course, said theocratic dictatorship happens to sit on the world's largest oil reserves).
Fundamentalism is a known killer, causing suicidal and homicidal behavior.
I had a Marxist friend who used to say that religion was a poison (he grew up in Utah, so I can't imagine the kind of baggage he had. Ex-Mormons are like Ex-Smokers, nobody hates the old habit as much as they do) and I don't know that I'd go that far. But I would say that fundamentalism is a disease. And if you compared the numbers of people killed by fundamentalists in all of human history's various Crusades, Inquisitions, Jihads and witch hunts, I am sure that it is among one of the most deadly and most contagious diseases. And among the most adaptive.