Sunday, April 22, 2012

The attraction of fundamentalism

Why would someone who votes Democratic and was raised as a secular feminist become a fundamentalist?  Why give up jeans and Friday night drives?  Why adhere to laws that date back 3,000 years?  Well, it ain't because I have an affinity for cholent.
Two things I lacked growing up--stability and acceptance.  I was a quirky individual--neither here nor there.  While I could be very liberal on certain issues--gay marriage, women's right to choose, society's need to assist the poor (I spent many years poor), I could also be very old-fashioned.  I never smoked, avoided drugs and alcohol, and believed that there were some things (OK a LOT of things) that a lady didn't do on the first date.  In fact, this lady didn't do any of them until marriage.  Also, I did not use profanity until I was 15, and after experimenting with it for a while, still try to avoid it.  I even dressed somewhat modestly, wearing mostly dark, baggy, fairly gender-neutral outfits.
Fundamentalism certainly provides stability by it's very nature.  After all, we have 3,000 years of tradition to fall back on.  If that isn't stable, I don't know what is.
Acceptance was a trickier matter.  While my clean-living lifestyle is certainly the norm among my female neighbors (a shocking number of Orthodox men both smoke and drink to excess), other areas, like my love for Sinatra, my waxing nostalgic for Appalachia, my reading matter, and my aforementioned liberal bent, are not accepted, except by a few individuals in whispers.  Also, because of my low tolerance for hypocrisy, it's hard for me to accept my fellow fundamentalists when they use racial slurs or try to hondle.  I can't handle JAP behavior, and I get outraged at any reports of wrong-doing.  However, in a lot of ways, this is the closest to any sort of acceptance of a pure lifestyle that I've ever seen.

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