Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, September 12, 2005

Calling All Wordsmiths...

The label "People of Faith" (for whom we used to call "Fundamentalist Christians") is brilliant in a diabolical sort of way, in that it usurps the "People of Color" construction, has a "big tent" feel to it, and implies those who oppose them are not Christian--and it does all this while using only simple, happy words. Maybe The Citizens can come up with a counter-label? As you can see with this list, I'm kind of stuck on finding one.

(a) Fundamentalist Christians. Why not just use the old name? Well for one thing, it's already losing ground to the more resonant, "People of Faith." Futhermore, while "fundamentalism" has fallen out of favor, "Christian" is still a very positive word (for most people), and its use still wrongly implies those who oppose them are not true Christians.

(b) Fundamentalist Evangelicals. This is an improvement in that it removes the misleading "Christian" epithet, but at ten mouth-filling syllables, it will never replace the sublime "People of Faith."

(c) Evangelicals. This word is not a bad choice all by itself, but I think we can do better. People have tried adding adjectives (e.g., "right-wing evangelicals") but such phrases still seem like something thrown together, and moreover they sound too overtly prejudicial.

(d) Theocrats. Some people like this word, but it sounds too bookish, and most people don't realize that "theo" is what they worship every Sunday. And it's not really that accurate, either.

(e) Christocrats. Pithy but confusing--I mean, who knows what a "christocrat" is?

(f) Radical Religionists. Yawnsville. Yes, "Religionist" sounds icky, but it's vague and contrived sounding. And "Radical" is (of course) too overtly prejudicial. Finally, I think cutesy alliteration is a tired old ploy that people instinctively feel is phoney.

(g) FEC. The initials stand for "Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian." The beauty of this choice is that an individual FEC would be a FECie and the plural would be pronounced "FECES." Alas, this acronym lacks the sonority of "YUPpie." (OK, this one is a pure joke.)

If we can think of a really good label, it could catch on, and we could finally stop seeing the misleading "People of Faith" in print. And that would be (to bend a metaphor) a huge feather in the cap of this blog. Any budding wordsmiths out there have any (serious) ideas?


Anonymous said...

How about "Fascist." That would seperate them from their claim to holiness and bind them to the corporatist economic policies they espouse as well as the shocking lack of respect for individual liberty. It's accurate, it's shocking and everyone would know what you mean.

The problem is that the "New Left" in the 1960s called everyone to the right of George McGovern a "Fascist" and that so over used the word that it would be easily dismissed as alarmist.

How about "Flat Earthers?" 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Dr. Strangelove said...

Cute... I know what you mean, but of course neither "Fascist" nor "Flat Earther" would ever catch on. Both are too loaded.

Maybe some play on Missionary would work? Proselytizers is too hard to pronounce or spell. Would a phrase like Orthodox Christians work? Ultraorthodox? The trouble is, their version of Christianity really isn't very traditional--it's manufactured for the current age. What about Religioneers? Too much like Mouseketeers?

The trick is to find a way to reference the shared religion that identifies them without affirming the validity of that view.

Anonymous said...

The key is that Christian must be the noun, not the adjective. Fundamentalist Christian rather than Christian Fundamentalist. 

// posted by LTG

Dr. Strangelove said...

Interesting point about Christians as noun... I think that may be a good way to go. Do you have any specific ideas?

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