In the beginning were fundamentalists and they were very good. We know they were very good because they’ve told us so. And their word is God’s own truth.
For when it came to pass that the forces of Baby-baptizers and Bible-changers and Beer-drinkers were threatening to destroy the very Church that Christ himself promised would not fail, then were published a series of writings known as The Fundamentals. And certain of leaders of the congregation who knew a golden opportunity when they saw it, seized upon the chance to use these writings to draw a line between Us and Them. And upon that line they built a Wall of Separation, and in front of the wall they dug the Moat of Standards, and then they forbade any of those within their congregation to get within spitting distance of the wall lest they be tempted to peek around and see the wonders of the world outside.
And there behind that wall the people lived for many years and had many children and even more grandchildren. There they built for themselves good solid fundamentalist churches, and perfect fundamentalist homes for their families, and fundamentalist schools and colleges for their children. They read the right books, and listened to the right music, and watched only the right movies and shows. And if they were not strictly speaking “happy” then at least they were content that they were safe.
Their leaders also were good men, strong and brave who often told them stories of the world outside the Wall of Separation and the horrors that they had seen there. And the leaders warned the people that they should never go outside the wall alone but only in groups of two or three and only such as were strong enough to go on the weekly rescue missions to save dying souls outside. For outside the wall was godlessness and debauchery and music with an unnatural anapestic beat to snare the unwary into the lust of the flesh.
To avoid these evils outside the wall the people also were given many new rules to follow each week depending on what mood their leader was in that day. They were told where they could go and what they could do there and who they could do it with. They were told what to read and what to believe and who to love and to hate. And they were told that true freedom was a thing to be feared most of all.
And so it came to pass that after many years of isolation from all the evils of the world, that it was discovered that the leaders who so many were trusted were not at all what they had seemed. Many were the stories of their treachery and how that they had used and abused the people for their own gain and exploited the weak and preyed on the helpless. For it seemed that these men were the very monsters that they had always warned the people about and the safety behind the wall was nothing but a sham.
Some of the people refused to believe these stories, of course, choosing rather to claim that the victims were all liars and that the leaders were good, godly men who could never be guilty of such sin. But there were a few souls who with heavy hearts looked at the Wall of Separation and though that it could hardly be worse to live with the evil outside the wall than remain with the evil within it. And so they left. And as they came limping with slow steps out of that guarded realm which had been their home for so many years, a wondrous and unexpected thing occurred: they found beauty and laughter and freedom such has they had never known.
And those who had fled from behind the Wall of Separation and had crossed the Moat of Standards, stood beckoning to those who still lived under the shadow of fear and the oppression of their leaders. “Come and join us!” they called. “It’s so much better out here! There is music and dancing and so many wonderful things!” But those behind the wall turned their backs on the site of this celebration as their leaders screamed even louder warnings not listen to those who were enjoying the milk and honey of the lands beyond the wall. And those behind the wall trembled with fear.
But no matter how loud the men screamed or ordered the people to ignore the things happening outside the wall, the music of that distant celebration would still be sometimes heard. And once in a while in a quiet moment or while pausing from their busy schedules, one or two would wonder if maybe there could be life beyond the supposed safety of their separation and standards. And they tried to imagine what it would be like to live a life that was unafraid.