Having No Rights

For fundamentalists, the following is the “Christian Bill of Rights”

I. You have no rights.

For unlike the Founding Fathers they idolize, fundamentalists will claim that since our only reward as sinners is an eternity in hell that even once we are redeemed we still have no right to expect any freedoms at all in this lifetime. After all, we’re in the Lord’s Army and soldiers give up all their rights when they enlist. (Well, other than the ones outlined for them in things like the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the Geneva Convention but let’s not nitpick)

Life? Only the unborn and old people who liberals want to euthanize have a right to that. Everybody else should fully expect to be a martyr or die of a wasting disease on the battle…er…mission field.

Liberty? Liberty is only the freedom to do ‘what you ought’ so nobody should expect the right to choose anything that’s not in the rulebook. Just shut your face and follow orders, soldier!

Pursuit of Happiness? What are you, some kind of pansy? There’s no happiness in a war! The only happy soldiers are the ones on posters that we use to sucker others to join up. Now pick up that sword and get back into that Sunday School room.

Of course this lack of rights only applies to the unwashed masses who sit in the pews. The commanding officer who fills the pulpit has the right to be followed unquestioningly and make others pay him for the privilege to be told what to do.

You may never ride in the cavalry but you know your place and have zero expectations of making it out of this with your imago dei intact. Yes, sir.

35 thoughts on “Having No Rights”

  1. Dead on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this drilled into me as The Only Biblical Way.

  2. I’ve heard the “liberty to do what you ought” thing, but otherwise I must never have been this deep. The fundies I know are all about their rights–constitutionally, anyway.

    1. IIRC, this is a paraphrase of one of Bill Gothard’s Newspeak definitions: “Freedom is not the license to do as you like, but the power to do as you ought.”

      Of course, he could have “borrowed” that definition from someone else. BG was (is) notorious for not citing his sources. SFL: Not citing sources. It keeps doubters from fact-checking so easily, and keeps believers in you in awe of you, the Fountainhead of all Wisdom.

      1. Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us; to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.

        Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) Politician. President of the United States. 😉

  3. You have the right to decide what to believe as long as it is what your IFB church and pastor believes.

    You have the right to interpret your Bible as long as it lines up with the interpretation of your pastor.

    You have the right to wear dresses and long hair if you are a woman.

    You have the right to have short hair and dress in suit and tie if you are a man.

    If you are a child you have the right to go to Sunday School.

  4. When I was in our fundy (IFB) church’s bible institute, we were all given a tract in the cults class about the Moonies called, “I Am Your Brain”. This apparently was a quote from Moon himself stating you don’t have to think, he’d do it for you. Looking back, I can honestly say that I was in a cult – no not the Moonies, JW’s, Mormons, etc. but the Fundies. What freedom I have in Christ since I left that cult. Isn’t His grace amazing?

    1. Fundies treat with suspicion any activity that had not been directly commanded in the New Testament. (For Example musical instruments are not mentioned in the New Testament, so no musical instruments in some churches) Does God COMMAND us directly in the Bible to think or use our brains? If it not in the NT, should Christians do it?

      1. I know fundies that say Baptism is outmoded cause unlike communion there is no “till he come” clause associated with the command. Heard it, laughed, they weren’t joking.

        1. For the record, was one person, not the entire congregation, but was a Baptist who thought Baptism was irrelevant, and wouldn’t surprise me if there was a congregation on that rabbit trail.

      2. ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ but only if your Pastor agrees with how you put it into practice…..

        1. We all know the greek was better translated provide a free bus ride to/from Sunday School for those under age 14.

  5. This is spot on. I heard a message on christian warfare today… and apparently, since I don’t feel like I’m in a battle, I’m backslidden. That metaphor is possibly the most overused one in the whole bible.

  6. @Jordan I’m not sure how much I heard idea of having no rights while growing up. However, it was DRILLED into my head in Bible college, usually in the context of a plea to get people to surrender to the mission field.

  7. As a fairly recent escapee I have to say this is 100% accurate. You have the “right” to carry a King James Bible. You have the right to go on visitation and hand out tracts. You have the right to listen to only “Gospel Music.” You have the right to attend every service and every church event unless providentially hindered. You have the right to Tithe as the minimum of you giving. You have the right to participate in Faith Promise Missions at the expense of you own family.
    So many rights, so little brains… but when one does start thinking for themselves and they no longer embrace the group-think then they start to sober up from the kool-aid and regain their senses.

  8. @Don: let’s be fair, here. jim jones used “flavor-aid”, not “kool-aid”. 😛

    seriously, though, it’s sooooooooo appropriate that the church at the center of the roloff homes is the “people’s church”.

    and i would make a joke about most fundy pastors having the same build as the anthropomorphic kool-aid pitcher, but, well… i have the same build, so i can’t criticize. i’m hoping that somebody else will, though…

  9. @Jordan

    paradoxically, fundies are also really big on their constitutional rights…when it comes to the government asking for tax money or limiting our right to carry firearms.

    What I’m writing about here is the standard talking points that a fundamentalist gives when trampling all over a person’s freedoms in the context of ministry. Something along the lines of “if you’re crucified with Christ, a dead man has no rights.” Therefore, I as a fundamentalist pastor or ministry leader can do whatever I want to you and require whatever I want from you and you basically have to just shut up and take it.

  10. Gotcha. Sort of a not-very-noblesse oblige. And re. Amanda, I’ve heard that quite a bit, too. What I heard most often though was the idea of strict rules somehow promoting freedom, as in, “You have the freedom to do ANYTHING within this playpen.” Which makes sense, but always seemed a rather cynical justification.

  11. You also have the right to:

    Ignore solicitation signs and pass out tracts in front of stores

    Go in groups of two and visit people, without being invited, every Saturday and a weekly night of your Leader’s choosing.

    To give candy or gum to children without the parent’s having ever met you.

  12. @Morgan, your first two points are so right on. I may NOT dissagree with a particular BoJo author, but he (Pastor) may dissagree with whoever he wishes…..mostly anyone who is NOT a BoJo.
    Darrell: You been to my church??!! I am so very glad you have this web site and that you are smart enough to see the errors, and yet have been (are?) in ministry. Wow.

  13. Whilst going through (forced) counseling with the pastor, I have often thought that I would have a better chance in a court of law–at least you are innocent until PROVEN quilty, not quilty just ’cause the pastor makes something up about you…..

  14. @Richard, The cult/fundy thing.
    I went to a “self-help site” for those involved with cults. I took the cult survey answering in light of the fundy church I had left and it scored very high 80%+. A friend of mine who came from a certified cult scored in the 90%+ range. That is not a big difference, but I still do not believe that I came from a cult because while the methods, concepts and philosophies were simular, the intensity of the abuse was not nearly at the same level. I consider my old church as a IFB church with cultlike characteristics. Even so, I realize that the high score I generated for the old church may just be due to my perspective, and that it may just be a typical church. I do believe that some in the fundy world experience high levels of abuse of different kinds. I find that very disturbing. A special thanks to those who are not afraid to speak out.

  15. Dead on. Go Darrell!

    The fearless leader of my church did not like it when anyone questioned him. He was so bad at answering questions that he would stutter and contradict himself. Then everyone in Sunday school would turn and glare.

    So glad I left.

  16. Darrell, this is amazing. Just makes me wonder what your papers for college looked like …

  17. If Fundies ever get enough political power in our country, a whole lot of our liberties would be flushed down the toilet. I don’t see that ever happening, at least in my lifetime, as most Americans would choose Obama/Pelosi/Reed-style tyranny over Fundie-style tyranny any day of the week.

  18. Here’s another Constitutional right Fundies like: “You have to right to remain silent.” So remain. In your pew. Silent. Especially women.

  19. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My blog has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement. Do you know any ways to help prevent content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.

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