As many of you know, I had an uncomfortably close experience with fundamentalism in my college days at Carolina. I was tricked into joining a hypercharismatic campus ministry in my freshman year. They were able to wheedle me in because they hid a lot about who they really were so as not to scare people off. They did this because they no doubt knew they'd be run out of Chapel Hill on a rail if their true nature was known--but they were too cowardly to take their medicine.
I only found out just how much they hid when I pretended to have "seen the light" and become a 200 percent rabid fundicostal just like them in my sophomore year at Carolina. I was hoping to get enough dirt on them to get them booted off campus. On my first day as a "Trojan fundie," I ran into a couple of gals who had been among my closest friends in that outfit. Earlier that year at "See You At the Pole," they'd tried to wheedle me back in, saying I was experiencing "lack" and "unfulfillment" as long as I wasn't a fundicostal. I let out a belly laugh and suggested, "Why don't you do something more productive--like studying?" So naturally, as part of my act I felt like I had to "apologize" to them. When I "apologized" to one of the girls, she said that she knew it wasn't really me, and now that I had gone from slamming them at every turn online and on campus to coming back where I belonged, I was just like the Apostle Paul.
It's been 16 years, and I find the lack of proportion to be just as staggering now as it was then. You mean to tell me that merely speaking out against you is the same as actually killing Christians? I've spent most of the last 16 years trying to understand fundie culture as part of a book I'm working on about my experience in that Christianist cult--and even then, this makes absolutely no sense. It made even less sense considering that these guys found it perfectly acceptable to deceive people about who they were and created a culture in which the most disreputable tactics were considered acceptable in the name of getting people saved--including hectoring people even when they said they didn't want to listen.
That, friends, is the persecution complex in a nutshell. And it's the kind of thing we have to deal with when looking at the religious right.