What follows is an excerpt from an essay originally published in The Wheel, No. 6 (Summer 2016). Click on the link below to download the full essay as a PDF.
Born in northern Indiana in 1980, I was raised in a conservative evangelical Protestant enclave community, and thereby hangs a tale. While I will try not to tell it like an idiot, this tale is certainly full of sound and fury. My fundamentalist milieu was characterized by an apoc-alyptic ethos that went hand-in-hand with urgent engagement in what I like to call the quasi-ecumenism of Biblical literalism—though “interconfessional culture wars” might be a more immediately accessible descriptor—with implications for church state relations, interfaith dialogue, and even geopolitics. This tale may be framed as one of “bad ecumenism,” the offspring of fundamentalist resistance to modernity and Cold War anti-Communism. Ironically, the associated movement has, of late, been forging an alliance with Moscow. Far-right voices in both Europe and North America have been looking to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a moral exemplar and a beacon of hope. Bad ecumenism has ushered in an era of right-wing fellow travelers.