Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist, recently warned that the rise of Ebola signaled that we are living in the last days. Few people noticed. Christian filmmaker Paul Lalonde released an awful movie in October about the end of the world. Despite snagging Nicolas Cage for the lead role, Lalonde’s retooling of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’s bestselling Left Behind books fell flat with audiences.
It was with a dose of suspicion that I started reading the feature article in the New York Times Magazine (Feb. 27) about the Scheibners, a large family intent on creating a well-defined Christian subculture in the midst of what, from its perspective, is a world gone hopelessly awry.
It’s been said that a fundamentalist is an evangelical who got mad. Fundamentalists in 1920, angry that their fellow conservative believers did not fight back, fought against moderates and liberals in their own denominations as well as in other churches and in the nation. Their politically minded descendants do the same these days, using their kind of biblical literalism as a weapon.