Stuff Fundies Like recently shared a meme about unwritten rules in fundamentalism, which hit the nail on the head. Among Protestant fundamentalists, at least, unwritten rules abound for distinguishing the righteous from the unrighteous.
More times that I can count, fundamentalists assured me that all I had to do in order to be saved was to accept Jesus as my personal savior. They conveniently left out the fine print, which is required for believers to be considered truly saved in their camp. When one observes fundamentalists, the fine print quickly comes into focus:
(1) Thou shall tithe AT LEAST 10% of ones' gross income to the church, regardless of whether one is struggling with poverty, and regardless of whether the church is transparent about its finances.
(2) Thou shall adopt an anti-abortion, anti-Planned Parenthood stance, no matter how much evidence shows that reproductive health services help women.
(3) Thou shall adopt an anti-LGBTQ stance and support efforts to deny rights to the LGBTQ community.
(4) Thou shall resist church-state separation, no matter how fair or reasonable the wall of separation.
(5) Thou shall vote Republican, no matter how disastrous or unreasonable their policies.
(6) Thou shall support patriarchy. If female, thou shall submit to one's husband, no matter how foolish, selfish, or abusive his behavior. If male, thou shall lord over one's wife as a parent lords over a child. If bitterness and passive-aggression seep into one's marriage, thou shall not blame this patriarchal arrangement.
(7) Thou shall marry and have children, regardless of whether one wants to or can afford to do so.
(8) Thou shall defer to the pastor in all things.
(9) Thou shall circle the wagons around any Christian authority figure accused of illegal or unethical behavior, no matter how much suffering this inflicts on his victims.
(10) Thou shall adopt an inerrant interpretation of the Bible, no matter how abhorrent or antediluvian some of its passages may be. Thou shall ignore the passages that are incompatible with 21st century American life.
(11) Thou shall suppress one's natural feelings and faculties, including but not limited to doubt, critical thinking, sense of fairness, sexual desire, and anger.
(12) Thou shall adopt new fundamentalist language, including thought-terminating cliches and weasel words. Use of the Lord's name in vain, profanity, or the words "luck" or "magic" are grave sins deserving furious condemnation.
(13) If female, thou shall adopt arbitrary modesty standards, lest one be blamed for leading men astray. Thou shall cover up from head to toe and refrain from wearing pants.
(14) Thou shall ostracize those who will not join you. Thou shall fear and hate anyone outside of the fundamentalist bubble, thinly veiling one's disdain in language of "love". Thou shall act catty and passive-aggressive toward non-believers, apostates, and the "wrong" types of Christians if they refuse to join you.
(15) Thou shall despise nuance. Thou shall divide reality into black-and-white categories (saved vs. unsaved, Christians vs. "the world", masculine vs. feminine) and refuse to countenance shades of gray.
(16) Thou shall not respect the boundaries of others, especially when proselytizing.
(17) If Charismatic or Apostolic, thou shall speak in tongues, pray loudly and ostentatiously, and spout vague prophesies, lest the others question your faith.
I have no patience for high-pressure sales pitches that leave out the fine print. If fundamentalist Christians are going to proselytize, they should at least be honest about these unwritten rules of their faith.