Katie invokes a misconception I’ve seen before about what fundamentalism is all about, in order to argue that there’s no analogy between Christian fundamentalists and Islamists.
The easy way of seeing this is to think of where the term fundamentalism *should* be used. To do this we have to look at the history of it. The fundamentalists come from the 19th century. They were against all biblical reforms and humanistic developments. The protestant biblical hermeneutics were threatening classical thinking of the church and the fundamentals were striving to protect that classical way of thinking. The modernizing and liberalizing of the classics resulted in this modern reaction of trying to restore classical and originally revealed words as to access their original knowledge.
Thus it is use most correctly when we are using it in response to liberalizing modern biblical hermaneutics – or to give this some modern condentation, those that strive to keep the constitution in its original form, those that treat it as a pseudo-sacred text and as the inviolable foundations of which the U.S law is based on.
But in reality, Christian fundamentalism arose not just against a liberal theology, but also against a liberal society. The watershed moment of American fundamentalism was the Scopes Trial, which had nothing to do with theology and everything to do with social acceptance of science.
Even in the late 19th century, the political movement that was most amenable to fundamentalism was populism. As with all political movements, the influence of theological interpretations on populism was scant; instead, populism was a reaction against capitalism and various scapegoats associated with it, like Jews. Although the Southeast had been the most religious area of the country since the Second Great Awakening, it became fundamentalist because of disillusionment with modernism.
That, of course, parallels the development of Islamism. Islamist scholars dispute the more liberal theological interpretations of Islam, but the reason there are more than a few hundred Islamists in the Middle East isn’t theological. Rather, it’s a deep resentment of modernism, fomented by the failure of Ba’athism to promote progress.