Fundamentalism and Violence, Part 3

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In response to the bombing at the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996, the first African-American Ambassador to the United Nations and Co-Chairman of the Atlanta Olympics Committee declared, "Violence is the language of those who are not heard." In calling for genuine communication, he was asking all of us to create connection in a way that would pre-empt violence.

As long as fundamentalists remain isolated and secretive, they can stew in their fear perpetuated by their leaders, which can invent paranoid scenarios to spur them to violence. As long as we, in the mainstream, threaten to invade their provinces, as long as we tell them that they are wrong in their religious beliefs, we actually lend our energy to violence through our resistance to fundamentalists. Nothing matters more to "true believers" than being right about what they believe. We live in a world literally dying for want of peace. We need ways to create connection with fundamentalist peoples at home and abroad, instead of repeating history by doing violence.

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Although the raid on the YFZ compound didn't erupt in violence, there's no doubt that it violated families and religious tenets. Whether the religious rights are protected by or overreach the limits of the U.S. Constitution remains a matter for the supreme courts. But I don't think we can rest assured that another raid on polygamist settlements will not erupt in violence. What, in your opinion, triggers fundamentalists to erupt in violence?

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