I’m going to organize this as bullet points for each episode.
Gods Jewish Warriors
- I thought this was the best one of the series.
- It was balanced in showing both the extremist settlers, and the more mainstream Jews who were opposed to the extremists.
- They gave ultra-orthodox Jews a free pass on the sexism issue, which was unfair. They noted the treatment of women by Muslim and Christian fundamentalists, but mentioned nothing that I recollect.
- I was also impressed with how they discussed the international dimensions of the settler movement, and the fundamentalist Christians and right wing Jews who provided money and support to the settler movement.
- They also discussed the changes throughout history and covering the various peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors. One of the most disturbing parts of the special was the discussion of the killing of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. If you don’t know the story, you can click on the link.
God’s Muslim Warriors
- I felt like this one was a little more predictable because we are quite accustomed to critiques of Muslim fundamentalists–people promoting violence, Jihad, etc. I do wish they would have highlighted more of the moderate leaders, and more people opposed to Islamic fundamentalism. They did interview a few people who left extremist groups, which was interesting, but I wish they would have talked with people who were fighting these extremists all along.
- I thought the scenes of the Iranian women protesting were the most moving. Heart has several postings on the women’s movement in Iran; you can find them here. Many of the Muslim countries in the Middle East have draconian anti-women policies, and these policies are often justified in the name of religion. By far one of the most consistent trends with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish extremists is their disdain for the rights of women.
- They did very good at focusing on the international dimensions of the movement; in particular the growing movement in Europe. What I also found interesting was how both the Christian and Muslim fundamentalists were obsessed with the “cultural decay” in the West, focusing mostly on the decline in traditional definitions of family, materialism, and hedonistic popular culture.
God’s Christian Warriors
- This was by far the worst of the three. First, they didn’t show any of the Christian fundamentalists who advocate murder and violence. There was a brief mention of bombing abortion clinics, but I wish they would have had an in-depth interview with someone like American terrorist Eric Rudolph or any of these people who have engaged in violence at abortion clinics. What about the Christian Identity movement? What about Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps and his family? They did talk with Christian fundamentalists, but they didn’t talk to the ones who engage in or promote violence like they did in the first two parts of the series.
- I was happy to see them discuss gender, and the treatment of women, especially when Christiane Amanpour told the one minister that the Taliban said the same thing as him. That was classic. But they didnt get into the depth that they could have– discussing churches who barred women from being ministers.
- There were not enough interviews with people opposing Christian fundamentalism. They had two ministers who stepped away from some parts of the movement. I liked the Minnesota minister, who couldn’t figure out why these groups were so obsessed with homosexuality as a sin, but not materialism, greed, or gluttony.
- There was no coverage of the international nature of Christian fundamentalism. You would think it is only in the US, but there are places like. Several of the countries in the pink on this map prohibit abortion even in the cases of rape and incest, and Christian fundamentalists are responsible for promoting this in many countrries. This list also includes some of the various Christian based terrorist groups around the world.
What do you think?