Created By: Xzenu on November 26, 2010 Last Edited By: Xzenu on December 27, 2010

Activist Fundamentalist Antics

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Rolling Updates * Needs More Examples
  • Redirect: Your Life Offends My Religion

Lets say that you are right and everyone else is wrong, but everyone outside your little group of like-minded righteous people are simply to dumb to understand that you are superior. Surely you would be tempted to try to reach their hearts by methods that might seem a little silly and counterproductive?

A character doing Activist Fundamentalist Antics is likely to shout all the wrong slogans at all the wrong places: Religious gatherings, family holiday dinners, even funerals. She might make botched attempts at Easy Evangelism or Epiphany Therapy, coming across as a general Jerkass. She is likely to step on all toes, including her own, and trip over her own feet in all sorts of ways. One hallmark of this mentality is the desire to forbid other people from living their lives - not because they involve the character in the break of some certain taboo and not because they disobey some "universal" morality derived from the faith, but simply because they exist and isn't a part of the character's own Small, Secluded World.

When The Fundamentalist (or any other fanatic) is played this way, they can still be scary. There might be a real risk that they'll go off to the deep end and bring out the Torches and Pitchforks or resort to Honor-Related Abuse. Then again, it might also turn out that whatever windmill they was fighting was No Mere Windmill after all.

Extra bonus points if two or more groups are doing this at the same time against each other. This might lead to spineless authorities giving in to both sides, resulting in particularly surreal and hilarious cases of Political Correctness Gone Mad.

Note that a character doesn't have to be an organized activist to be this trope, taking an activist attitude is enough.

Please note that this trope relies on how attitudes and behaviors are portrayed within the narrative of a work, and is thus incapable of having Real Life examples: While everyone agree that there's a lot of silly Activist Fundamentalist Antics in Real Life, there will never be a consensus on which groups are this trope and which ones are not.

Compare Straw Loser. Contrast Against My Religion, where the character personally refuse to do things that he consider to be against his religion, rather then trying to bully everyone else into behaving the same way. Also contrast The Soulsaver and Soulsaving Crusader, which can contain behavior that would be this trope if it wasn't justified within the narrative.


Chick Tracts
  • In The 'Verse of Chick Tracts, a real christian would never resort to this kind of behavior. (They sometimes do stuff that would be this trope if it wasn't for the convenient power of Easy Evangelism - such as using people's personal tragedies as a good time to tell them that they are going to hell unless they join the one true religion. But never mind that.) However, preachers of other faiths easily fall into this trope, thus proving the christians to be superior.

Live-Action TV
  • One Boston Legal episode had two religious groups suing each other for blasphemy-related charges.
  • On True Blood we have the Fellowship of the Sun, a cult runnoing on a quite scary flavor of silliness.
  • Virgilia in the North And South miniseries is a particularly scary example. At first she was merely ruining family dinners and such, but she eventually goes off the deep end and even call down a lynch mob on her own home. The saddest part is that her family actually agreed all along with the core of her political agenda, what they can't stand is her extreme Black and White Morality.
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! portray various groups this way, for example PETA.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • One South Park episode ended with a ban on secular christmas as well as religious christmas, all thanks to Kyle's mother. The only song left for the kids to sing for christmas was "Kyle's mom is a stupid bitch" (in d minor, no less).

Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • November 26, 2010
    Decidedly Truth In Television.

    But I'm not sure if this is a trope or not...
  • November 26, 2010
    If it is, I assure you it is Flame Bait, especially since there are many religious zealots and Political Correctness has gone mad.
  • November 26, 2010
    Lets see how it turns out, especially with the border to the mentioned tropes as well as Moral Guardians.
  • November 27, 2010
    This might be already covered by Against My Religion.
  • November 29, 2010
    Thanks for the link, added the distinction.

    Also changed the main title to Activist Fundamentalist Antics, a title suggested by Fast Eddie in a repair shop discussion regarding Westbro Babtist Church.

    By the way, this trope as such is a spin-off from that same discussion.
  • November 29, 2010
    I'd agree with batgirl that it's Flame Bait, and there doesn't seem to be a trope. The True Blood and Onion examples (I haven't seen the media in question; I'm just going on the examples) mention nothing about activism. The South Park example (which I have seen) is Political Correctness Gone Mad.
  • November 30, 2010
    Added the "No Real Life examples please" tag. I totally agree with the flamebait concern, this is a obvious trope for disallowing real life examples.
  • November 30, 2010
    Also tweaked the trope description a bit, but it's far from finished yet. And yes, I'll expand those examples a bit.
  • November 30, 2010
    Wipe the Westboro Baptist Church example. It is a Real Life example.

    Can this cover animal rights or any other issue that people feel strongly about? If so, how about we just say "no religious examples"?

    The example I am thinking is about is PETA dressing up in KKK outfits and protesting outside the Westminster Dog Show.
  • November 30, 2010
    The Fundamentalist covers all kinds of fundamentalism, not just ultra-conservative religion. If there are fictional examples of that, it should be included.
  • December 1, 2010
    Of course secular examples are welcome. However, what the PETA example exemplifies is why this trope should not allow Real Life examples. The KKK outfits was surely Godwins Law, but there is a huge YMMV factor to whether or not the demonstration itself was this trope or not. Westbro Babtist Church is far less controversial: Pretty much everyone, including self-identified christian fundamentalists, agree about those guys, but there's a lot of disagreement over PETA.

    Allowing secular Real Life examples while forbidding religious ones, WTF? Unless that suggestion was some kind of humor/sarcasm, it was a horrible idea on so many levels.

    Anyway: Penn and Teller portrayed PETA as this trope, I'll add that media examples later today or tomorrow. Also, I think The Onion had at least one PETA example along these lines.

    And also anyways: Yes, I'll wipe the current Westbro Babtist Church Web Original media example. Mostly because it doesn't fit the way the trope definition is going - It's moving towards being a narrative trope on how activism et cetera is portrayed: Note that the Chick Tracts example already counts the evangelicals as an aversion because their behavior is justified in the setting and doesn't come across as this trope even though it surely would in real life.
  • December 27, 2010
    So, are you launching this, or what?

    (By the way, Christmas and Christian are proper nouns.)
  • December 27, 2010
    Hmm, okay. Was going to get a few more examples first, but this will do nicely. Launched.