In various posts, I’ve tangentially mentioned the phenomenon of the non-apology apology. This is when someone who’s done something wrong, tries to take it back, but without really admitting wrongdoing, without really explaining what s/he did, and/or by cluttering the matter up with deflections. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri, about whom I blogged yesterday, thoughtfully provides us with a sterling example of what a “non-apology apology” is. Talking Points Memo reports what he had to say (WebCite cached article). I will parse this “apology” out and demonstrate how, point by point, Akin actually failed to apologize:
As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault.
The trouble with this sentence is, his comments had nothing whatever to do with “protecting” any “victims of sexual assault.” By talking about “legitimate rape” (as opposed to “illegitimate rape,” I guess) he was suggesting that some rapes are not actually “rapes.” I don’t see how that could “protect” any woman at all.
In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.
This is failure point two: Akin did not “misspeak.” Rather, he blathered on about something in detail, even mentioning that doctors had told him women’s reproductive systems shut down and prevent pregnancy during rape. That’s not misuse of a word or phrase. That’s a specific, purposeful invention … and it’s likely a fiction (since I doubt any doctor ever told him such a thing).
Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.
Failure point three: It’s all well and good that he can say rapists “are the lowest of the low in our society,” but when he gave away the fact that he thinks not all rapes are true “rapes,” what good is it for him to say this?
I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue.
This is perhaps the one honest statement Akin makes: Yes, indeed, abortion is emotionally-charged. It’s the emotionally-charged nature of the pro-life movement that Akin has latched onto and is trying to appeal to for votes. Emotion is indeed the main fuel of the pro-life movement.
But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.
Failure point four: This is a deflection. Here he diverts attention from his asinine comments, and toward his pro-life stance. Repeating that he’s pro-life … which by now everyone already knows, anyway … does nothing to convey the slightest contrition over the comments he’s supposedly trying to apologize for.
I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.
Failure point five: Akin is playing the “martyr” card. Poor me, he’s saying, there are people whose votes I can never get, because <sniff> they hate me for being pro-life <sniff> and I can’t get them to <sniff> change their minds about me. All I can say to that is — Boo fucking hoo, Rep. Akin.
But I also believe that this election is about a wide range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren.
This is failure point six, and another deflection. Akin is saying, Stop whining about me, let’s bellyache about the economy instead. Unfortunately his original comments had nothing to do with the economy, therefore his apology cannot have anything to do with the economy.
We’ve had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion-dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs.
Failure point seven, and yet another deflection. Once again, Akin brings up something that has absolutely nothing to do with the comments he’s ostensibly apologizing for.
That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats’ failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead.
Failure point eight, and for the exact same reason.
Note what Rep. Akin did not include in his so-called “apology”: An explanation for how and why he thought women’s reproductive systems disable themselves during a rape. He specifically mentioned that doctors (plural!) had told him about it, but in his “apology” he doesn’t mention this at all. He doesn’t tell us which doctors told him this, nor does he say where else he might have gotten this idea from. It’s a significant component of the original remarks he claims to be apologizing for, yet he glosses them over as though he’d never said them.
Oh, and the icing on the cake of Akin’s putative “apology”? He put up a Web page on his site mentioning that he’s sorry (cached) … and right below it, a solicitation for campaign donations! How much more fucking mercenary could the man get!? He can’t even manage to apologize — if one can call it that (and as I’ve shown, one can’t) — without also putting his hand out for more money.
I close this by thanking Rep. Akin for offering this lesson in non-apology apologies. Public relations folks will no doubt look to this as an exemplar they can work from in the future.
Update: Politico reports Akin is doubling-down on his playing of the “martyr card” (cached). The “liberal media,” it seems, are out to get the poor little thing. Of course, he’s forgetting that a lot of his critics — including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his VP choice Paul Ryan — can hardly be called part of “the liberal media.” There there, little Toddie, everything will be OK. Quick, someone give the little crybaby a pacifier … !
Photo credit: Courtesy of LOL Builder.
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For a number of years now the Religious Right has been casting about for ways to cloak their opposition to abortion behind a veneer of rationality and/or practicality. It’s very common, for example, for them to claim abortion must be outlawed because of its supposed adverse effect on women’s mental health. (As if the fact that an event can be stressful is a valid reason to outlaw it — lots of things are psychologically stressful, such as watching one’s child learn to drive for the first time, and I can’t see any reason to prohibit that.)
Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin from Missouri, attempted another such rationale, as reported by the New York Times, and the result was a colossal faceplant of the first order (WebCite cached article):
In an effort to explain his stance on abortion, Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, provoked ire across the political spectrum on Sunday by saying that in instances of what he called “legitimate rape,” women’s bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy. …
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
If you’re like me, you may have a hard time believing a Senate candidate actually spoke these words. But I assure you, he did. He said them during an interview on KTVI-TV, and you can read about it on their own Web site (cached).
First, there’s no such thing as a “‘legitimate’ rape.” It’s a contradiction in terms. All rapes are criminal acts. There is never anything “legitimate” about any kind of criminal act. There’s literally no way that any “rape” can ever have any “legitimacy.”
Second, I’ve never heard that, during the course of a rape, a woman’s reproductive system turns itself off. Of course, I’m no doctor, and I can’t really know that for sure. If Akin cares to disclose which doctors told him this, I’d love to review their work. But until he substantiates this claim, I have to assume it’s just Religious Rightist bullshit.
Now, I’m sure folks in the R.R. will nonetheless defend these indefensible comments. They’ll say he meant to talk about “‘true’ rape” and not “‘legitimate’ rape.” There are some folks who believe — and I assume Akin is one of them? — that some rapes are not “really” rapes (e.g. “date” or “acquaintance rape”). But even this intended meaning is problematic, because in the end, there is no difference: A rape is a rape is a rape — period. End of discussion!
As for the part about women’s reproductive systems resisting pregnancy while they’re being raped, I can’t think of any way that might be defended … but that doesn’t mean some vehement Rightist won’t come up with some asinine, irrational justification for it.
As far as I can see, any Rightists who are upset over Akin’s comments are not upset over their content, but over the fact that they will be used against him in the election and they’re risking not acquiring a Senate seat.
At any rate, this is another post I’m tagging “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me,” for obvious reasons.
Note: It turns out Akin’s outrageousness is, in fact, being actively defended by at least one influential Religious Rightist and his organization. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council apparently approves of the idea that some rapes are “legitimate” and that women’s reproductive systems prevent pregnancies when they’re raped (cached). I knew I could count on at least one of these mindless goons to defend the indefensible. Let’s see how many more do so over the next couple days.
Update: As the Friendly Atheist points out, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association is also defending Akin … in particular, the medical part of his asinine remarks.
Photo credit: Demotivators blog (defunct).
Tags: 2012 election
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, religious right
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, you've gotta be fucking kidding me
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There are many forms of woo and nonsense cluttering up the world of healthcare. A lot of them are causal claims that many people believe exist, but which haven’t been demonstrated scientifically. I’ve blogged many times about the antivax movement, for example, claiming that vaccines cause autism — which is absolutely untrue — but there are many more forms of this pseudomedical phenomenon. One of them is electrosensitivity … the notion that EMFs cause any number of health issues, ranging from the mildly annoying to the downright debilitating. The Santa Monica Daily Press reports one electrosensitive in California is suing that city because she thinks their wireless parking meters are harming her (WebCite cached article):
What is the value of human health?
Denise Barton has a number: $1.7 billion, plus another $1.7 million every month thereafter.
Barton, known amongst City Council regulars for her detailed reports during public comment periods, filed a claim against City Hall for that hefty sum alleging that new “smart” parking meters were impacting her health.
In the claim, Barton asserts that radiation from the wireless signals emanating from the meters, which is similar to Wi-Fi Internet or cellular waves, is causing ringing in her ears, ear infections and tightness on the back, left side of her neck.
She’s convinced the city’s new meters are causing her health issues:
Barton’s problems began in April, not long after the meters began rolling out throughout the city.
But let’s examine the nature of the injury the wireless meters supposedly caused her:
She went to the doctor in late May with an ear infection, which required antibiotics to cure.
That’s funny. I’m no doctor, but I’m fairly sure that infections are caused by pathogens (e.g. bacteria or viruses). I wasn’t aware that infections were caused by radiation. But then, what could I possibly know? Ms Barton’s supposed “evidence” for the connection between her problems and the wireless meters is reported — uncritically — by the Daily Press:
Barton is concerned because there is some evidence, including a flag raised by the World Health Organization, that the low-level radiation may cause cancer and other illnesses in humans.
What the paper does not relate, is that this is NOT at all what the WHO has to say about low-level radiation. The truth is, the WHO says precisely the opposite of what Barton claims it says (cached):
In the area of biological effects and medical applications of non-ionizing radiation approximately 25,000 articles have been published over the past 30 years. Despite the feeling of some people that more research needs to be done, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals. Based on a recent in-depth review of the scientific literature, the WHO concluded that current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields.
So here we have two problems. First, Ms Barton lied about what the WHO has to say about EMF and health. Second, the Daily Press didn’t bother to confirm the WHO’s views about EMFs … when all they had to do was go to the WHO Web site and look (as I did)! Note, it’s not unusual for the proponents of pseudomedicine to lie, nor is it unusual for the media to refuse to call them on their lies. In fact, it seems to be standard operating procedure. The mass media have long been complicit in the promotion of woo and nonsense.
Allow me to conclude this by noting that I do not claim that people who think they’re electrosensitives have made up their problems or that they’re only “in their heads.” I’m not saying their maladies are fictional. I’m not saying Ms Barton didn’t have an infection. Electrosensitives’ afflictions are no doubt very real. What I — and nearly the entire medical world — dispute, is whether low-level EMF is causing the problems they have. There are very likely other causes, which simply haven’t been found yet. EMF becomes a convenient scapegoat, but it’s not the culprit. Something else is. And since electrosensitives’ symptoms run the gamut of just about everything that could go wrong with a person, I assume there are actually many different “somethings” causing their afflictions.
Photo credit: PsiCop graphic, based on originals by shokunin & johnny_automatic, both via Open Clip Art Library.
Hat tip: Consumerist.
Tags: denise barton
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In a move that may or may not irk evangelical Christians in the US, the Ottawa Citizen reports the largest Protestant denomination in Canada elected an openly-gay pastor as its new leader (WebCite cached article):
In a historic vote, the United Church of Canada has elected its first openly gay moderator.
After six ballots and nearly eight hours of voting at the church’s 41st general council in Ottawa Thursday, Rev. Gary Paterson emerged from a record field of 15 candidates to win the top job at Canada’s largest Protestant church. He is thought to be the first openly gay person to head any mainstream Christian denomination.
The 350 voting commissioners at the general council greeted the announcement with cheers and a prolonged standing ovation, and quickly voted to make Paterson’s election unanimous.
As the Citizen reports, this denomination has been leading the way regarding the status of gays in its ranks:
The United Church was the first mainstream church in Canada to allow the ordination of gay ministers. In 1988, the church’s general council declared that everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of sexual orientation, was welcome in the church, and all members are “eligible to be considered for ordered ministry.”
The decision was bitterly opposed by the church’s more conservative members, many of whom subsequently left the church.
In 1992, the United Church ordained Tim Stevenson, currently a Vancouver city councillor, as its first openly gay minister. Today, the church boasts many gay and lesbian ministers, and the issue is no longer contentious for most United Church members.
As I said, evangelicals here in the US may not even be taking notice of this. They tend to look down on, and even ignore, other countries. They already don’t think much of Canada, because it has socialized medicine (which, as we all know, is akin to the Massacre of the Innocents). It’s safe to assume this development won’t impress them, and will only make them think worse of our good neighbors to the north.
To any Christians out there who continue railing about how homosexuality is a “sin” and is an automatic disqualifier for anyone serving as clergy … allow me to remind you of what your own holy scripture says:
Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. (Eccl 7:20)
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Is 64:6)
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. (Mt 15:19)
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. (Mk 7:21-22)
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Mk 10:18)
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1 Jn 1:8-10)
[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God … (Rom 3:23)
It’s time for Christians to understand that, according to their own religion, no one … neither gays nor straights … is inherently less “sinful” than anyone else. As Paul wrote above, “All have sinned.” And “all” means “all,” as in “everyone.” Including you. Is that clear yet?
Photo credit: Jana Chytilova / Ottawa Citizen.
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Note: This post has been updated a few times since it was originally posted.
Pardon yet another off-topic diatribe about the putrid stench that now surrounds the Boston Red Sox. The wanton childishness going on within that team has reached epic proportions. The team fell below .500 some time ago and remains there. They’re now 6 games back in the hunt for the 2nd American League wild-card slot, with a number of teams — all better-performing — ahead of them. While it’s mathematically possible for them to reach the playoffs, with a month and half left to go in the season, it’s safe to say they’re out of contention. They’re toast.
But as I’ve blogged before, this is not new. The team’s woes go back at least to the pathetic ending of their 2009 season. Since then they simply have not gotten much done, and last September’s collapse was record-setting. I’m sure none of this is news to anyone in the organization; you’d think they’d have buckled down to improve their play and salvage the season. I mean, it seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?
Sadly, it turns out this is anything but obvious to the Red Sox. Rather than double-down on their baseball in an effort to climb out of the American League cellar, the players and staff have worked overtime, whining, complaining, and milking grudges all over the place. The main point of contention seems to be manager Bobby Valentine, a lightning-rod if ever there was one. Yesterday, Yahoo Sports reported that players demanded — and got — a meeting with ownership over him in July (WebCite cached article). There, several of them stated overtly that they refuse to play for Valentine any more. He’s too brusque for them. It’s true that Valentine is too mouthy for his own good (cached), but that’s not news to anyone in baseball; everyone knew what they were getting. It’s also true that Valentine is being blamed for the team’s failure and lots of fans — not to mention many in the sports media — would love to see him fired ASAP.
But despite Valentine’s flaws — and yes, there are plenty — he is most certainly not the problem (even though it now appears he’s not the solution). He was not with the team when it flamed out of the ALDS in 2009. He was not with the team when it failed to reach the playoffs in 2010. He was not with the team when it collapsed cataclysmically last year. He didn’t mismanage so many players’ recovery from injuries over the last three years (including David Ortiz, who should have been back on the team by now, but for no reason anyone can discern, is nowhere near returning). He didn’t go 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position last night (cached). While the players would love to have the milquetoast Terry Francona back as manager, nearly all of that happened on Tito’s watch. There’s no valid reason to expect the Sox would be any better if he were still managing, even though a lot of the Fenway Faithful are (stupidly) pining for his return.
In the wake of this “mutiny” report, Dustin Pedroia — supposedly one of Valentine’s most ardent foes — backpedaled on this (cached), and said the players had not agitated for a new manager. Sorry, but I’m not buying his double-take, and neither is most of Boston’s sports media (cached). It’s safe to say the Yahoo Sports report has come credibility, especially given that Sox principal owner John Henry admitted to being mystified about (cached) the discontent with Valentine (if there hadn’t been any, this admission would not have made any sense).
It’s already long past time for everyone on the team — players, coaches, management, and owners alike — to pull on their “big boy” pants and start acting their ages. Stop with the fucking meetings already. Stop with the whining and kvetching. Stop using injuries as an excuse for your own failures. Stop the finger-pointing. Stop mouthing off all the time. Stop running to reporters when you’re unhappy about something. Stop playing games with players’ recovery from injuries. Just get back to fucking work, and play ball (or coach, or manage, or whatever) as though you’re actually worth the millions of dollars a year you get paid to do it.
I wrap this up by pointing out — once again — that the ultimate responsibility for this debacle belongs to the Red Sox ownership. They’re the ones who write the checks to everyone working for the team. It’s their job to fix the situation — and not respond to it, as John Henry did, with a deer-in-the-headlights style “I’m mystified” response. That you don’t know what’s wrong with your own fucking team, Mr Henry, is perhaps the worst thing about all this. Either take control of the Red Sox, or sell the team to someone who cares and isn’t obsessed with becoming an English soccer mogul.
Update 1: The English soccer mogul added confirmation of the Yahoo Sports report in an email he sent to the media (cached). It ends with some of the worst bullshit I’ve ever come across:
But what is important for Red Sox fans to know is that ownership, players and all staff especially Bobby Valentine are determined to turn around what has thus far been an unacceptable, failed season. We are all on the same page in that regard and will not waver.
It’s been almost 3 weeks since those meetings. Since then the Sox have gone 8-11. There hasn’t been any improvement in their play. They were a sub-.500 team before the meetings, and they’ve played sub-.500 baseball since. Sorry, Mr Henry, but your claim that your team “will not waver” in its efforts, is simply not credible. I’m tired of hearing whiny platitudes and baseless assertions: Either get your team to play the way it should, or sell it off to someone who will.
Oh, and to add insult to injury … this poor excuse for a baseball team just threw tonight’s game away, too (cached). Well done, guys! What a great way to demonstrate that you “will not waver.”
Update 2: The Boston sports media are weighing in on this disaster of a team and its latest kiddie-style drama; it appears the days of mindless cheerleading for the home team are over. Kirk Minihane at WEEI radio agrees with me that ownership is at fault here, more than anyone else (cached):
It has to end. John Henry, not Larry Lucchino, not Ben Cherington, not Dustin Pedroia, not Bobby Valentine, needs to stand up, show some backbone and gain control of this organization. Because right now there is no question — none — that the players are in charge. …
It’s time for the owners to stop rolling over. Take a look at the standings for the last three years and then read Passan’s story. What they are doing simply isn’t working.
And Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe agrees with me that the team’s ills have been years in the making (cached):
The Red Sox last made the playoffs in 2009. They last won a playoff game in 2008. It is now 2012. This core group of players was underachieving a long, long time before Valentine showed up. That is undeniable.
The Red Sox have become accustomed to losing. With a few exceptions, most of the players shrug their shoulders and go about their business. That business, with few exceptions, is not winning baseball games.
There, ’nuff said. (Bonus points to anyone who gets that allusion!)
Update 3: As unbelievable as it may seem, last night the Red Sox outdid themselves in incompetence. The Oakland A’s obliterated and shamed them last night, blowing them out 20-2 (cached). This leaves them with an August 2012 record of 9-20, hardly much better than their disgusting, shameful, inexcusable 7-20 record in September 2011. Despite the earth-shattering blockbuster deal with the L.A. Dodgers that sent the team’s three largest contracts packing (cached), it’s plain that absolutely nothing whatsoever has changed among the rump team left behind by that massive trade. If we hadn’t realized it already, last night’s debacle ought to make it crystal clear: The Red Sox are no longer a major-league team. They’re a fucking disgrace.
Tags: american league
, bobby valentine
, boston red sox
, dustin pedroia
, john henry
, red sox
, you've gotta be fucking kidding me
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The Great Neocrusade pulled out all the stops in its effort to prevent a mosque from opening up in Murfreesboro, TN. I’ve blogged about the measures taken against it — both legal and illegal — by militant, furious Neocrusaders. But all of it was for naught. As the New York Times Lede blog reports, the mosque opened this weekend (locally-cached article):
After years of attacks, threats and court action, an Islamic center in Tennessee cleared one last hurdle that allowed it to open its doors on Friday to worshipers, allowing them to honor the occasion with prayers on what is Islam’s main congregational day of the week. But the opening of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was overshadowed by concerns after the shooting of worshipers at a Sikh temple on Sunday in Wisconsin and an arson attack on a mosque in Missouri this week. …
The mosque faced arson, vandalism and a court battle before it cleared [cached] a final step when it passed inspection this week and was given a temporary certificate of occupancy for 30 days.
Even in spite of their having ultimately lost this battle, some Neocrusaders still chose to be on hand to whine about the mosque’s opening:
Standing in the parking lot, Dan J. Qualls, 50, a former car plant worker, said he came to the center to protest. Mr. Qualls, wearing an “I Love Jesus” hat, said he understood that the First Amendment protects the right to worship freely but said he believed Islam represented violence.
To be clear, Mr Qualls and the rest of you Christofascist Neocrusaders … your own religion is violent, too. Moreover, you know it, even if you’d prefer not to have to admit it. Complaining about Islam being violent (and yes, it can be!) does not grant you the right to act as though your own religion is non-violent. It most certainly is not.
I suggest that Neocrusaders crack open their Bibles for once and actually read the reported teachings of Jesus Christ himself, the founder of their own religion:
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Mt 7:3-5)
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Lk 6:41-42)
Before you militant Christians can presume the right to critique other peoples’ religions, you should begin following your own. Please start doing so.
Photo credit: Stephen Lance Dennee/AP, via the New York Times.
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I’ve already blogged about the militant Christofascist pseudohistorian David Barton … whom the Right continues to call a “historian,” even though he is absolutely no such thing. That’s to be expected; Rightists generally have only a very loose grasp of history in the first place, so they’re hardly able to tell the difference.
But Barton was drawn up short today — by his own publisher — because, as NPR reports, his most recent book contains demonstrable fabrications and lies (WebCite cached article):
Citing a loss of confidence in the book’s details, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson is ending the publication and distribution of the bestseller, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson.
The controversial book was written by Texas evangelical David Barton, who NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty profiled on All Things Considered Wednesday [cached]. The publishing company says it’s ceasing publication because it found that “basic truths just were not there.” …
“Mr. Barton is presenting a Jefferson that modern-day evangelicals could love and identify with,” historian Warren Throckmorton, a professor at the evangelical Grove City College, told Hagerty. “The problem with that is, it’s not a whole Jefferson; it’s not getting him right.”
The book’s publisher came to the same conclusion.
Religious Rightists have had more than a little difficulty, over the past few years, with Jefferson. He’s one of the best-recognized Founding Fathers, but was also openly disdainful of religiosity and dogmatism. While they revere the Founding Fathers, Jefferson’s decided lack of piety is something the R.R. apparently can no longer stomach. Rightists in Texas, for example, have purposely skewed the public-school curriculum so has to downplay Jefferson and the Enlightenment as a movement. Barton’s book appears to be a reverse of that effort, intended to make Jefferson’s impiety and irreverence go away.
I expect Barton and his fans to portray him as a martyr to the faith and complain that Thomas Nelson caved in to “political correctness.” They will refuse to believe that Barton’s books are full of lies, and will instead convince themselves that everyone who tells them so, is the real liar. That Thomas Nelson is a Christian publisher, and that critics like Throckmorton are evangelicals themselves, will not matter to them one iota. They will still refuse to believe Barton has lied to them. Communal reinforcement is a powerful thing and it can lead to delusional thinking; Barton’s popularity is proof of that.
I should conclude this post by giving Thomas Nelson credit for this action; it surely has cost them a great deal. I also have to give props to Barton’s evangelical critics like Throckmorton; I’m sure their flocks will be none too happy they’ve sided with “the Enemy” against the great “historian” Barton.
Photo credit: chadh, via Flickr.
Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.
P.S. You gotta love the irony of the title of Barton’s book. He obviously intended it to refer to “lies” being told about Jefferson by other folks … particularly those evil “secular humanists” … but in truth, the “lies” are Barton’s own, and they’re contained within the pages of the very book that pretends to debunk them. How contemptible!
, christian right
, david barton
, liar for jesus
, liars for jesus
, lying liar for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, religious right
, the jefferson lies
, thomas jefferson
, thomas nelson
, warren throckmorton
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A couple months ago the well-known food company General Mills apparently committed the cardinal sin — in the eyes of militant religionists, anyway — of supporting gay rights. A devout Christian was so outraged by this, that he decided to stage a protest at company headquarters, by burning some Cheerios. But as the Smoking Gun reports, he managed to do just a little bit more than that (WebCite cached article):
The gay marriage opponent seen in a viral video accidentally setting a fire outside the General Mills headquarters is a Minnesota real estate broker who has previously recorded a series of anti-gay YouTube clips.
In the above video, Michael Leisner, 65, can be seen outside the General Mills corporate campus in Golden Valley. He is carrying a box of Honey Nut Cheerios in one hand and a blowtorch in the other.
As an aside … I wonder if there’s any particular reason Leisner chose “Honey Nut” Cheerios for his protest? But I digress:
But after Leisner torches the Cheerios box, he somehow allows flames to spread to the lawn in front of a giant General Mills sign. After trying–and failing–to stamp out the flames with his feet, Leisner tells two young companions, “Okay, get out of here guys.”
You’ve just got to love the way this idiot and his cadre of gay-haters fled the fire. What a class act!
Here’s video of this little exercise of religious expression:
I may have read the Bible extensively — from front to back, up and down, including reading the New Testament in its original Greek — but sadly, I appear to have missed Jesus’ instruction to his followers to “Go forth and set fires in My name.” If anyone out there would be so kind as to supply me with chapter and verse on that, I’d be much obliged. Thank you!
Please note that I refrained from exploiting the obvious pun reference to “flaming.” It would have been just too easy!
Photo credit: PsiCop original.
, gay hatred
, gay marriage
, gay marriage rights
, general mills
, honey nut cheerios
, marriage rights
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