A Word in Edgewise: Lying With Statistics – Or Whatever’s At Hand


It’s obvious bigots and hate-mongers rarely consider what they’re going to say, other than requiring it have the ability to instill fear and loathing for – whatever. Reason, science, facts–Jesus’s teachings–be damned.

It starts young. I recently read a piece quoting a high school student assuring the reader gays were going to hell for flouting Jesus’s teachings. I believe the Bible verses usually cherry-picked to damn homosexuals are plucked from the Old Testament, written centuries before Christ, by non-Christians. Jesus himself never uttered an anti-gay word.

Then we have the adults: Alabama State Senator Shadrack McGIll (R), has claimed that low teachers’ salaries are God’s will. Speaking at a prayer breakfast, and reported in the Times-Journal, he argued against raising teacher salaries because “It’s a Biblical principle. If you double a teacher’s pay scale, you’ll attract people who aren’t called to teach.” Besides, low pay for educators offsets the necessary high salaries for politicians, whose inflated salaries, he explained, will prevent bribery. “There needs to be a balance there,” McGill concluded.

Beyond what one McGill can accomplish, skewed thinking in the aggregate creates entities like One Million Moms (OMM). These ladies are boycotting JC Penney for welcoming Ellen Degereres as company spokeswoman. Their site states: “Degeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there.” Well-dressed, successful families don’t shop at Penny’s?

Brian Fischer, of the American Family Association, affiliated with OMM, asserted that JC Penney will now be responsible for an increase in breast cancer, depression and suicide ideation among their women shoppers. Fischer’s reasoning stems first from his belief that lesbians qua lesbians suffer a wider spectrum of physical and mental ailments and second, that heterosexual women, by merely entering the now tainted emporia, will be tempted to “try out lesbianism,” and thus fall ill.

How counter willful ignorance and hate? I don’t know, but we’ll be seeing more of it as November approaches. One voice of reason is Degeneres herself who responded, “I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.”

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