Christianity has an awesome propaganda machine that regularly pumps out information, misinformation and down right lies, which the media regularly promotes as gospel rather than investing a little critical thought and just a smidgeon of skepticism (default mode for real journalists).
A good example of poor journalism, sloppy work and plain laziness comes in a story picked up by the national media from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. As a research organization, Pew's credentials are impressive, but not unquestionable as a story saying that the high divorce rate of Christians is under attack. The USA Today ran a Pew press release concerning the Christian divorce rate almost verbatim and were not caught with their Book of Logic open. Now, the rest of story.
In a March 11, 2001 story released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a University of Connecticut sociologist, Bradley Wright, claimed that statistics showing Christians as the most divorced group in the United States are incorrect.
"It's a useful myth. Because if a pastor wants to preach about how Christians should take their marriages more seriously, he or she can trot out this statistic to get them to listen to him or her," Wright claimed.
Wright is not the first researcher to make the claim as other apologists and family activists have made the same claim. There is just one problem--they are it wrong.
Christian apologist constantly try to find away around the facts by verbal sleight-of-hand and rhetoric that would do a grammarian or debate expert proud and that is the entire basis of words that added up to no story, unless it is about the fraud; otherwise, it is clear testimony the sins otherwise honest people will unconscionably commit in the name of religion.
Without even mentioning the details of the data used, where it came from and how it was interpolated, the entire propaganda piece can be cast in the garbage with one quote from the story.
"The various findings on religion and divorce hinge on what kind of Christians are being discussed."
This means that 94% of prison inmates will not be counted, nor will the 70% contributing to the overall abortion rate. Of course, when it comes to counting the totality of Christians in the United States, pedigree will not be a consideration.
The sheer inanity and intellectual dishonesty of the "what kind of Christians are being discussed" statement is appalling. It is akin to saying if the Chicago Bulls had no Michael Jordan, they could not have won six championships. Duh! I would imagine that doctors that practice their art are superior to those that don't. As a scholarly finding it ranks with the discovery that placing a snowball in an oven causes it to melt; or, saying, "when I run, I go faster."
The kiss of death for pure propaganda should have been the following statement:
"The divorce rates of Christian believers are not identical to the general population -- not even close. Being a committed, faithful believer makes a measurable difference in marriage."
That statement did not come from Wright, but Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family in a column in Baptist Press highlighting Wright's interpretation of the state of divorce for Christians.
Their logic is unassailable as I found that when I opened my eyes, used my fingers and quit trying to transmit this piece by telepathy, I was much more successful. Go figure.