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.

Don B

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Comment by Donald R Barbera on September 4, 2011 at 1:54pm
Woman weren't chattel but cattle in the Bible. Men could do as they please and still do.
Comment by Daniel W on September 4, 2011 at 1:02pm
Some bible verses about divorce. Basically it looks like "don't divorce, but if you do, don't remarry" and if you do remarry, you are committing adultery, which is a "big 10" in the 10 commandments - a set of verses that does not include homosexuality or abortion. The bible does not forbid polygamy and in fact there are examples of those favored by Yahweh who were polygamists (Abraham, Solomon, David). If christian activists were really promoting their own religious proscriptions, they would concentrate on repeal of laws allowing divorce, and concentrate far less on their favorite social issues.

Deuteronomy 24:1–4 Law of Divorce “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, 2and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, 4then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.

Mark 10:12 and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”

Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.

Mark 10:9 “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

1 Corinthians 7:10–11 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11(but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Matthew 19:9 “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Malachi 2:16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on September 3, 2011 at 4:51pm
Thanks for the tip! I need all the help I can get. By the way I just read a story talkin about the big role religion wil play in the 2012 election. Why? Even religionists know that being a Christian make no difference in behavior. Evangelical research George Barna admitted as much saying that there was virtually no difference in behavior of Christians and secular society. I'd say it was a reluctant throwing in the towel, but it's still there. Besides, religious sincerity is so easy to fake and we're talking about politicians just a notch above the Dalton Gang and one below Jesse James.
Comment by Daniel W on September 3, 2011 at 9:20am

You are right about today's journalism.  Trying to locate actual truth is like trying to find a diamond in a fresh cow patty.  It's so frustrating.  As for christian orwellian manipulation of statistics, well, being christian these days seems synonymous with disingenuous.


(helpful hint, for what it's worth - for tags, if you put it in quotes you can have a tag that says "lies damn lies and statistics" as opposed to having a tag that says "and" and another that says "lies" etc)

Comment by Donald R Barbera on September 2, 2011 at 10:56pm
Today's journalism has turned into a circus of cut and paste, rip and read and lead and bleed reporting. The Liberal Press? Never existed. However, good journalism did, but it is nearly gone, but the Internet is helping correct some of it, at least until someone discovers a way to find the correct for a hypodermic full of money. Today's media seem much like our congress--bought and paid for no matter which you cheer for. I am surprised that business and their booster club, the US congress, took this long to figure it out--buy the media and you are the boss! Notice where "In God We Trust" appears billions of times each day. If you are out of work and losing your house, you bought the hype. If you're at least smiling a wry smile and nodding your head, you know the joke's on you.


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