Wednesday, September 10, 2008

False Witness
Parableman: "Palin Derangement Syndrome"

From Jeremy Pierce:

I think the only way to describe what's going on with Sarah Palin is that Bush Derangement Syndrome has now been transferred to Palin. There's no other way to explain how such blatant misrepresentation and distortion could so consistently and comprehensively turn so many of her views and actions into something completely different (even leaving aside the deeply insulting personal remarks, rumor mongering, and sexist double-standards).
I do not think this has quite reached the soul-twisting hatred directed at the Bush Administration -- only Nixon Derangement Syndrome came close to that; but the shotgun attack from her political opponents (trying to find something that sticks) is about as bad as I have ever seen -- ever.

Now, it may be that the plethora of lies, half-truths, and distortions will actually help the Democratic ticket win in November. Or, it may be that some of the largely transparent nonsense will actually backfire -- especially (PC Alert) since folks are "picking on a girl". Certainly, it is working that way with me. As I hear "stuff" that I know sounds "too bad to be true" -- and research it for myself -- I am finding out that I like Sarah Palin more and more. This is most true when I here about her religious beliefs - and I know they do not match the churches she attends.

Jeremy is happy though:
I'm glad someone has put together a numbered list of these myths, because so many of them have been perpetuated by major news organizations that I find myself repeating myself over and over. Directing someone to this site and a number in the list will be much easier.
I agree, that will be useful. Jeremy picked a few highlights (1,23,37,38,50,66) but he is right:
you've got to read it yourself to see some of the crazy rumors, especially 8 and 10. I'm not sure what 22 is doing on the list, but I had a similar response to 21.
Jeremy has also done the work every Christian voter should do when faced by something that seems extreme. Remember, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain, and Sarah Palin have been "vetted" by voters in a number of elections prior to this one - they are probably not loony "snake handlers". If something makes you go "Why would anyone vote for someone who [believed, did, voted for] something like that?", then most likely you need to check out both sides of the story -- they probably didn't [believe, do, vote for] something like that. You are most likely being fed a half-truth or outright lie.

So, what did Jeremy do when he read a story on the AP --"Palin church promotes converting gays" -- that started with this paragraph:
Gov. Sarah Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.
He did what any self-respecting informed voter does -- he went to the website of the conference organizer, Focus on the Family, and looked up the conference. This is what the website says about Love Won Out:
Are you here to "cure" gays? Absolutely not. The only time you'll ever hear the word "cure" used in relation to our event is by those who oppose Love Won Out. They also like to claim we want to "fix" or "convert" gays and lesbians and that we believe people can "pray away the gay." Such glib characterizations ignore the complex series of factors that can lead to same-sex attractions; they also mischaracterize our mission. We exist to help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome. It is not easy, but it is possible, as evidenced by the thousands of men and women who have walked this difficult road successfully.

But your goal is still to make gays straight, right? That is a gross and narrow oversimplification. We aren't here to "make" anybody do or become anything; we are here to offer a biblical and experiential perspective on the issue of homosexuality that is, sadly, underreported in the mainstream media. Our goals include aiding parents who want to learn how to better love their sons or daughters without compromising their faith; helping people who want to better understand the many factors that can lead to someone adopting a homosexual identity; and assisting those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions and want to discover how they might also start upon the path ― a difficult path, as noted above ― to overcoming those desires.

Do you believe homosexuality is a choice? We do not believe anyone chooses his or her same-sex attractions. We concur with the American Psychological Association's position that homosexuality is likely developmental in nature and caused by a "complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors" ( We would also agree with the American Psychiatric Association when it states "some people believe that sexual orientation is innate and fixed; however, sexual orientation develops across a person's lifetime." If you ever hear us use the word "choice," it is in relation to men and women who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions choosing to steward their impulses in a way that aligns with their faith convictions.
As Jeremy points out (but not about me), that is exactly what I sought when I was confronted with a scriptural, and spiritual, direction to be celibate. He is also right that Rachel D'Oro's failure to even do a little bit of research on her story makes it largely a partisan hit-piece - and not journalism on any level.

Now, many (if not most) gays will find plenty to argue with in the quote above - and at least then they will be arguing against a real, and not a straw, man. If someone really wanted to argue against the real Palin, instead of a straw woman, they would factor into their concepts of how she views the separation of church and state (and it's relation to gay rights) the following largely ignored fact:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin vetoed a bill Thursday that sought to block the state from giving health benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

In the first veto of her new administration, Palin said she rejected the bill as unconstitutional despite her disagreement with a state Supreme Court order that directed the state to offer the benefits.

"Signing this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office," Palin said in a written statement Thursday night. --
This is not to say that she supports same-sex benefits -- she says she doesn't. What it says is that on a volatile issue she followed the dictates of the Alaska constitution and rejected a bill passed by her own party in the Alaska legislature; and
While the previous administration did not implement same-sex benefits, Palin complied with a state Supreme Court order and signed them into law.[28]
That is a very positive statement about her views of executive branch responsibilities in it's relationship with both the legislative and judicial branches.

Jeremy has also confronted the "Palin is a creationist" lie as well in his "Palin and Evolution" post . It is well-researched and presented.

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly