Anyone involved in politics is familiar with “PolitiFact,” one of the so-called mainstream media’s vehicles for helping its readers separate rhetorical fact from fiction. Of course, the very idea of the media acting as the arbitrator of what is truth is a joke in and of itself, and today’s PolitiFact entry in the Richmond Times Dispatch is another example of that entity’s failure to live up to at least half its name. In labeling a statement by Congressman Randy Forbes about anti-Christian bigotry at a recent military training program “Mostly False,” they take logical gymnastics to a whole new level. The story goes like this: at a U.S. Army Reserve Briefing in Pennsylvania, a presentation was made that included a slide entitled “Religious Extremism” that listed “Evangelical Christianity” and “Catholicism” right along with “Al Quaeda” and “Hamas.” (Oh, and identifies the Ku Klux Klan as “Christian” for good measure.) Lots of media covered it, and Forbes, known for his principled defense of religious liberty, made several statements about the incident.
You can review the slide in question by clicking here and going to slide 24.
After receiving complaints (were they surprised?), the slide was removed from the presentation and the military made statements to the effect that no one had a clue what was in the presentation and it was all the presenters fault, or something like that. Oh, and they added that the presenter was “not a subject matter expert.”
Seriously? Let’s hope the guy presenting on how to fly the drones is a “subject matter expert.”
While PolitiFact admits the presentation with the slide “…did happen,” it adds an astonishing statement: “Forbes statement has an element of truth but ignores critical facts….”
The element of truth, I guess, is that the incident actually happened.
Yet, PolitiFact itself completely ignores “critical facts” about repeated incidents of anti-Christian bigotry that give Congressman Forbes’s comments context. A list of these incidents, found here, includes:
- A War Games scenario at Fort Leavenworth that identified Christian groups and Evangelical groups as being potential threats;
- A 2009 Dept. of Homeland Security memorandum that identified future threats to national security coming from Evangelicals and pro-life groups;
- A West Point study released by the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center that linked pro-lifers to terrorism;
- Evangelical leader Franklin Graham was uninvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer service because of his comments about Islam;
- Christian prayers were banned at the funeral services for veterans at Houston’s National Cemetery;
- Bibles were banned at Walter Reed Army Medical Center – a decision that was later rescinded;
- Christian crosses and a steeple were removed from a chapel in Afghanistan because the military said the icons disrespected other religions;
- Catholic chaplains were told not to read a letter to parishioners from their archbishop related to Obamcare mandates. The Secretary of the Army feared the letter could be viewed as a call for civil disobedience.
And just this week we learned that a virulent anti-Christian had been hired by military leaders at the Pentagon as a consultant on policies about religious expression.
There’s little doubt PolitiFact is well aware of these incidents given the in-depth research they claim to do. Why not include them to give Forbes’s remarks more context? Instead, they worry that Forbes’s statement might give the “wrong impression.”
Yea, cause the truth apparently gives the wrong impression.