Friday, December 18, 2009

Logic, not his strong suit

Last May, culture warrior and failed presidential candidate Gary Bauer was upset about the proposed hate crimes legislation. The standard argument against the bill at the time was that adding gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation to existing hate crimes laws would somehow lead to the criminalization of Christianity. That argument was as dishonest as it was vile. They argued that extending the penalties for violent crimes based on the gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation would also criminalize hateful speech. This was a lie. Not only was hate speech not included in the bill, it would have been immediately struck down as unconstitutional if it had been included. They further argued that hateful speech directed at women and gays was such an integral part of Christianity that outlawing such speech would amount to de facto criminalization of Christianity. This was both a libel against the Christianity practiced by most Americans and a very disturbing look into the psyche of Bauer's confederates. Bauer managed to take even that argument one step further by claiming the new law would make hate thought illegal, a claim that added silly to dishonest and vile as a proper descriptor for their arguments.

Today, it seems, Bauer is very upset about hate crimes.
Throughout much of the world today, where Christianity is in decline attacks on Jews are on the rise. In post-Christian Europe, Jews are often victims of a deeply entrenched anti-Semitism.


It is true that the citizens of the U.S. are more pious than those of many European countries, where the decline of faith has been much reported. Still, in the U.S., legal attacks on Christmas have become as much of the tradition as the holiday itself, and church attendance among American youths has reached all time lows.


America’s secular momentum coincides with an increase in persecution of American Jews. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently released 2008 hate crimes statistics showing that 65.7 percent of religion-motivated hate crimes were anti-Jewish. There were 1,013 cases of hate crimes motivated by anti-Semitism last year, the most since 2001.

His solution is for more people to become Christians because we all know that that's never bad for the Jews.

It is particularly laughable that, in his column against the hate crimes bill, Bauer used the phrase "Correlation does not imply causation." Both columns are filled with logical flaws, distortions of fact, and self-pity, but, for now, let's just stick with his correlation of increased secularization and increased anti-Semitism. Bauer draws his statistics from the period 2001-2008. Let's look at some other trends during that period that are just as likely as secularization to be a cause of rising anti-Semitism.

The last eight years saw:
  • The presidency of George W. Bush
  • The rise of reality shows
  • iPod
  • A dramatic decrease in Joe Lieberman's political ethics
  • Paris Hilton
  • The Iraq War
  • Texting
  • A dramatic increase in economic insecurity
  • Endless fear mongering by certain pundits and politicians
  • A dramatic increase in the amount of crabgrass in my lawn
  • The Harry Potter movies
  • Jon Stewart becoming the most trusted newsman in America
  • Too many Americans surrendering their Constitutional rights for the illusion of safety
  • Paris Hilton
  • Glen Beck on my teevee

My votes go for fear mongering and economic insecurity, but I wouldn't rule out the crabgrass. That stuff is evil. Feel free to make your own nominations in the comments.

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