The faulty logic behind religious stereotypes

Equivocation and straw man arguments drive political discourse in the media.

Everywhere really.

It’s so easy to create sensationalist “If then” scenarios to create controversy.

Roland Martin, an ultra-leftist, race-baiting host on CNN proved it when he spoke about Mitt Romney and his religion.

In a discussion about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Martin insisted that if the GOP wants to bring Wright back up, then Romney’s religion should also be back on the table.

First of all, his religion was never off the table as leftists in the media have taken every opportunity to lambaste Romney for his church’s views on gays and blacks among other things.

Without dwelling too much on this specific instance, what is going on here is a problem not just with Martin, but political discourse in general.

Republicans go after Wright, who had been Obama’s pastor for decades, for anti-American comments he made.

Wright does not represent Christianity.

Mitt Romney doesn’t represent Mormonism.

Wright speaks for Wright only. With his words, bombastic, inflammatory and incendiary as they were, it’s legitimate to question how many times over the years he’s made anti-American comments while Barack Obama listened.

As his presumed spiritual adviser, or at least guide, Wright doesn’t represent Christianity, just himself.

But to say, if you go after Wright we’re going after Mormonism, is a false causality.

One is not like the other.

It’s completely illogical and irrational to attack Romney for his church’s misdeeds, particularly those in which Mitt Romney played no part.

For instance, I went to a Catholic high school. I’ve been to Catholic mass hundreds of times, taken communion hundreds of times. Do I agree with everything the church has ever done?

Of course not.

But when the priest talks, I listen because that’s how it works.

What Martin does by comparing Wright to religion as a whole is to simply reinforce the notion that one person can represent an entire religion.

That doesn’t follow, and it’s that kind of broad brush ignorance that drives discrimination and close-mindedness in this country.

It’s the same reason that people were afraid of gays in the 1950’s. To most people, being a homosexual was about sexual deviance and violent, perverse sexual acts.

The more gays came out, the more people realized that they were just regular people who had a different sexual taste.

The same is true of Mormons. I, for instance, didn’t know any Mormons until I took my first job. There, I became friends with two and constantly picked their brains about the beliefs of their church. Never did I assume every person in the church believed the exact same things they believed, nor did I take the worst parts of history and associate them with my friends.

What Martin is espousing is a dangerous and discriminatory way of thinking. Mitt Romney’s religion shouldn’t be on trial any more than Obama’s was in 2008. And to be clear, Obama’s religion (so far as you believe he’s a Christian) was never being scrutinized or criticized, just a religion-based relationship he has.

We ought to judge people based on their own actions and the way their religions manifest in their behavior. We are all free to make our own choices and there are plenty of people who believe one thing and it never affects their behavior, particularly because it’s hard to keep the promises of most religions.

Saying one thing and doing another…I know that religion: it’s called “liberalism.”

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