Monday, August 25, 2008

Lies, damned lies and distortions

I've always heard it attributed to Mark Twain.

There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
I've even been known to use it myself.

It isn't quite accurate, though. There are other types of lies.

One of the most effective lies is the half-truth.

Unfortunately, in the current Anglican wars, the "conservatives" have been making tremendous use of this inherently dishonest tactic. Any isolated incident is siezed upon and proclaimed to be the norm in North American Anglicanism. The fact that these isolated incidents have most often been addressed, usually in a timely fashion, is deliberately left out of the story. Inconvenient facts are denied if they get in the way of the "conservative" slander machine.

Today, we have another tissue of lies posing as "conservative" Anglican journalism. Andrew Carey, right wing polemicist and son of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has produced an opinion piece recently published at Anglican Mainstream.

As a matter of policy, I refuse to link to Anglican Mainstream. It is, as far as I am concerned, an example of how dishonest people can use poison, venom and slander to destroy lives. It is a pool of toxic sludge, and I refuse to put souls at risk by sending them there. If you want to find the original article, I suggest you go via Mark Harris's Prealudium site - but on your way, take a moment to read Mark's point by point response to Andrew's Big Lie.

The Anglican far right have surrendered any moral high ground they may once have held. Their entire case is now built on a series of lies, damned lies, half truths and distortions. They occasionally round it out with some phoney-baloney statistics as well, where the total (unverified) claimed membership of some "conservative" province is compared to an arbitrarily discounted Sunday attendance statistic from Canada or the United States. (Of course, the idolizing of membership and attendance statistics goes out the window if anyone raises the data for the English Chaplaincy in . . . er . . . Province of the Southern Cone of America or the faster than the national average decline in the "conservative" Diocese of Quincy.)

Oh, and one of Andrew's lies that Mark fails to address is the fatuous pretence that the Church of England is somehow free of any taint of heterodoxy or any hint of clerical misconduct. Get real, Andrew. The naughty vicar and the atheist bishop didn't become staples of English comedy without a reason.


Tim Chesterton said...

Malcolm, I look forward with bated breath to the day when you sling mud at your own side with as much obvious venom and glee as you sling mud at those you call 'conservatives'.

By the way, Andrew Carey is not 'Right Wing'. No, no, not by a long shot.

June Butler said...

Malcolm, I went to read Carey's piece to make sure that he did not forget Bishop Spong, and, indeed, he did not.

Malcolm+ said...

Tim, I grow tired of being a rhetorical punching bag for those who refuse to be honest.

There are lots of perfectly reasonable conservative commentators. And yes, there are off the wall, unfair and probably even dishonest liberal commentators.

The fact reamins, though, that what Andrew Carey wrote would be most efficacious if spread liberally on a garden.

He and his fellow travellers have deliberately chosen to reject rationale criticism in favour of slander. Such tactics do not deserve toleration or respect.

Doorman-Priest said...

The Church of England is such a broad church you can sling mud anywhere and it will stick to someone.

And its survived an awful long time like that.

Anonymous said...

Wow you sound so angry.

Malcolm+ said...

Indeed. I have a low tolerance for people who don't tell the truth.

Fred Preuss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.