If You Permit Big Enough
Lies Long Enough...
religious and political right-wing has learned that if you repeat lies over
and over, eventually people will believe them and the mainstream media will
repeat the lies as if they are just as respectable as the truth. Especially
when the opposition is too afraid to call them lies.
How many times do we hear the lie repeated even in "the paper of record,"
The New York Times, which reported otherwise at the time, that Saddam
Hussein kicked the UN weapons inspectors out of Iraq?
How many times do we hear one of the Bush administration's biggest lies
repeated: "Everyone thought Iraq had WMD's." The UN weapons inspectors
didn't. Former inspector Scott Ridder didn't. The whole anti-war movement
How much repetition will it take before we believe one of the latest
Bush lies: "No one anticipated the breach of the levies."
Is it only Al Franken who'll label them Lies and the Lying Liars Who
Tell Them? Is the best the right-wing can do to someone who labels right-wing
lies lies to say that they're just as radical as -- horror of horrors
-- Michael Moore?
They know it works and they know that most liberals are too scared to
say so. When a Democrat does come close, the right-wing knows how easy
it is to scare Democratic leadership right back into Republican-lite.
One of the most persistent liars is critiqued in the Winter 2005 edition
of the Southern Poverty Law Center's always hard-hitting investigative
journal, Intelligence Report. He's the junk researcher whose lies about
LGBT people are repeated ad nauseam, but effectively, by right-winger
preachers and politicians looking for cover to cloak their obsessive prejudices
against LGBT people.
Two articles, "The Fabulist" and "Garbage In Garage Out," take on professionally
discredited right-wing darling Paul Cameron. It's not the first national
organ to expose the 66 year old chairman of the Family Research Institute,
who has had to pay off publishers to have dozens of discredited "studies"
in vanity journals with no peer review processes such as Psychological
The fact that he lies is not only worth repeating but demands repetition
to counter his on-going drumbeat of deceptions. We must remind everyone
regularly that Cameron, as the New Republic reported on October 3, 1994,
"is the architect of unreliable 'surveys' that purport to show strains
of violence and depravity in gay life." Otherwise Cameron's "professional
sham" will become mainstream opinion.
Thrown out of both the American Psychological Association and the American
Sociological Association for misrepresenting his findings, Cameron's gory
pseudo-statistics on gay sexual activity and death rates are still popular.
It doesn't matter to the bigoted that the American Sociological Association
determined: "Dr. Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented
sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism."
You can assume that if you hear any statistics that contribute to the
oppression of LGBT people, even from less suspect sources, they've come
originally from the pseudo-science of Paul Cameron. His latest claim is
that gay sex is more dangerous than smoking. So, expect to hear that mantra
from the religious right.
Dr. John Whiffen, the chair of the board of the right-wing National
Physicians Center for Family Resources, already has no moral compunctions
with repeating Cameron's lies. Intelligence Report quotes Whiffen: "It's
fairly well-accepted that smoking is not a good idea. It takes seven years
off your life. It appears that male homosexuality takes more than that
off your life."
Science is prejudiced, the right-wing says, but not Paul Cameron, because
he says what the right-wing wants to hear. And the right-wing is so convinced
of its religious and moral superiority that it has no interest in anything
other than what it wants to hear. President Bush isn't alone in his rejection
of any facts that don't support his ideology.
Coupled with the idea that it's okay to cheat and steal from the devil,
lying is often a first response from the religious and political right-wing.
It's often second nature.
While the world watched, Pat Robertson told his Christian Broadcasting
Network audience on Monday, August 22, 2005: "You know, I don't know about
this doctrine of assassination, but if he [Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
who's standing against US imperialism in Venezuelan oil fields] thinks
we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead
and do it."
On the following Wednesday his first reaction to mounting criticism
was simply to lie about the whole thing. He was -- he thought he could
get away with saying -- "misinterpreted." He blamed someone else. It was
the fault of the Associated Prress, even though his statement was recorded
on his own 700 Club.
"I said our special forces should, quote 'take him out,' and 'take him
out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping," Robertson lied,
sporting that smile that charms the millions of supporters who rely on
his distribution network for the religious fix that makes them feel they're
on the side of the angels.
But Robertson couldn't sustain this deception in the name of his god
for long. There were too many people who knew what he had said, and who
refused to be silent. They may have covered up past offensive statements,
but he was caught. After another day of criticism, on August 25, Robertson
apologized, admitting he had said it but not apologizing for the fact
that he had then lied to the country: "Is it right to call for assassination?
No, and I apologize for that statement," Robertson said.
Politically, right-wing Republicans were elected to government office
believing government is evil, the cause of our problems, not a means of
helping US citizens. We need, right-wing operative Grover Norquist said,
"to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
From this group we'd expect lies, deception, cheating, and all sorts
of lobbying evils. They feel justified as if they're fighting a greater
But this can only happen because people enable it. They refuse to call
these lies because that's not a nice thing to say and it might offend
the liars themselves. Enablers allow even big lies to become believable
N. Minor, Ph.D. is Professor of Religious Studies at the University
of Kansas and author of Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society and Scared Straight:
Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard to Be Human.
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