Monday, December 23, 2019

Farewell, False Equivalence

The Washington Post has a survey that mostly confirms things we already know...but these are things the news media have yet to internalize.

It starts out badly, though, by framing the obviously true and obviously false as if they were legitimate questions:
But do white evangelical Protestants actually believe that Democrats will strip them of their rights? And is it true that Democrats and atheists want to strip evangelicals of their rights? A new survey has some answers.
Is it true? Are you fucking shitting me? I nearly stopped reading right there. But it gets better with the survey results, which pretty definitively answer these non-questions:
Of...white evangelical Protestants, we found that 60 percent believed that atheists would not allow “hold rallies, teach, speak freely, and run for public office.” Similarly, 58 percent believed “Democrats in Congress” would not allow them to exercise these liberties if they were in power....

Would Democrats and atheists strip away conservative Christians’ rights and liberties if they could? To find out, I turned to [a] survey [that] asked respondents about their feelings toward various groups and whether they would extend civil liberties to those groups....

Then respondents were asked whether their selected group should be allowed to give speeches in the community, teach in public schools, run for public office and other liberties....

65 percent of atheists and 53 percent of Democrats who listed Christian fundamentalists as their least-liked group are willing to allow them to engage in three or more of these activities. That’s a much higher proportion with tolerance than the sample overall.

However, we found that a smaller proportion of white evangelicals would behave with tolerance toward atheists than the proportion of atheists who would behave with tolerance toward them. Thirteen percent of white evangelical Protestants selected atheists as their least-liked group. Of those, 32 percent are willing to extend three or more of these rights to atheists.
So, yes, confirming the obvious: conservative evangelicals believe themselves to be persecuted; they are not actually persecuted; and in fact they are inclined to persecute the people they fear. Which leads to the money quote:
Their fear comes from an inverted golden rule: Expect from others what you would do unto them. White evangelical Protestants express low levels of tolerance for atheists, which leads them to expect intolerance from atheists in return.
Every political reporter in the country should be forced to memorize this until they understand that every conservative evangelical claim of persecution is 100% projection, and that there is never any reason to treat such claims with even the tiniest bit of respect.

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