Monday, September 23, 2013

A myth trumpeted by atheists

It's sad to see Richard Dawkins website is the source of a recurring myth.

In June 2012 a Salvation Army PR director Major Andrew Craibe was put on the hot seat by gay activists in a radio interview. The Salvation Army is a Christian charity and their handbook lists multiple sections of the Bible that make up parts of their beliefs. Contained one of those sections in the Bible, but not spelled out in the handbook, is a verse that say gays should be put to death.

During the interview, which can be heard here, Craibe was told about this and he responded "Well, that's a part of our belief system." The interviewer spelled it out for him several times and he agreed to it each time.

The headlines screamed that the Salvation Army believes gays should be put to death, because after all, a spokesperson from the group agreed to the statement, even if  was a far-flung one from Australia. That lead to the Australian branch to issue a statement several days later. It read in part:

Salvation Army members do not believe, and would never endorse, a view that homosexual activity should result in any form of physical punishment. The Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine does not state that practising homosexuals should be put to death and, in fact, urges all Salvationists to act with acceptance, love and respect to all people. The Salvation Army teaches that every person is of infinite value, and each life a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and preserved.

So that should be the end of it, right? Of course not.

When Christmastime came around and the Salvation Army bell ringers started collecting money for charity, atheists in America started sharing the story again, saying not that the Salvation Army wants gays put to death and leave it at that. Myth-busting pages like Snopes and other myth-busting pages tell the whole story, but not everyone got the message.

Now we're getting close to Christmas 2013 and what do I see being shared from Richard Dawkins website? A 2013 piece entitled Salvation Army says “Gays Need to Be Put to Death” that leaves out some important details.

When I was an intern at a newspaper one of my editors told me we can we can never be unbiased, but we can always be fair. Presenting Craibe's interview with no mention of Australia or the response from the Salvation Army demolishing the statement is not fair. Putting quotation remarks around "gays need to be put to death" is lying.

Shame on Richard Dawkin's website staff for perpetuating misinformation.

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