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I’ve already made up my mind (don’t confuse me with the facts)

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By Chuck Souder

As a follow-up to my last two columns (which in spite of what some apparently thought, were not primarily about puppies), I’d like to direct your attention again to the idea of truth.

Perhaps you have heard someone say, or have even said yourself, “Well, that may be true for you, but it isn’t true for me.”  I have never been able to wrap my mind around that sentiment.

You see, truth—by definition—is not subjective.  Truth is the way things really are; it is what corresponds to actual reality.

Again, in spite of what many say these days, there is no such thing as ‘my’ truth, or “your” truth—there is simply the truth.

Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”

And, although there is only one truth and one set of facts, there is no shortage of opinions. 

A story I heard recently illustrates this point.  As a man and his wife were sitting at a table at his high school reunion, the man kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table.

“Do you know her?” his wife asked.

“Yes,” he said. “She was my old girlfriend.  I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she has not been sober since.”

“My goodness!” his wife said. “Who would have thought a person could go on celebrating that long?”

You see, there are different ways to look at everything.

This is obvious when you consider many of the contentious debates we have in our society today.

But although one might think so, there is not one set of facts for Republicans and another for Democrats—one for Christians and another for atheists—one for creationists and another for evolutionists.

No, there is only one set of facts, even if there are often many different interpretations of those facts.  But it must be stated that in each scenario, there can be only one interpretation of the facts that is actually true.  Logically speaking, two contradictory claims cannot both be true.

Facts are troublesome things.  The truth doesn’t seem to care whether one believes it or not, it just keeps on being true.  And although it seems like the truth should be evident to everyone, the Bible makes it clear that this is not the case.

The recent brouhaha surrounding Senate Bill 68, regarding who the state allows as adoptive or foster care parents, is an obvious current example.  Shelby County’s Gary Tapp is the chief sponsor of the bill, and in an interview published in this paper last week, he made the following statement:  “I believe a home with a married mother and father is a much better environment for a child, more stable than a live-in where there is no commitment,” Tapp said.

Now this is so obviously true that it shouldn’t need to be explained or defended. 

 

The reality that the best environment for a child is with married parents is confirmed by social science studies, statistics and what used to be called “common sense,” as well as thousands of years of moral tradition.  But what are facts to get in the way of what people think and feel?  As I said, facts are sometimes troublesome things.

In an extreme case of ‘shooting the messenger’, in the last two weeks Senator Tapp has been called numerous less-than-charitable names on the editorial pages of The Courier-Journal.  Some of the ones that can be printed are “homophobic”, “mean-spirited”, “anti-gay”, and even “immoral.”

 I’m sure his email and voicemail are filled with many more that can’t be printed.  (Have you ever noticed that those who insist upon “tolerance” for their views are the very ones who so often are the most intolerant and “mean-spirited” toward any opposing view?)

And why has Senator Tapp been attacked so viciously?  Simply for stating what should have been an obvious truth.  It became apparent very quickly that the opposition to Senate Bill 68 was not truly about what was best for the children but rather about the political agenda of the adults involved.

As is occurring more and more often in our culture, it’s another case of “I’ve already made up my mind.  Don’t confuse me with the facts.” 

If some in our government have their way, someday in the not so distant future, Senator Tapp’s bill-- and the truths it represents-- will be labeled as “hate speech.”  And when the truth is considered “hate speech,” blindness will pass as wisdom and the inmates really will be running the asylum.

 But that’s a column for another day.

 

Chuck Souder is on staff at Shelby Christian Church.  If you have questions or comments for Chuck, he can be reached at csouder@shelbychristian.org