Inaccurate Attacks

July 15, 2006

Why is it that some Christians resort to inaccurate attacks on their brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we not supposed to set a higher standard? Yet, several Christian writers have inaccurately attacked the recent Christian event "Pentecost 2006."

It is one thing to engage in honest disagreement. It is another thing entirely to attack with falsehoods and misrepresentations. Christians should only do the former.

Consider the inaccurate columns by Matt Friedeman (found here) and Mark Tooley (found here). Both attack the liberal politicians at the event for suggesting that there is a Christian mandate to fight poverty. Tooley in particular launches a harsh attack on the "party" for "liberal politicians."

However, there is one big problem with these attacks. What is not mentioned is the fact that two of the main speakers were conservative Republican Senators Sam Brownback and Rick Santorum. These are hardly poster boys of the religious left!

By only mentioning the liberals at the event they misrepresent the event. By not attacking the conservatives they left the world of spiritual critique and reduce themselves to merely being partisan pawns.

These critics conveniently ignore statements by religious conservatives at the event so as to not undermine their attacks on the religious left. They must feel that if the event can be attacked for some minor thing someone said, then it gets them off the hook when it comes to following the biblical mandate to help the poor.

Unfortunately these are not isolated cases. Another critic went so far as to literally make up things one of the speakers supposedly said. Don Hinkle wrote:

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said it was time for conservative evangelicals to abandon Scripture and be more “open-minded” in this more pluralistic era of religion.
Really? If you check what Obama actually said, you will find he used the phrase "fair-minded" but never said "open-minded." That may seem like a small mistake, but there is an important difference. Being "fair" does not necessarily mean one is being "open," and being "open" does not necessarily mean one is being "fair."

Clearly Hinkle is not being fair or open. Such inaccurate attacks by these three columnists should call into question their credibility. For as Albert Einstein once explained, "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters."

Due to the factual errors of who was at the event or what was actually said, we cannot trust the conclusions these columnists make. But what is even worse here is that Christians are twisting the truth to attack other Christians. Yet, we are supposed to be people of the truth.

With these unethical and un-Christ-like inaccuracies, these columnists do damage to their own witness as well as that of the victims of their attacks. We can and must do better!