Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Getting Sucked In

As a Christian, how do you know when an argument is not worth getting sucked into?

The titular head of Roman Catholicism clearly doesn’t. Feminists, the media and the political Left (admittedly there is some redundancy in those categories) walked him right into five miles of social justice quicksand when he felt compelled recently to weigh in on the subject of equality.

Referring to the gender pay gap as a “scandal”, Francis passionately advocated for “equal pay for equal work” to an enthusiastic crowd reaction from 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

If I were a cynic (which we all know I’m not), I might point out that that Francis is surely informed, as is President Obama (who recently cited the well-worn “women are paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men” trope in a speech that was similarly applauded), that the stats to which he is referring are being grossly misused.

Or, less delicately, that they are a giant baloney sandwich.

What’s in that Sandwich? You Ask

The Tampa Bay Times, among others, reports that statistic “does not factor in occupations held, hours worked or length of tenure” and calls the statement “mostly false”.

But since calling the gender pay gap myth a load of bunk is likely to bring down upon me the righteous wrath of at least half of North America, I’m going to quote only liberals and feminists on the subject from hereon in:
  • The Huffington Post says, “Bypass the verbal sleights of hand and take a hard look at the numbers. Women are close to achieving the goal of equal pay for equal work. They may be there already”.
  • Time magazine says, “When [differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week] are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing”.
  • Slate says, “You know that “women make 77 cents to every man’s dollar” line you’ve heard a hundred times? It’s not true”.
  • Finally, this 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Labor under the current Democratic president gives the lie to that president’s own statistics.
Dodging the Quagmire

Now my point is not to assert that there is no gender wage gap, and still less to argue that men and women should not be paid equally for equal work. My point is that Christians have no business leaping into their political quagmire of choice for a number of perfectly sound reasons:

Firstly, you may find yourself, like Francis, arguing something inflammatory and divisive only to find that the position you’ve taken on the issue, while popular with a certain subset of the population, is substantially false. Every statistic you read these days in the media has an agenda behind it. Only the naive and those who are out to deceive and manipulate others cite a media factoid without hearing what the other side has to say about it first. Repeating somebody’s manufactured political talking point just makes you look gullible.

Secondly, the fairnesses and unfairnesses of this world are not our primary concern, and anything that takes us off-message distracts us from that which is important to our Lord. “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” he said. Anyone who claims to speak for Christ had better take the same position he did.

Thirdly, when you plunge yourself (and the church you represent) into a bog of phony statistics and political agendas, the muck will stick to you like glue. No sooner did Francis open his mouth and the media, feminists and lefties began hollering for further compromise and self-abasement on the part of his church. Jessica Valenti of The Guardian wrote:
“If the Pope wants women’s equality, he must support reproductive rights. The Vatican’s war on the wage gap is great, but it won’t mean much without access to birth control and abortion.”
Yes, because nothing says “Let’s solve this pay gap problem” like murdering a few million more babies.

“My Kingdom ...”

The lesson, dear friends? The kingdom we belong to is not of this world.

Don’t get sucked into theirs.

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