Yesterday, the Oklahoma City city council voted 7-2 to add sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination policy. Without religion, this sort of thing would be a simple vote, a non-event. With religion?
Vineyard received the longest standing ovation of the day after his remarks.
Half my headache is due to the bizarre nature of the “statistic” itself. Half is due to the frustration I share with GetReligion that the reporting stopped there. This goes beyond “he said, she said” reporting to credulous “fruit bat said” reporting. This isn’t the sort of thing you can just publish and leave there.
Being the helpful person I am, I set my Google Fu on the task of tracking down this mysterious judge. According to Google, the information comes from New York City Chief Magistrate John “Martaugh.” So it looks like a judge probably did say it, but who is this judge?
Except…essentially all the hits returned under that name are from religious sources providing the same bogus statistic–about 17,000 of them. Hmm. A random sampling suggests that they’re citing a 1992 letter to the editor from anti-gay activist and evangelical Jerry Kaifetz. And Google wants me to look up Judge John Murtagh instead. So I do that.
That’s when I find that Murtagh was chief magistrate until 1960. That’s when I discover that he was an anti-”pervert” crusader in the early 1950s. That’s when I see he’s the guy who ran Lenny Bruce’s obscenity trial straight into a conviction.
So, what am I left with after my digging? A 1992 claim that a judge who wanted “perverts” out of his city said something (maybe) back in the 1950s without any reference so that we can check it out ourselves, as we might want to do when we find the basics of the claim, like the judge’s name, are incorrect. But that’s what the people who want to be able to discriminate have (i.e., shadows of nothing), so that’s what they give us.
I expect this from the liars for Jesus. The sad part is that I got it from the press as well.