I was listening to the NPR morning news (as I often do) and they were covering a story about Troy Anthony Davis, who will soon be executed in Georgia. They talked to the guy’s lawyer and they mentioned the statements of the correctional department, parole board and clemency board. They then mentioned what a local pastor said.
When speaking about the possible innocence of a man on death row it makes sense to mention the opinion of his lawyer, those who were part of the trial, the people on his parole board, the people who denied him clemency, even his family might be a decent source to pull from, but it’s a bit silly to appeal to someone who 1. was not at the scene of his crime; 2. was not required to review any evidence surrounding Troy; and 3. is not required by any governing body to represent anyone that has authority on the matter.
If you are wondering what to think about the goings on with someone down the street you don’t go ask Joe Shmoe from Out of Town. He might have even heard about your pal down the street, but how does that make him an authority.
I’ve seen this all over the media. Whenever something that might, and I mean might, be a moral issue is reported on they usually turn to one of the local priests/pastors to get a fix on what they think. Now when you are dealing with something that is clearly a moral subject (birth conrtol, abortion, stem cell research, marriage, etc.) I understand the want to get a local minister’s take on it. Where the subject is not a clear moral subject (trials, teaching science, the weather, etc.) I see no need to get a paid clergyman’s opinion. “The sun is rather nice when it beams on God’s creation.” Bah.
This is a seperate rant on the opinion of clergy. I have to say I don’t value their opinion much. This is mostly because they don’t have a standardized set of rules to base their opinion on. Just a non-occidental book to interpret as they see fit. Even the priests in the Catholic church can vary in their opinion from region to region. Unlike politicians, who are supposed to convey the opinions of their constituancy, the paid ministry do not have to convey anyone’s opinion, but their own. So they are, in fact, just as reliable as Joe Shmoe from Out of Town.
How do we stop this? I say we send nearly rotten cantaloupes and a note to all the news agencies who report this dribble. That way we don’t get in trouble for a real threat and they’ll be annoyed at having to eat the cantaloupes before they go bad. They’re gonna be so stuffed (diabolic laugh here).
You know, I remember hearing this as well, and thinking “Why are they interviewing THIS guy?”
It’s a bit like interviewing Jenny McCarthy about vaccinations – yeah, she has a strong opinion, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good one.