January 2, 2010

Idiot of the Week: Editorial Board of the Natchez Democrat

mississippi.gif2009 was a great year for idiocy. Before we close the door on the past year completely, I want to return for one last bit of idiocy. Unfortunately, this is one that will likely carry us well into 2010 and beyond.

I trust that you have all heard about the recent report from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in which the state of Mississippi was ranked #1 in attendance at religious services, god belief, and frequency of prayer. What you may not have heard about, unless you read Mississippi Atheists, is how the report is being received here in Mississippi.

The Editorial Board of The Natchez Democrat, the major newspaper in the community of Natchez, MS, wrote a seriously idiotic article about the Pew report. After citing many examples of our state's #1 rankings in obesity, heart disease, poverty, and illiteracy, the Board actually suggested that our ranking in religiosity is "perhaps the only list that will ultimately matter."

Rather than using this as an opportunity to speculate that our sky-high illiteracy rates might have something to do with the evangelical fundamentalism which afflicts our state, the Board saw fit simply to celebrate ignorance and superstition. This is an appalling example of idiocy.

Even worse is the fact that The Natchez Democrat was not alone in expressing this perspective (although theirs was the most egregious example I could find). The Editorial Board of the Sun Herald also decided to join the insanity, writing, "And it’s comforting to know that most of us believe in a redeeming faith." They also couldn't resist taking a swipe at "grumpy atheists."

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