Hasty Generalization

Posted on June 12, 2012 by

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When examining the behavior of a group of people it is important to distinguish between actions taken by a subset of the group as compared the the group as a whole or by whatever organizational structure the group as whole may have.  This should be common-sense especially when a journalist writes specifically about some actions taken by some members of the Church to change the position of the organization of the Church.

Jack Healy  writes in the New York Times about how 300 Church members joined in an annual gay pride parade in opposition to the Church’s official position against homosexuality.  And while clearly recognizing this distinction between a group of Church members and the Church organization, Mr. Healy chooses to misrepresent other actions by a group of Church members as if they were the actions of the Church organization, itself.

“In 2008, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints played a pivotal role in financing and supporting a ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage in California.”

As has been previously discussed on “Mormons! The Least You Should Know”, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not finance Proposition 8, some of its members did.  Mr. Healy continues the mischaracterization…

“The Mormon Church has not yet signaled whether it will intervene [in other states] with the same flood of cash, volunteers and organizational support that helped tip the balance four years ago in California.”

So while Mr. Healy is willing to recognize and verbalize the distinction between some members of a group in contrast to the group organization – for example he makes it clear that although some of the 300 who marched were advocating same-sex marriage the entire group organization led by Erika Munson did not formally take that position – Mr. Healy is apparently not willing to afford the Church the same courtesy.

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