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Why are so many Evangelicals supporting a southern border wall?
I’m a Republican who voted for Donald Trump and also an Evangelical and I’m concerned that people in my spiritual circle, and others, support a southern border wall because their leader, the President of the United States, says we need it. In other words, it’s possible that large groups of citizens, regardless of religion or political leanings, accept something as true simply because they are told it is.
President Trump, in his address to the American people on Jan. 19 listed four issues that a border wall would positively affect…illegal drugs; criminals and gangs; human trafficking; and an overworked judicial system responsible for reviewing cases of people entering our country illegally. To answer our reader’s question, I hope those supporting the construction of the wall are basing it on one or more of those four problems.
And, to be sure, they are problems, but how about those claims? He stated that “some believe” crime would decrease by 50 percent in the United States with a fully functioning border security system, which would include the ‘wall’ so often spoken of.
Could some Trump supporters hear his statement that crime might be reduced by 50 percent with a wall in place and believe it without further investigation? I have to believe they could and did. I noticed he didn’t mention the source for the conclusion about crime reduction and that launched my ‘suspicion’ radar.
There are several reasons someone might state an important fact and not elaborate on the details. Perhaps, in this case, he didn’t have time in his remarks to list the many organizations convinced of a 50 percent reduction in crime with the successful installation of a border wall. Maybe he figured everyone already knew about these reports or had planned on releasing the full details at a later time. Or, it could be that the identity of the people who made up the ‘some’ he referenced, if known, would dilute the impact of his statement.
So even if someone noticed the lack of a full disclosure of his source, how are they going to fact check the statement anyway. And therein lies part of the potential problem: it’s easier to believe what you’re told than to seek out the truth for yourself.
In 2019, according to Truth or Fiction, a meme posted on Facebook asserted, among other things, that “undocumented immigrants sent $56 billion in “pure cash” back to their home countries” in 2018. How are you and I, average citizens, going to verify the validity of that statement? How many of us even care about its accuracy? We assume it’s true and share it with our friends. After reading the report on Truth or Fiction, I tried, unsuccessfully, to find out how many people shared the post, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was hundreds of thousands.
I’m sure you’ve all received an email or seen a post on social media with a huge number of shares, that you questioned. But if you didn’t know for sure about the legitimacy of the facts, what could you do? Over the years, I’ve found some online places to help with this situation.
An email came my way once, stating that Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, was gathering 1,000,000 signatures to stop an organization seeking to have all Sunday worship services being broadcast on radio or television stopped and Christmas programs and Christmas carols removed from public schools!
The afore-mentioned Truth or Fiction was one of the places I went for clarification and so was Snopes.com, where I found a rebuttal of the email’s claims. Those are my ‘go to’ places but there are many others out there, if my search for ‘fact checking sites list’ is any indication.
In the words of Journey, Don’t Stop Believin’ but, as the saying goes, don’t believe everything you hear. And, if you have a favorite ‘fact checking’ site, feel free to share it with our readers in a comment below.