Taking a Closer Look at Snopes and Debunking the Debunkers

Popular Website Obfuscates Worldwide Agenda of Clinton and Confrères to Change Beliefs of Christians, Others.

(photo: Lesser Ury, “Leser mit Lupe” (c. 1895))

Snopes.com often provides a good service, debunking inaccurate claims that circulate on the Internet, including regarding Catholic matters.

But sometimes they let their prejudices get in the way of proclaiming what’s true and what’s false. In my recent election analysis of why Hillary Clinton lost the Presidential election,

I said that Clinton “ominously stated in 2015, regarding the U.S and other countries, that ‘deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed,’ even though the folks at Snopes can’t seem to grasp the significance of that.”

She was speaking in New York in 2015 at the annual Women in the Word Summit. In their attempt to debunk criticism of Clinton, Snopes caricatured the general opposition by honing in on one writer who expressed concerns about Christians abroad, but particularly in America, saying “Hilary Clinton: Christians In America Must Deny Their Faith In Christianity.”

In the process of responding to this blogger, Snopes refused to acknowledge there was any truth to this and another Christian’s concerns, simply saying that their claim was “false.” Which is ironic, since Snopes has a tradition of acknowledging that some claims are “mostly true” or “partly true.”

To make its case, Snopes quotes Clinton at length and then summarizes:

Having read the pertinent paragraphs from Clinton's actual speech above, one might well wonder how her call for the enforcement of laws protecting the rights of women in countries with deep-seated cultural biases morphed into a demand for American Christians to deny their faith. . . . Gone are all references to education, domestic violence, and the mortality rate of women in childbirth — not to mention the international scope of the subject matter — so what remains could be misrepresented as a direct threat to pro-life Christians in America. That was clearly not the original import of the passage (my emphasis).

Recognizing the Worldwide Campaign to Change Religious Beliefs

To be fair, it certainly was a significant part and point of Clinton’s message, and it pertains not simply to U.S. Christians, but to Christians around the world and other believers too, including Muslims. And if there is any doubt about the importance of this concern, one can listen to Clinton’s whole presentation via Snopes’ website. Two of the most rousing ovations come right after Clinton says, “And deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed,” and then “and not just in faraway countries but right here in the United States” (8:53ff. of her 2015 presentation).

A more accurate analysis would’ve acknowledged that Clinton and her confrères—which include President Obama, other world leaders, various foundations and groups like Planned Parenthood —are seeking to change the beliefs of Christians in the U.S. and around the world, as well as other believers, including Muslims, and that they’re employing various means to do so.

Note very well that Clinton didn’t simply say that she wanted laws to be enacted and enforced even if religious believers disagreed with them. She went much further and specifically said that religious beliefs—and by extension the believers—have to change. Make no mistake, Clinton and her confrères have in mind a worldwide mission of “religious reform.”

Consider first, Islam. Clinton never mentions Islam, but it’s easy to infer that she has predominately Muslim countries in mind when she makes various references to improving the basic rights of women and female children in her 2015 presentation. That’s all good. But in the second Presidential debate, Clinton also said, “We are not at war with Islam. And it is a mistake and it plays into the hands of the terrorists to act as though we are.”

Well, Hillary Clinton and her confrères are engaging in a war, just not one with bombs and bullets, and that includes changing Islamic laws on abortion, which will not help women and children. And this campaign undoubtedly continues, even though she lost the Presidential election. Islam, like Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, is another case in which Hillary would like to see a religion “reformed” according to her liking. And because she wants to “reform” these religions, she’s not at war with them in her mind. She’s doing them a favor.

“Reproductive Health Care”= Full Access to Abortion

One way is through “reproductive health care” (8:25ff. of her 2015 presentation), a longtime euphemism for abortion as Planned Parenthood clearly notes in its affirmation of the Democratic platform.

Beyond America, there are various African countries that are largely Christian which are being targeted. Ditto in South and Central America. Improving access to safe childbirth is good, but aborting children achieves the opposite. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, provides an update on abortion access in various African nations and what can be done to “improve” the situation.

Kenya is one example. And there are many other countries around the world. That’s why the Obama Administration rescinded the Mexico City Policy, which bans recipients of U.S. foreign aid from both performing and promoting abortion in other countries in their outreach to families in other nations.

And to be sure, protecting the unborn is a fundamental human rights issue, not simply one that can be relegated to a religious sphere that can’t be imposed on nonbelievers.

Clinton also mentions that her agenda applies not just in “far away countries but right here in the United States.” But if abortion-on-demand already exists in the U.S., what does she mean?

She mentions the Hobby Lobby case in her 2015 presentation (15:10ff. of her 2015 presentation), a case in which the Obama Administration wanted to force the arts-and-crafts store chain to provide abortifacients to its employees, instead of having letting the government do so.

Divide and Conquer: A Key Strategy in Changing the Religious Landscape

Yet, Clinton and her confrères seek to change religious beliefs, particularly those of Catholics, through other means. The 2012 WikiLeaks exchange by John Podesta, a longtime Clinton ally who became her campaign manager, illustrates their divide-and-conquer strategy by supporting Catholic dissident groups. Because even if the Church won’t and can’t formally change its teachings, the Church’s opponents can gain political victories if large numbers of Catholics basically disregard those teachings at the ballot box. Thankfully that didn’t happen this time around.

Other examples include Obama’s picking Joe Biden for his Vice President and Hillary’s picking Tim Kaine as hers. As a practical matter, despite their stated personal opposition as Catholics, both men oppose the Church’s teaching on abortion and same-sex “marriage,” and other teachings, and Biden made a point in culminating his service as VP by officiating at a same-sex “marriage.”

And when they’re not disciplined by Church leaders, rank-and-file Catholics are likely to infer that dissident actions can’t be that bad.

The divide-and-conquer strategy can also be seen in the original passage of Obamacare.

And other First World countries like Ireland are also targets.

A Sober Assessment

In summary, this campaign is worldwide and it seeks to undermine the Catholic Church and other religious institutions and individuals. And that includes bringing legal action against a baker who won’t provide a “wedding” cake to a same-sex couple, as well as various dioceses being forced out of providing adoption services because they won’t place children with same-sex couples.

Once various moral wrongs are legally recognized as “rights,” much bad is possible in the interest of upholding them. President-Elect Trump is not perfect, as he has sadly said that same-sex “marriage” is settled law.

But I anticipate Trump will reinstate the Mexico City Policy and nominate good judges, including ones who will stand up for the religious liberty of the aforementioned baker. I think he will largely follow through on what he has promised to Catholics.

So things are improving on the U.S. front, but Catholics and other believers around the world must remain vigilant and collaborate wherever we can. Because our opponents surely will. Let us persevere in humble love and pray for their conversion.

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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