A Good Lie for Jesus Is Immortal

Yesterday, the Oklahoma City city council voted 7-2 to add sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination policy. Without religion, this sort of thing would be a simple vote, a non-event. With religion?

Pastor Tom Vineyard, of Windsor Hills Baptist Church, cited a New York judge in saying more than half of murders in large cities are committed by gay people.

Vineyard received the longest standing ovation of the day after his remarks.


Half my headache is due to the bizarre nature of the “statistic” itself. Half is due to the frustration I share with GetReligion that the reporting stopped there. This goes beyond “he said, she said” reporting to credulous “fruit bat said” reporting. This isn’t the sort of thing you can just publish and leave there.

Being the helpful person I am, I set my Google Fu on the task of tracking down this mysterious judge. According to Google, the information comes from New York City Chief Magistrate John “Martaugh.” So it looks like a judge probably did say it, but who is this judge?

Except…essentially all the hits returned under that name are from religious sources providing the same bogus statistic–about 17,000 of them. Hmm. A random sampling suggests that they’re citing a 1992 letter to the editor from anti-gay activist and evangelical Jerry Kaifetz. And Google wants me to look up Judge John Murtagh instead. So I do that.

That’s when I find that Murtagh was chief magistrate until 1960. That’s when I discover that he was an anti-“pervert” crusader in the early 1950s. That’s when I see he’s the guy who ran Lenny Bruce’s obscenity trial straight into a conviction.

So, what am I left with after my digging? A 1992 claim that a judge who wanted “perverts” out of his city said something (maybe) back in the 1950s without any reference so that we can check it out ourselves, as we might want to do when we find the basics of the claim, like the judge’s name, are incorrect. But that’s what the people who want to be able to discriminate have (i.e., shadows of nothing), so that’s what they give us.

I expect this from the liars for Jesus. The sad part is that I got it from the press as well.

A Good Lie for Jesus Is Immortal

14 thoughts on “A Good Lie for Jesus Is Immortal

  1. 3

    And of course the esteemed magistrate knew that the defendants were “perverts” … how? I mean, we’re talking the 50s. Not exactly a time when “out and proud of it” was in fashion.

    But hey, maybe the His Honor had really fine-tuned gaydar. Could spot them a mile away. Who knows?

  2. 5

    This is sick. Gay people are murderers? Really? Isn’t that what they say in Uganda, where lynchings still happen? Must be the same kind of Evangelicals.

    The thing that scares me is the round of applause he got. If I ever visit the US, I’m staying far away from Oklahoma City.

  3. 7

    Just stay away from Oklahoma altogether. And Mississippi. And Texas. And Missouri. And Arizona. And South Dakota. Unless you’re visiting someone or helping them to move out.

  4. 8

    Gad! But I love those Black Hills and driving across the state of South Dakota there is a lot of nothing but Wall Drug and Tony’s “Toeing” signs, you’d think I could be safe from the carnage of homosexuals there?!?!

  5. 9

    As an FYI, Mississippi had two gay governors in the later 20th century. I learned about one from a friend who worked on a La. governor’s staff in the 1980s and had a story about how the staff decided to keep the clueless, conservative La. governor in the dark to prevent the info from causing some problems when he and the Miss. guy were supposed to meet. The other one was married when elected, and a few months after he took office, a news story said his wife had moved out of the mansion. Years later, a couple of Miss. friends with lots of political insider knowledge told me it was because the governor was spending more time with his boyfriend than with his wife!
    Sooooooo, I wonder which of these 2 is that murdering half????

  6. 10

    They have good precedent to lie for Jesus. Their founder, Paul, said (1 Corinthians 9:22)
    To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak: I am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.

    By all means excludes nothing.

  7. 11

    I wholeheartedly disagree Stephanie.
    When something is stupid enough-like this claim- I think it can and should stand without explanation.

    Anyone stupid enough to believe that claim will not let facts get in the way of convictions.
    Sorry, but you wasted your time, IMHO.

  8. 14

    Thank you, you saved me the work of figuring out this fruit bat lie. You write science fiction? Any idea on how to fight hatemongers from an alternate reality that only vaguely intersects with what we call the real world?

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