Todd Akin Doubles Down

Two days ago I linked to this story about Todd Akin saying something wrong back in 2008. Apparently I needn’t have worried that the age of the incident might impact its relevance, because Akin has decided to stand by his remarks:

In defense of his assertion, Akin’s campaign released a statement Tuesday from Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who quit in 2009 and now speaks against abortion.

“I can attest that when I served as director of Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas, we often scared women into getting services they did not need including abortion so we could collect the fees. This included women who were not pregnant and women who were in the process of miscarrying.”

Read for details of how Johnson has been caught in the past lying about this sort of thing. One thing I think Amanda Marcotte gets wrong, though, is her assertion that conservative evangelicals don’t care about the truth:

Part of the problem here is that, within the conservative evangelical circles that are the backbone of the anti-choice movement, “truth” is not the truth, but simply “stories that dramatically illustrate the rightness of our belief system.”

From the outside this probably seems true, but it actually runs counter to the strong Enlightenment mindset of the evangelical movement. Evangelicals love the truth… but they’re also suckers for conspiracy theories, which is why contradicting them with facts rarely works—a conspiracy theorist can always rationalize your “facts” as part of the conspiracy.

It’s a subtle distinction, but the real problem isn’t that evangelicals don’t care about the truth; it’s that we care even more about being “right”.