KATIE ZERR: We need to start thinking again

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There is a lesson to be learned from the Indiana lawmaker whose opposition to a Girl Scout celebration has lead to a firestorm of criticism.

The lesson: use more than one source when researching on the Internet.

Indiana State Rep. Bob Morris, who opposes celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America, sent a letter to members of the Republican Caucus in which he said many parents were “abandoning the Girl Scouts because they promote homosexual lifestyles.”

In the letter he stated, “The group “sexualizes” young girls, promotes homosexuality and is a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood.”

He said after a conversation with well-informed constituents he did a small amount of web-based research, and what he found was disturbing.

He urged members of the Indiana House of Representatives to not use the credibility and respect of the ‘Peoples’ House’ to extend legitimacy to a radicalized organization. He warned them not “to endorse a group that has been subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values.”

This is a person who is supposed to be intelligent enough to be representing a district in the Indiana House of Representatives.

It is obvious that his research was limited to one radical website with one purpose. That is not research. It is a gigantic mistake that may mean an end to his political career, which may not be a bad thing for the people of Indiana.

Morris lobbied lawmakers to oppose a nonbinding resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts and was the only member not to sign the measure.

According to Fort Wayne newspapers, other members of the Indiana Legislature, both Republican and Democrat, have made light of the situation by passing out Girl Scout cookies during the sessions.

A Planned Parenthood spokesperson released a statement calling Morris’ remarks inflammatory, misleading, woefully inaccurate and harmful.

We need to all take a step back from this battle of the ultra-right and lultra-left and use some common sense in a time when it is so obviously needed.

This is a perfect example of how someone could do “a small amount of web-based research,” (go to a site that supports the rumors they want to believe), and can find what they need to make an argument.

Morris’ comments are a perfect example of a phenomenon that we are seeing more and more in this country during this election year, that the truth is only an option.

We need to quit listening to those whose only agenda is the destruction of those who do not have similar beliefs, including ultra-conservative and ultra-liberals.

Fanatics on both sides of these groups are not only causing irreparable harm but also spew hate and intolerance to support those beliefs.

Inflammatory and inaccurate claims can lead to irreparable harm to an organization or to Girl Scouts themselves. Having a lawmaker spew these inflammatory statements could be the justification an unstable individual needs when looking for an excuse to create havoc to make a point.

This may be the extreme, but with the atmosphere of the country at this moment it is not out of the realm of possibility.

That is what can happen when a person uses one source for research.

There are people out there, hunched over their computers, looking for that one statement that will support their hypotheses that the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, Future Farmers of America, or any other organization’s purpose is to propagate gays, child abusers, communists, drug users, welfare abusers or mass murderers.

It is there on the Internet if the time is taken to find it.

We need to find our way back to using common sense, the minds God gave us and reason when we form opinions.

By embracing what we hear on one news network, or read on one website or listening to one lawmaker, we are propagating the ignorance that has become an epidemic.

We need to quit listening to those who tell us what to think, how to think and when to think and begin to think on our own.

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