Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How Many Is “Most”?

Gov. Mike Huckabee tries to re-write history.

During the Republican debate, Mike Huckabee said he believes one of the defining issues facing the country is the sanctity of human life. Arguing that the issue is of historical importance, he invoked the Declaration of Independence’s rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and said that most of the signers of the declaration were clergymen.

Not even close.

Only one of the 56 was an active clergyman, and that was John Witherspoon. Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister and president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).

A few more of the signers were former clergymen, though it’s a little unclear just how many. The conservative Heritage Foundation said two other signers were former clergymen. The religion web site Adherents.com said four signers of the declaration were current or former full-time preachers. But everyone agrees only Witherspoon was an active minister when he signed the Declaration of Independence.

That would make 1.786% of the signers of the Declaration of Independence clergyman. Even the most generous definition of “most” doesn’t cover that small a number.

One the other hand, census figures and sociologists agree that approximately 10% of the United States population is gay, which means that according to Gov. Huckabee, the entire country is LGBT. Fabulous!