Mark Twain once said: “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” Lying and its first cousin, misleading (a form of deceit), are now the norm in politics and the media.

Case in point: In his Nov. 25 column (“As Republicans espouse intolerance, party chairman stays quiet”), Greg Kesich wrote this regarding recent comments by Jeb Bush about Syrian refugees: “And applying a religious test – allowing authorities to take in only refugees who can ‘prove’ they are Christian – as presidential contender Jeb Bush advocates, is what we meant by ‘an un-American comment with religious bigotry.’ ”

This is what Bush actually said: “I think we need to do thorough screening and take in a limited number. There are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now. They’ll be either executed or imprisoned, either by (Syrian President Bashar) Assad or ISIS. We should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered.”

In July, The New York Times asked: “Is this the end of Christianity in the Middle East?” reporting that a third of Syria’s estimated 600,000 Christians had fled the country. The Times cited a Pew Research study that found Christians face religious persecution in more countries than any other religious group.

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., told the Times: “Christianity (in the Middle East) is under an existential threat.”

The latest U.S. State Department statistics indicate that of 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, only 53 (2.4 percent) were Christians while 2,098 (96 percent) were Muslims. If that isn’t a de facto religious test, I don’t know what is.

Not all Muslims are terrorists, but many terrorists are Muslims. It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it.

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