I’ve recently been introduced to a new political concept that, while possibly appearing misleading in label at first blush, seems to accurately describe a political outlook held by some people.

The term is “faith-based” politics. It has nothing to do with any formal religion. It’s used to describe those continuing to cling to … and believe … facts found to be untrue but who won’t stop believing them.

“Birthers” are, in this definition, a “faith-based” group. They continue believing Pres. Obama was either foreign-born … in the face of documentation from the State of Hawaii … or that living overseas as a child disqualified his legal right to be president. They file court cases only to find, every time, courts have no authority to challenge election of a sitting president. That’s strictly for Congress. And this Congress has seated Barak Obama while rejecting all challenges. One judge even told a Florida “birther” attorney to “never come back.”

Those still clinging to this thoroughly baseless argument do so with an ardor described by some as “faith,” as though someone is faced with a direct challenge to a doctrine of his/her beliefs.

Another group is made up of people in mostly middle and lower income brackets saying Obama is going to raise their taxes. There is no shred of evidence, no bill in congress, no statement made by a reputable source supporting the charge. But I meet people almost daily who are as deeply rooted in that as in a religious teaching. They have “faith” in what they “believe.” Not conflicting facts.

Imagined gun control fits, too. Though he’s said repeatedly, while campaigning and since taking office, that he has no intention of getting into it, Obama continues to face charges he’s lying. I’ve long believed those who fear government-sponsored efforts to control firearms have more to be afraid of in the courts than with politicians. The issue is political poison. But, someday, some judge in a little nowhere court in a little nowhere county might start something that could be a direct challenge to some sort of gun ownership. In the courts.

The “czar” concept is another “faith-based” contradiction. High-level jobs going back to FDR have been filled by presidential appointees for specific tasks. But Obama alone is blamed for creating another level of “illegal” bureaucracy. Not true. Still, believing as though it were a faith teaching, some people just won’t let it go.

Neal Gabler of the LA Times recently wrote “faith-based political ideas are like religious fundamentalism; there is no hope for negotiation. Our constitution was a negotiated document but the concept of negotiation is eliminated from this brand of ‘thinking.’ These people want their ‘faith’ ideas established now and they reject negotiation.”

It would be easy to dismiss this business as unimportant. As Gabler points out, we are a nation founded by and through negotiation. We pride ourselves for trying to accommodate many points of view. We call it our national strength. We are at our very best when we find ways to include all.

But suppose people in top decision-making positions adopted a “facts-be-damned” attitude in science, technology, political thought and other fields. If some project didn’t conform to beliefs already held, and proven facts were ignored, imagine the disasters that could lead to.

We got into war in Iraq because of this kind of “faith” approach to national policy: conclusions made and actions taken without facts to support them. Or, in the face of facts that should have led to different conclusions, thinking was based on “faith” in previously held “beliefs.” Weapons of mass destruction?

When people ignore fact or evidence to the contrary to unswervingly believe in discredited ideas and take that to the ballot box, it can result in setting a national course to disaster.

Consider: we already have members of congress in both houses not only advocating for some of these discredited subjects, several have actually introduced legislation to force the rest of us, through law, into accepting their way of thinking.

The concept of “faith-based” politics is getting attention these days by people making large incomes getting groups of people to move one way or another politically. Limbaugh, for example, recently read on the air a phony college term paper attributed to the president dealing with distribution of wealth. When someone on his staff told him within minutes the document was not Obama’s and was written by someone else as satire, Limbaugh said on the air, “Well, phony or not, we know that’s how he thinks and I believe it.”

If you don’t think this politics of “faith” in discredited or false information is for real, I submit his own words.

It’s real. And it’s dangerous.

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