Three Things You Need to Know – January 16, 2018

Evil hiding behind closed doors

David and Louise loved each other. And they loved Elvis.

That was clear from their family Facebook page.

Pictures from their three vow renewal ceremonies revealed they made a tradition of going to the Elvis Chapel in downtown Las Vegas.

David, Louise, their 13 children, and the King all look very happy in those photos.

As with every Facebook page, though, you’re not getting the whole picture.

Today, the world sees the Turpin’s images in a new light.

And they look dark and twisted.

On Sunday, authorities responded to a 911 call by one of David and Louise’s daughters.

She frantically explained that she had escaped the family home and begged the police to rescue her siblings who were starving and chained to their beds. The girl claimed to be 17 years old, but was so malnourished she appeared as small as a ten-year-old.

When the police arrived at the Turpin’s home they found the girl’s 12 brothers and sisters chained and padlocked to their beds. They were filthy and emaciated. The children ranged in age from 2 to 29. They were so famished, deputies were shocked to learn seven of them were adults.

David and Louise were unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner.

The children were taken to the hospital and are in the care of Child Protective Services. The Turpin’s were arrested and booked on charges of torture and child endangerment.

In the age of social media, it’s getting more difficult to know what is real and what isn’t. We all have the ability to edit and manipulate our own narratives. Because of Facebook, the Turpin’s friends and family had no idea that they were hideous monsters who tortured their children.

But David and Louise are not alone. This is not the first time or the last time, we will be shocked by the dichotomy of how people present themselves and what the actual truth is.

The Turpin Family provides us with a horrible cautionary tale that we all need to understand going forward. When it comes to social media, you are not seeing the full picture.

Irainian facing deportation from Sweden because she’s Christian

It’s been known as the most refugee-friendly country in the world. Upon arrival, immigrants to Sweden are given free housing, money, language lessons, and even a salary while they SEARCH for a job. Ah the Swedes… they certainly are the world leaders in tolerance and acceptance. That is, unless you’re Christian.

Aideen Strandsson was a popular TV and movie actress back in her home country of Iran. One day she witnessed a woman getting stoned to death and decided that she had had enough. Not long after, she had a dream of Jesus and decided right then and there to convert. It had to be in private of course. In Iran, converting to Christianity can be deadly.

Sweden was taking in lots of immigrants and refugees, so she decided to immigrate on a work Visa. It was then that she decided to make her conversion public. Leaving the Islamic faith is illegal in Iran and punishable by death, but Swedish immigration recently has decided to deny her asylum request and block her from getting a job. UN AND Swedish immigration policy states that an immigrant can not be denied asylum if the seeker faces imminent danger upon arrival back at their home country. Strandsson was a public figure and she’s already getting threats. If she gets deported, she faces imprisonment, rape and execution. All because she’s a Christian.

Kind of an odd story from the most tolerant and accepting society on the planet. Especially given the recent investigation done by the Swedish newspaper Expressen. They uncovered a program the Swedish Government was running to protect ISIS terrorists arriving from Syria. Apparently these poor jihadists were having a hard time finding jobs. Their pictures and starring roles in propaganda videos were scaring off employers. Imagine that. The Swedes fixed all that with brand new identities and protected status. So why are they keeping and harboring terrorists, but sending Christians home to die?

There is a global war being waged against Christianity. In some places, like here in the United States, the war is being fought against our ideology. In other places, like Iran, the war is literally life and death. We’ve come full circle. A return to the first century. Like then, the time has come to show the world that the church is more than just bricks and mortar. It’s about people. Millions of Christians live under the constant threat of persecution and even death. It’s time we all stand shoulder to shoulder with them. Never again is now.

The Desirability Bias

I’ve got some good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first?

According to researchers at the University of London, it doesn’t really matter which one we hear first, because we’re more likely to believe the good news. It’s called “desirability bias.”

Desirability bias is when you consider information more credible because it pleases you. It helps explain the whole social media-fake news phenomenon – we believe something more when we like that thing and want it to be true.

Researchers at the University of London set up a study just before the 2016 presidential election. They surveyed 900 voters who supported either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The voters disclosed which candidate they supported and predicted who they thought would win.

Researchers then randomly separated the voters into two groups. They gave the first group polling results that indicated Trump would win, and the second group results indicating Hillary would win. With this new information, participants were asked to update their prediction.

The result of the study was clear: desirability bias changes people’s minds. People believed the polling results that they were given only when the poll indicated their candidate would win.

So, if you were a Clinton supporter who thought Trump would win, and you received polling results suggesting Hillary would win, you were far more likely to change your prediction to Hillary winning. That is desirability bias – letting the outcome you actually want, affect your belief about something.

The lesson for politics is pretty clear, and it’s something that seems to be a lost art on both sides of the aisle – if you want to persuade people, you have to find a way to get them to want to agree with you. Ronald Reagan largely understood this art. He was called, “The Great Communicator” and he won 49 states in the 1984 election. We can’t fathom a candidate appealing across the aisle even half that much today.

We saw Obama supporters blinded by desirability bias for eight years, and now we’re seeing the same thing with Trump’s base. We must move beyond this concept of the presidency as the ultimate bully pulpit. That is not what the executive office was designed to be, and it won’t help heal our division.

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