All I had to do was mentally substitute a few words in key passages. Which I've done non-mentally below.
Not long ago, if you told a whopper like Palin’s a holy book's and it was as thoroughly debunked as hers it's was, that would have ended the discussion. These days, it is barely even part of the discussion. These days, facts seem overmatched by falsehood, too slow to catch them, too weak to stop them.
Indeed, falsehoods are harder to kill than a Hollywood zombie. Run them through with fact, and still they shamble forward, fueled by echo chamber media preachers, ideological tribalism, cognitive dissonance, a certain imperviousness to shame, and an understanding that a lie repeated long enough, loudly enough, becomes, in the minds of those who need to believe it, truth.
Rather, the point is the construction and maintenance of an alternate narrative designed to enhance and exploit the receiver’s fears, his or her sense of prerogatives, entitlement, propriety and morality under siege from outside forces.
They cannot remain one people.
There are some politics vs. religion discordancies in my edited version. Pitts is correct that lies in politics used to be much less acceptable than they are now. In the old days, if a politician was caught in a lie, this was a big deal.
It just elicits a shrug now. People don't expect policians to tell the truth, I guess.
In contrast, religions always have gotten away with falsehoods, in large part because there's no way to definitively say whether a claim like "God loves us" is true. All us skeptics can say is "evidence is lacking."
Still, Pitts has a good point when he writes "a lie repeated long enough, loudly enough, becomes, in the minds of those who need to believe it, truth." With religions, instead of "lie" it probably is better to use a word like "unfounded belief" (though sometimes lie is exactly what's being promulgated).
As I often say in my blog posts, I'm not bothered by people believing whatever they want to -- so long as they don't expect other people to accept those beliefs if they lack demonstrable evidence of their truthfulness.
Unfortunately, the same phenomenon Pitts notes among unfactual politicians is apparent among unfactual religious believers: they feel offended and disrespected when reasonable questions are raised by people unwilling to accept their bullshit.
"How do you know God exists?" "Even if God exists, how do you know God loves us?" "Isn't it more likely that God hates us, given how much pain, misery, and suffering exists in the world?"
Pitts seems to have a dream of people united by a shared vision of reality. Sounds great. But it's not going to happen anytime soon, especially in the realm of religion. It's tough enough to get people on the same truthful wavelength when it comes to scientifically demonstrable realities like human-caused global warming and evolution via natural selection.
Much more difficult is getting people to realize that cherished religious beliefs are just that: beliefs, with no factual substance behind them. Some day, perhaps. Someday. Religious people have their dreams, and so do I.
Such as, a world where humans know the difference between truths and falsehoods, reality and unreality, objective and subjective viewpoints.