Bad Faith Award 2011: it's Dorries by a landslide
New Humanist readers vote overwhelmingly for the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries as 2011's leading enemy of reason
Following a compelling contest on the New Humanist blog, the results are now in and we can reveal that the 2011 winner of our Bad Faith Award, which we present annually to the leading enemy of reason, is Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, with a landslide 53 per cent share of the vote.
It’s been a fascinating race for the award this year, as for the first time in its five-year history one of the candidates took note of the fact that they had been nominated and began a campaign to ensure they emerged victorious.
Mid-Bedfordshire MP Dorries, who was nominated on account of her twin attempts to change the law on abortion counselling and introduce abstinence-based sex education for girls, noticed she was in the running shortly after we opened the poll, and published a post on her infamous blog (which she once declared to be “70 per cent fiction and 30 per cent fact”) stating that “it’s scary to think how many people out there hold such extreme views dressed up as acceptable in an online glossy magazine”. Those “extreme views”, in case you’re wondering, were those of a “humanist” who had “recently commented that, not only did he believe that abortion was acceptable right up to the moment of birth, but that termination of a child’s life was acceptable up until the point where the child had the ability to reason, understand and justify life.”
This post attracted plenty of attention online, and Dorries, who had also taken the time to describe New Humanist as an “an anti-faith, anti-religious cult” in an interview with her local newspaper, quickly soared into the lead in our poll with over a thousand votes.
Dorries then sought to justify her comments in a second post, in which the humanist who had “recently commented” on infanticide had become the Australian philosopher Peter Singer in the late 1970s. Dorries cherrypicked some quotes from his work to back up her assertion that humanists are in favour of abortion after birth. Dorries did not link directly to Singer’s own work, or provide citations from his books, but instead offered a link to an evangelical website which had used the quotes.
By this point, Dorries had gained an unassailable lead in the poll, and her opponents, who included such heavyweights as the Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips and the Islamic fundamentalist Anjem Choudary, were left chasing shadows. By the time the poll closed, Dorries had gained 2,038 of a total 3,857 votes – a stunning 52.84 per cent share of the vote.
Such a landslide is unprecedented in the history of the Bad Faith Award, and the size of Dorries’ majority serves to highlight the weight of opposition that exists to the attacks she has mounted on abortion rights and comprehensive sex education. With her bill on abstinence due for a second reading in Parliament next year, Dorries will certainly be hearing more from her opponents in the coming months. For now, this “glossy, extremist cult” wishes her many congratulations on her well-deserved triumph.