Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Forwarded e-mails

I love these, I really do. Especially when they take a Christian theme and end with something like, "if you really love God, you'll forward this to 500 people. I won't know if you forward it or not, but God will." But seriously, they are usually encouraging (at least until that last sentence) or are pontificating on an issue or issues I somewhat agree with. In fact, because I often agree in principle with many of these emails I tried to start one several years ago citing statistics about the number of so-called Christians in this country versus the number who read their Bible or attend church regularly, the numbers of teen-pregnancies and abortions, and the percentage of the population who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. I was curious to see if I'd ever get it back and what transformations it would take before it got back to me. But it never did. Perhaps it hit too close to home. Or perhaps I failed to attribute my rant to a celebrity.

I just got one of these. Maybe you've seen it. It's titled, "Paul Harvey on Prayer." I'm always suspicious whenever I see one of these credited to someone famous. So I checked it out on Snopes and sure enough, it's not true. It is a real article, but not by Paul Harvey.

What gets my goat, is that even though I agree with the thoughts contained therein and the desire to forward it to the whole world, at some point some well-intended Christian flat out lied when he or she originated this email. And for all the times it's been forwarded, how many Christians have actually checked to see if what is written is true or if it is credited to the right author? In fact, this particular email dates back to 2000. So just think about how many times it's been forwarded, or how many times it's shown up in your inbox, in those seven years!

Here's my email in all it's glory (minus the Meg-or-so of graphics that came with):

Keep this going around the it and forward every time you receive it. We can't give up on this issue.
Paul Harvey and Prayer

Paul Harvey says:
I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwin, but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his Theory of Evolution

Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game.

So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.

But it's a Christian prayer, some will argue.
Yes, and this is the United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect -- somebody chanting Hare Krishna?

If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer.

If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer.

If I went to a ping pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha.

And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one bit. When in Rome ...

But what about the atheists? is another argument.
What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!
Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.

Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating; to pray before we go to sleep.

Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.
God, help us. And if that last sentence offends you, well . .. just sue me.

Credited to Nick Gholson, sports writer for the Witchita Falls, Texas Times Record News.

And the rest of the email, not written by either Gholson or Harvey, but by some Christian somewhere who lied about its authorship...

The silent majority has been silent too long.. It's time we let that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard that the vast majority don't care what they want. It is time the majority rules! It's time we tell them, you don't have to pray; you don't have to say the pledge of allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we will honor your right ... But by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back ... and we WILL WIN!

God bless us one and all ... especially those who denounce Him , God bless America, despite all her faults. She is still the greatest nation of all.

God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God.

May 2007 be the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions.
Keep looking up.

If you agree with this, please pass it on. If not delete it.

And now you know, the rest of the story!

And one last nitpick while I'm here. It mentions that Christian churches outnumber all others by 200-1. For that to really mean anything that would imply that only 1 out of 200 Americans are not Christians. Or in other words, 99.5% of the population are Christians. You and I both know that's not anywhere close to the truth. The reason there are 200 Christian churches for every one of some other is because there are 200 takes on "one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph 4:4-6) If we were really following just Jesus and not some historical theologian or church leader, there would only be one church and that would be that.

Now forward that last paragraph to everyone in your address book. I won't know if you forward it or not, but God will.

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