Sunday, February 8, 2009

Time to Get Serious, Part 2 - Lying for God

I receive so many forwarded messages from several well-meaning individuals, most of which were written by the original poster taking umbrage at some incident that proves that America is moving away from God. The only problem is that most of the time those incidents never happened! The most recent exclaims that the words "so help us God" were left out of a quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt that is engraved on the World War II Memorial here in Washington, D.C. The problem here is that the quote from a speech that FDR gave never says those words in that part of the speech. Many of the emails are even more obvious in their fallacies. Another one I just got recently states that Budweiser has stopped delivery to a store in California after Sept. 11, 2001, because the beer delivery man saw the Muslims inside celebrating. Again, this has been disproved, including by Budweiser itself.

Oh, there are so many other stories that are like these. They are almost universally sent by those who have a far-right or a religious agenda and usually fall into one of these categories:

1. Someone or some organization is trying to delete God from our country.
2. An inspiring story from 9/11.
3. During the months leading up to the election, something proving that Obama was a fundamentalist Muslim, or a God-hater, or an atheist, or...well, almost anything else that is negative and not true.

When I receive one of these stories, I like to check for myself whether they are true, because sometimes, though rarely, they are. Luckily, there are impartial research organizations that check these all the time. One of the best ones is There is a search window there and you can just type in a keywords, such as "World War II Memorial", and you'll see any stories that relate to that subject. Right at the top it will say whether the story is True or False and then give a very good explanation as to why. I highly recommend it to anyone.

A little skepticism can help us to avoid falling for so many lies. That leads me to the question...why do people lie to promote the idea of God? When the original writer of an email writes about something that is made out of whole cloth (for my foreign readers, that's an expression in English that means something is not true), even if the email promotes giving yourself over to Jesus Christ as your Savior, do they believe that Jesus approves of their lies? Do they think Jesus thinks it's OK to lie on His behalf? If so, how much further down the road do they have to go before they think it's OK to steal or kill on His behalf?

Time to Get Serious, Part 1 - Tolerance

Not only do I believe in tolerance, I believe in acceptance. I believe we should accept each other no matter our beliefs or backgrounds. The only thing that makes me want to distance myself from someone is an individual's actions, not beliefs, fears, kinky ideas or anything else. I don't promise to respect your beliefs if they are different from mine, but I will not mock you or try to convince you to abandon your beliefs. If you ask me about mine, I will share freely. If you ask me about yours, I'll tell you what I think without being condescending (I hope). If you try to belittle me for what I believe, don't expect me to be happy about it.

No, nothing has happened today to make me write this. It's just an overall conclusion I've reached after a lifetime of experience.