(No Super Bowl rant today - I’ll store that up for tomorrow).
So, I get all manner of “alarm stories” via e-mail or on Facebook. I wish to heck that the senders would use their brains.
First there has been an impassioned plea from a very respectable Bishop in the Episcopal Church about human trafficking and the Super Bowl.
I know and like this Bishop (he and I were at Taize together in 1999 when we were both priests in Western Massachusetts).
I know that human trafficking is horrendous and evil. I know that it corrupts souls and destroys lives.
That being said, the issue of trafficking and the Super Bowl has been over played and greatly exaggerated Bishop Beckwith seems to accept these exaggerations without question. As the following piece points out, campaigns such as the one in the Diocese of Newark may in the end be counterproductive.
Second a couple of my Facebook friends have posted a story headed “Evangelical scientists refute gravity with a new “Intelligent Falling” theory.
(The article says that Evangelical Scientists do not believe in gravity, instead they believe that God is pushing things down”.)
It took me no more than ten seconds to note that the story came from “The Onion” – a very popular on-line magazine of satire.
I think that both of my friends (M.L. and M.E.) knew this. But a couple of the responses to the satire (from folks who are all too serious and have lost their funny-bones) made me sad/mad.One said this:
‘"Evangelical scientists” is an oxymoron’.
My response is ‘What prejudiced thinking lies behind the statement: ‘"Evangelical scientists” is an oxymoron’
Another wrote this:“Honestly, I fear for the future of our country when so-called intelligent people are incapable of differentiating between science and religion."
To which I had to respond by saying
"I fear for the future of this country when so called intelligent people have lost their funny bones. Dammit the article was satire!"
Third One of my e-mail friends sent me an alarmist e-mail which asserted that “Target” (an American chain) is now French owned, controlled by Muslims, and is unwilling to make charitable grants to Christian or Military Veteran groups.
This is patent nonsense - I happen to know that the Target group is owned by the venerable and respected Dayton-Hudson Corporation of Minnesota.
But I had to go to Snopes.Com so that I could refute the nonsense. See:
Fourth This same friend e-mailed me with a story asserting that the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) had filed a suit to forbid the Marines to pray together whilst on duty. The e-mail stated "These are federal employees," says Lucius Traveler, a spokesman for the ACLU, "on federal property and on federal time.. For them to pray is clearly an establishment of religion, and we must nip this in the bud immediately."
Trouble is that the ACLU has never heard of Lucius Traveler, nor has it launched any such suit. See:
1. I know that in “the olden days” all manner of nonsense was spread about in gossipy neighbourhoods, with no imprimatur which guaranteed a degree of truth.
2. I also know that in those “olden days” (if we were lucky) some of the more respectable newspapers, magazines and radio stations would exercise due diligence before publishing bullshit (though this was a crap-shoot depending on where we lived and who controlled our media).
3. I have come to realize that in the digital age we must all check sources, and re-check sources before we “publish” any story by e-mail, on Facebook, and in our Blogs.