Religious Right Spirituality

Don’t Forward Lying Emails About Public Figures – It’s UnChristian

I. Waves of Slander

I don’t have statistics, but we all know there’s a lot of falsehood circulating freely online.

An email arrives with frightening accusations or innuendos and the reader gets frightened (as was intended) and forwards the email to warn others of the great danger revealed.

But what if the email is one of the mostly false ones? How should we react if we’re not entirely sure of it’s truthfulness? After all, when we accept at face value lies about a person, group, or situation, and repeat those lies, we have put ourselves in a very bad place – we have become gossips and slanderers.

Slander, you may have heard, is not a Bible virtue, nor even a “family value.” It is certainly not a behavior that God will honor in your life or that will bring an individual or a nation God’s blessing.

Now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. – Colossians 3:8-10

“Do not lie to each other” presumably means to be truthful even if the persons hearing from you kinda like hearing lies and slander. “Do not lie” – BECAUSE you are being made into a “new self.” What a wonderful hope!

II. It’s Nothing New

“They” called President Eisenhower a Communist sympathizer who was selling the country out to the Soviet Union. President John Kennedy was an agent of the Pope trying to give control of the American nation to the Vatican. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was the Anti-Christ.

“They” effectively spread the idea that Al Gore was a mental incompetent, a charge the whole world now knows was wildly false. The lying swift-boaters against Kerry pretended he was a coward and never did what he clearly did do in service to his country in Viet-Nam. And many Americans still believe many of those lies.

They” will say anything – especially if it’s a scary idea or if it advances some political or religious agenda or campaign.

So it’s not too surprising to see US Senator Barack Obama named in anonymous emails as a likely Anti-Christ, or as a non-Christian, or as a hater of the flag and the Bible, or as an undercover agent of radical Islam, intending to turn America into an Islamic theocracy, or to hear his wife called anti-American and an anti-white racist.

It’s not surprising that such things circulate, but it is preposterous. Sometimes you just have to laugh out loud at the bizarre fantasies these anonymous writers create for their gullible readers to circulate – except that it’s not really very funny.

It should make us fear for our nation. Such slanders sow deep irrational hatred, and have often led to violence against innocent people and large groups for no reason at all. That is not something Christians should welcome or promote.

III. Evil Intentions

Very few people could create and launch such vile lies and still pretend, even to themselves, that they are doing a good thing. There are clearly evil intentions behind this ongoing barrage of lies and verbal violence.

IV. Good Intentions with Evil Results

But some of the time, at least, such emails are forwarded by well-meaning people, sometimes by professing Christians, who are concerned about the future of our county. That is a fine concern.

Still, the Bible warns against enthusiasm without accurate information.

they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge… they did not submit to God’s righteousness. – Romans 10:2,3

And, as illustrated above, the Bible warns strongly and repeatedly against slander and bearing false witness.

Because of our freedoms, slander is free to circulate broadly in our land. “They” will indeed say anything. But it is very wrong for Christians to become slanderers by supporting such liars and their lies.

Unfortunately parts of the Christian community have for years played a large role in this. In my experience a lot of the most dishonest and/or wildly inaccurate emails are circulated enthusiastically by and among “Christians“. The slanders seem to have special credibility because they often make reference to God, the Bible, or the Christian faith. They get read, approved, and forwarded apparently without the slightest question as to whether they are truthful or not.

I guarantee, the Devil himself is glad to talk about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the Christian faith if it will help spread deadly lies. We need to accept that fact.

V. It’s Dangerous to Our Spiritual Welfare to Participate In This Evil Thing

People who walk by the Spirit of Christ are careful not to spread evil reports about other people on the basis of anonymous, thoroughly discredited information. That is evil, hateful behavior, while the Spirit of Christ promotes goodness, love, and honesty.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction…

Spreading lies is certainly sowing “to please the sinful nature.” If you sow vile slander and hatred, do not expect to reap peace, joy, love, and holiness in our land or in your own heart. That, my friends, is a very serious thing. We reap what we sow, and nice talk about not being perfect, just forgiven, will not cover it. Jesus is still asking, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?”

If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. – Gal 5:15,16

As the collector of Proverbs warns,

If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?
Proverbs 24:12

It is wildly inappropriate for professing Christians to participate in spreading vile slanders against anyone, especially against prominent leaders in our democracy such as Senator Obama.

Don’t we have to wonder why the truth about these well-known people is not circulating in “Christian” circles as freely and rapidly as the falsehoods are?


(For a reality check on the Obamas, see
• the Snopes page about emails on Obama,
• the Obama website’s “Fight the Smears” page,
• or the “Know the Facts” pages on Obama’s faith,
• and on Obama’s religion.)

Leave a Reply to John X

11 Comments

  • If you truly feel it is your duty or “our” duty as Christians to warn one another about politicians anti-Christian morals, then please provide accurate and unbiased proof of your opinions. I am a teacher, currently pregnant with my first child and a blessed child of God and believer of Christ. I am frustrated with other Christians acting like I am not a true believer or loving mother-to-be because I might vote for what they call a “pro-abortion” Obama. Please read about Obama and his stance on abortion. Give him a chance…read and listen to his explanations for his votes. Words do count…As the bible was passed on orally for many years before written down.

    I am not trying to educate anyone in this response on a political candidate. Instead, I ask that you work out your own answers with facts and proof that are not biased and taken out of context. For example, I had to spend an hour the other day listening to a speech Obama made in 2006 on religion. Many right wingers have taken one portion of that speech out of context and used it against him. I wouldn’t have known the difference if I had not made an investment of time to listen to the whole speech.

    I challenge everyone to educate ourselves and leave conviction of making the right choices up to our heavenly father through prayer. If you feel the need to educate others, then please use facts IN CONTEXT and take the time to ponder whether sharing the information is truly what we’re supposed to do as a Christian. I, myself, have to constantly do this…as I too fall into argumentation and trying to prove my candidate of choice. I just remind myself that I don’t control anyone but me….and I’m doing my best to hand those reigns over to Jesus each and every moment of my life.

  • Spreading lies is one thing, but spreading the truth about a man who stood up in favor of infanticide is a very Christian thing to do. He didn’t just favor abortion. He said that babies that survive abortion do not have the right to medical assistance because the intention was to kill them to begin with. That is infanticide! Being pro-choice is one thing but thinking it is ok to not render medical help to a new born is just stomach churning evil! No christian, muslim, jew, buddist, parent or anyone who has held a newborn can justify voting for this guy! Its our duty as God loving people to speak in one voice on this! Please, as christians it is your duty to spread this proven and documented truth about Obama!

  • After fixing some plumbing issues last week, our neighbor asked us if we had heard that Obama didn’t believe in God and was sworn in on the Qur’an. As someone with limited education and no internet access, I assume these lies were spread to him person to person or through talk radio. We assured him that these were lies spread on the internet, but I’m not sure that he accepted our explanation.

    Some of the most disturbing “lying emails” I have received in the past have purported to quote the Qur’an on various matters. As a Christian examining the possibilities of doing graduate studies in Christian / Islamic relations, I find these particularly vile. The two examples I can recall were outright fabrications. The writer obviously assumed that no good Christian would have a copy of the Qur’an to refer to or the gall to check. Christian / Islamic relations are especially important to me as I have a Muslim brother-in-law. The common American perception of Islam is usually way off the mark. My brother-in-law is proud to be in the process of earning his American citizenship and he considers the infidel terrorists that attacked us on September 11th, 2001 as enemies not only of America (the country he has chosen as his home) but also of Islam. The terrorist pervert the Qur’an just as David Koresh perverted the Bible.

    Don’t pro-war fundamentalist realize that evangelism is much more effective if you don’t kill your neighbor before sharing the gospel?

  • I am glad to see something that is not entirely outer directed and asking people to look to themselves and think about what they are doing before they pass along things like this. It is too easy to focus on what everyone else is doing wrong without looking to ourselves when we may be doing the same thing. It was only a few years ago that I was derided on this very site by someone also bearing false witness when he proclaimed an unproven conspiracy theory as “Christian truth” (if I had just waited, the history channel later debunked those theories, although on more technical terms than I did).

    I too have received one of these Obama e-mails. It purported to be from a screen writer, but just for fun I looked up the Internet Movie Database and this person was not credited with writing the films he claimed. I was relieved to read shortly after that the Obama campaign has set up a website to counter all false claims made. If you feel you must send it to someone, you may want to let them know so they can get the truth out there.

Share
Share
Tweet
Pin