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Thou Shalt Not Send Bogus Emails

It's time to call a cease-fire to the false political emails.

I have several different email accounts with different providers. I mainly use Google's Gmail because I like the functionality of it, but I also have a Yahoo! account, a Rocketmail account, and I think I might even still have a Hotmail account floating around somewhere.

But despite the many different accounts, one thing remains constant between them all: the amount of bogus emails I get.

Now, we all have Spam folders in our email accounts, the place where the truly obvious junk mail goes to die. Letters from "friends" stranded in Europe (Jon Acuff has a great blog on this type of email), notes from Kenyan bankers looking to shelter money, or even the classic distant relative leaving you a sizable fortune are all familiar scams. Hopefully, even the most reluctant email user has long ago learned to just delete and move on.

But there is another form of bogus mail with which I am inundated, and it's got nothing to do with someone’s unclaimed millions in a Swiss bank account. It's the hyper-reactionary political email that, with a couple minutes of Googling, proves to be boldly, wildly untrue.

Now, these types of things have been around forever - and we have Snopes to prove it. But with the 2008 presidential election and the Birther movement, the age of high-paranoia political assassinations arrived in style. Once upon a time, I used to get missives from the GOP; now, as I've expanded my reading base considerably, I get paranoid emails from all over the place.

And, me being me, I do the same thing every time: I delete them. Without reading.

Every once in a while, someone will send me something that has a clever subject line that throws me off the scent, and I'm four lines in before I realize I've been Rope-a-Doped. But once I realize that it's just another blown-up lie, I delete it.

And shake my head.

Because that's what these emails are - lies. False stories. Half-truths. And when I receive them from my fellow Christians, they make me shake my head all the more because I'm quite sure that "not bearing false witness" is mentioned in the Bible a couple of times. And that seemed to be one of God's big no-no's, a top-ten lister for sure.

Yet those things rocket around the Interwebs like a sugared-up toddler, passing from one account to the next without so much as a pause.

Granted, some of those emails come with pretty dire admonitions not to break the chain of senders. Some even suggest that Jesus will be very disappointed with you if you don't pass the message along.

Yeah - Jesus would be real tore up because you didn't disseminate a lie. Just like he'd be disappointed if you didn't secretly envy your neighbor's new car.

And for the record, prefacing your email with "I don't know if this is true or not, but I don't want to be the one to stop the chain if it is!" doesn't earn you a get-out-of-jail-free card. Ignorance is not a viable defense. Not when we have Google at our fingertips.

I get that the political stakes are high. () I understand that we have reached critical mass in terms of the polarization of the electorate, and that each side tends to see the other as the enemy. I know that people often need motivation to do their civic duty come an election year, but really - do we need to make up flat-out lies?

So let's call a truce on the whole defamatory emails, okay? No more Obama-is-a-Muslim-plant or Romney-family-accidentally-misspells-their-name-RMONEY hoaxes. Let's instead concentrate on channeling our inner Joe Friday's, and stick to just the facts.

I mean it seems like the candidates give us enough ammunition on their own that we don't need to waste time making junk up.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michael Robinson September 25, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Forward this comment to 1000 blog posts or the puppy gets it. While I'll probably never understand how a person can think critically and be religious, I appreciate that people like you exist to keep things moderate. Keep up the good work. :)
Grant September 25, 2012 at 01:39 PM
GW... Exactly how long do you thing it took me to type that post my friend?
Nod September 29, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Jason, thank you for your remarks and although some of us think the negativity is a bit one-sided and harsher, or is it more harsh, that's how we defend "our side." Personally, I just shake my head that supposedly intelligent people are still saying that President Obama is a Muslim and that he is not a U.S. citizen. As Mitt Romney might refer to him, an "illegal alien." ;-) My initial comment before reading the usual "attack" on Brian was that, ignorant people believe what they want to believe, they enjoy it and they enjoy spreading their swill in the hopes that others more ignorant than they will eat it and believe it. Sad so sad! Good night and may God bless us all.
Chris September 29, 2012 at 03:02 AM
You are so right. Just like people that believe Obama.
Nod September 29, 2012 at 05:10 AM
You are so right; just like people who believe politicians!

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