Internet deception runs wild

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Oklahoman

QUICK, put down this newspaper and log on to the World Wide Web. Go to the official Christian Web site, http://www.wearegullible.com, and forward an urgent e-mail to 200 friends.

Do this immediately, before a sinister group of influential witches succeeds in a scheme to install Harry Potter as U.S. president and his Hogwarts classmates as members of Congress.

Funny, isn’t it, how God’s faithful – myself included – are smart enough to push the delete button when computer spam offers to help us lose 150 pounds in a day or earn $1 million between breakfast and lunch.

But let any nut with Internet access claim schoolchildren will be forced to worship Howard Stern, and we waste no time dispatching the news as truth.

Just last week, two friends forwarded me and several dozen others an e-mail declaring, “If you care about anything, then care about this!”

According to the e-mail, an atheist group formed by the late “Madeline Murray O’Hare” has collected 287,000 signatures and is pushing to remove all Sunday worship service broadcasts.

“You as a Christian can help!” the e-mail said. “We are praying for at least 1 million signatures.”

The good news is, the prayers already have been answered – many times over. Since the false petition related to Madalyn Murray O’Hair (that’s the correct spelling) began circulating in the late 1970s, the Federal Communications Commission has received more than 35 million signatures asking it to block her efforts.

“On the one hand, you could see this as a sign that religion in America is not dead,” said John Williams, an Edmond author and pastor. “On the other hand, you could see this as 35 million people who have been duped by this legend.

“Christians lose their right to be taken seriously in the marketplace if our testimony is tainted with fear and fabrication.”

In a recent book, “The Cost of Deception: The Seduction of Modern Myths and Urban Legends,” Williams devoted an entire chapter to “the petition that won’t go away.”

“Like a virus, this urban legend has mutated and seems to be resistant to all efforts to eradicate it,” he told me.

Only this time, O’Hair orchestrates the plot from her grave.

The latest e-mail also said CBS is discontinuing “Touched by an Angel” because each program refers to God.

How dare they!? We must rally and stop this persecution! So, I asked Mel Bracht, The Oklahoman’s media writer, who I could call.

“I can tell you this much,” Bracht replied. “‘Touched by an Angel’ is still on the air. CBS will move it from Sunday to Saturday nights this fall.”


Religion Editor Bobby Ross Jr. can be reached by e-mail at rross@oklahoman.com or by phone at 475-3480.

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