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Religious Extremists Perpetuating "Religious Ban" Urban Myth

I just received a forwarded email which begins:

Pastor Removal from Television

Removal of Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah and other pastors from the airwaves.

An organization has been granted a Federal Hearing on the same subject by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington , D.C.

Their petition, Number 2493, would ultimately pave the way to stop the reading of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, on the airwaves of America . They got 287,000 signatures to back their stand! If this attempt is successful, all Sunday worship services being broad cast on the radio or by television will be stopped.

This group is also campaigning to remove all Christmas
programs and Christmas carols from public schools! You, as a Christian, can help!

We are praying for at least 1 million signatures. This would defeat their effort and show that there are many Christians alive, well and concerned about our country.... As Christians, we must unite on this.

It's a recycled urban myth which first surfaced a couple of years ago (Snopes).

Proof that no baseless scare is ever too old or tired not to be rejuvenated by a quick facelift came in November 1999 when what has come to be the canonical text of this petition was prefaced with the following, adding the warning that a particularly well-loved television show was in danger:

FOR YOUR INFORMATION CBS will be forced to discontinue "Touched By An Angel" for using the word "God" in every program.

Please do this, it will only cost you a stamp. If things got bad when prayer was taken from school, think of how it will get with no shows like 'Touched by an Angel'. PLEASE! Your right to freedom of religion is being tampered with.

Where to begin?

Madalyn Murray O'Hair never petitioned the FCC to ban religious programming nor was she ever granted a hearing by that regulatory body to discuss the matter. That's not all that surprising either for there is no federal law or regulation that gives the FCC the authority to prohibit radio and television stations from presenting religious programs.

Religious extremists are seeking to undermine the security of our nation by fomenting discord and uprising against our government. It's not enough that they want to dictate their beliefs onto us, they want to scare people into rebelling against the government now that their puppets are no longer in power in Washington.

The Federal Communications Commission is not going to strip away freedom of religion - but some religious extremists want you to believe that's imminent.


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Comments (17)

Paul Hooson:

What so absurd about this scare is Joel Osteen, Charles Stanley are all religious moderates, who largely avoid political discussions. Joyce Meyer is a "prosperity Gospel" advocate, mainly preaching how to get wealthy by believing in God. None of these persons are like John Hagee, Pat Robertson or followers of the dead leaders like Dr. D. James Kennedy, who largely only use their programming for promoting political or raising funds for political or similar causes.

Tim:

Oh, please. Some jackass forwards a stupid email and you treat it like the second coming of the Inquisition. Next you'll be telling us how the email you got warning of gang members driving with their lights off and shooting people who flicked their lights at them is really a veiled threat to kill the President. Newsflash - no one takes forwarded emails seriously. You shouldn't either.

Lee Ward:

There are 800 signatures at the bottom of the email and instruction to forward it to 10 other people.

Religious wackjobs are preying on the innocent.

Steve:

So the whole email is a fabrication, but the names on the "petition" are not? And who says it is necessarily initiated by religious whackjobs? These things are usually started by generic whackjobs who just like to set a lie free and see how far it will fly.

Steve:

BTW, I have received this same email three or four times over the past decade from well-meaning Christian friends - but not at all in the last year or two. I always reply with a link to snopes.com.

Lee Ward:

So the whole email is a fabrication, but the names on the "petition" are not?

I recognize a couple fo the names, including the name of the person who sent it to me.

And who says it is necessarily initiated by religious whackjobs?

This issue is a lie that religious wackjobs like to perpetuate - that their freedom of religion is in danger of being compromised by the mean old nasty government. Saw this a lot heading into last November's election - now it's back - religious extremists making a comeback.

Allen:

Ref #4. Steve, you're correct on seeing how far a lie will fly. Seen a lot of that lately, since Jan.20. Most of it seems to be coming from the GOP side of the fence. Just saying...

steve:

I don't know about "most", Allen. Seems a bit of a stretch to me. I figure if you have 100 politicians in a room and 40 are Republicans and 60 are Democrats, then about 40% of the lies told will be GOP lies and the other 60% will be democrat lies. But then, I don't tend to be blindly partisan ...

Tim:

I got an email the other day from a nice Nigerian lady whose husband was killed in a plane crash. She needs my help to get $25 million moved from his secret bank account to America. If anyone wants to help me help her, I'll cut you in on my $7 million share.

Lee Ward:

Comparing christian extremists to Nigerian email scammers - I wouldn't have gone there - but I'm glad you did, Tim. Thanks.

Allen:

Ref #8. I never mentioned how many people in a room, you did. But nice try. How many people who are part of the GOP keep crying about President Obama's birth certificate? And those same ones keep telling lies that he isn't an American citizen. Like I have said before, the average American has seen through the BS screen that the GOP likes to use.

And why is it the GOP always have to start calling people names when the person disagrees with them? More GOP BS. And for your information, I vote for the individual who I think will do the best job, and the hell with what party they belong to. But from your postings, I doubt that you have ever done that, it's been a straight GOP ticket when you vote.

Lee, you are assuming this hoax was started by a "religious extremist". Do you know that for a fact? I have received the same email in the past from friends who just didn't know the truth, and who were grateful to be informed of the facts. Some people just like to stir up discord, and probably one of those people originated this tripe. Don't give them the satisfaction of seeing your blood pressure rise. Just delete it and enjoy life.

Tim:

Actually, Lee, I was comparing people who fall for Nigerian email scams to people who get a forwarded urban legend and see visions of re-education camps and book burnings in their heads. But thanks for giving it a shot. You're so cute when you try.

Lee Ward:

Oh, and here I thought you were actually addressing the content of the post, and not just drooling your usual anti-liberal dribble.

My bad.

Steve:

Tim, it's a trick! Don't believe her! Don't give her your bank account information! Those Nigerian widow extremists are always preying on the generosity of the innocent! Beware! Beware! Do not trust Nigerian widows! (In case you have any doubts about this possibly being the handiwork of some generic internet prankster, I must point out that you can tell it was written by a Nigerian widow because, of course, it says right there in the email - she identifies herself clearly! Let me repeat: those Nigerian widows would bleed this country dry given half a chance! Can't you people see that?)

Steve:

One more thing, Tim. I realize those emails have been around for a decade or so, but the fact that YOU recently received that email proves that Nigerian widow whackjobs are stepping up their efforts to prey on Americans now that there is an African American president! I state that as pure fact. Do I need to prove that statement? NO, because it is so blindingly obvious ... and because I have a deep-seated fear of Nigerian widows. They are everywhere and they will not rest until they OWN America!

Steve:

And back to Paul's point in #1: "What (is) so absurd about this scare is (that) Joel Osteen, (and?) Charles Stanley are all (both?)religious moderates, who largely avoid political discussions. Joyce Meyer is a "prosperity Gospel" advocate, mainly preaching how to get wealthy by believing in God." That IS weird. It's almost like these were prominent preacher names pulled at random by someone who isn't really familiar with which preachers would have followers who could be most easily politically inflamed. Almost like a generic prankster put the email together instead of a true religious whackjob!


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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