I have written an e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which is free to anyone. To download that book, in several formats, go here.
Creative Commons License
The posts in this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. In other words, you can copy and use this material, as long as you aren't making money from it, and as long as you give me credit.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Passing on political rumors can be a sin

I don't know which presidential candidate I'm going to vote for. I'm sure that neither Obama nor McCain are going to bring the promised land to the US, much less to the world.

Whatever their flaws, such as Obama's inexperience and McCain's ignorance of the economy, they deserve to be treated fairly in this election. Unfortunately, they haven't always been. There seems to be fairly general agreement among the press that they treated Hilary Clinton unfairly because she is a woman, and that may have contributed to her loss to Obama.

I can't do much about the press, but I can try to do something about another type of unfairness. I am all-too-often getting e-mails from (I hope) well-meaning people who pass on various lies about Mr. Obama. There are probably similar lies being circulated about McCain, but so far, I haven't received any. (Here's a Slate article about some of those lies, about Obama, and John Edwards.)

Here's a response, in advance, to some of these messages:
I checked some of the material you sent, and, according to, a widely recognized rumor-checking source, the statements in the e-mail you forwarded to me are mostly or entirely a fabrication. This is not the first time that it will happen, but it shouldn't. I recall the Internet circulated claim, before the 2000 election, that Al Gore didn't know John 3:16. Gore had been a lifelong Southern Baptist , and had written a book that was enough related to Christianity that Christianity Today interviewed Gore a couple of years before the election. I don't believe that interview is available on the Internet, but I read the article myself, in Christianity Today. There was also a false claim, in the same election year cycle, that John McCain had an illegitimate black child. This rumor was widely circulated in South Carolina, and apparently contributed to McCain's loss in the primary here that year -- he might have been the Republican candidate for President, rather than Bush, if he had won in SC.

Both candidates have their weaknesses, and neither of them is going to bring us the millennium on earth. Both of them deserve to be fairly heard. Whoever starts these rumors is guilty of a sin that the New Testament condemns in at least four places, namely slander. Whoever passes them on may be equally guilty. (Matthew 15:19, Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8, 2 Peter 2:1 ) I don't want to be guilty of slander by passing on such material.
I'm not sure I've got the courage to send this, rather than just deleting the e-mail. We'll see.
Thanks for reading!

August 3, 2012

I'll leave the above as is, but, if I were writing it today, I would have made some reference to Mr. Romney, and also mentioned Facebook as a common medium for passing on political slander and libel.

Thanks for reading! Pass it on. 


Keetha said...

Fortunately I can hit "delete" before I even read those (or any other) e-mail circulars. I find them all a waste of internet space and time.

Anonymous said...

Bingo! I think that I am going to link this post to my blog. Those emails bother me too. Sen. Obama has a sight up with pictures to combat all of the slanderous emails. I am not saying that he is, or isn't, my candidate. I am saying that these false accusations are not God's will. Great post Dr. LaBar.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, both of you. Dirty rumors seem to be the order of the day in US politics. We live in a sinful world, for sure.