Onward Christian Soldiers
Date Added: Apr. 5, 2001
Though she's been gone for years, the name Madeline Murray O'Hair still evokes strong feelings in those who remember her well-publicized campaign for her atheist causes. This so-called petition is neither effective, nor even necessary.
Subject: Using the word "God"
It's not the show we are protecting, but the right to have it there.
CBS will be forced to discontinue "Touched by an Angel" for using the word God in every program. Madeline Murray O'Hare, an atheist, successfully managed to eliminate the use of Bible reading from public schools a few years ago.
Now her organization has been granted a Federal Hearing on the same subject by the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) in Washington, DC. 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 broadcast 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. Please don't take this lightly. We ignored this lady once and lost prayer in our schools and in offices across the nation. Please stand up for your religious freedom and let your voice be heard. Together we can make a difference in our country while creating an opportunity for the lost to know the Lord.
Please press "forward" and only delete out what is not needed, and forward this to everyone on your list. Now, please sign your name at the bottom (you can only add your name after you have pressed the "Forward" or copied it to a new page.) Don't delete anything, just go to the next number and type your name. Please do not sign jointly, such as Mr. & Mrs. Each person should sign his/her own name.
Please e-mail this to everyone you know, and help us defeat this organization and keep the right to our freedom of religion. When you get to 1000, please e mail back to Lisa Norman.
The text above is identical to text that started circulating years ago (as early as 1997), except where the original gave all the credit for the nefarious acts to Ms. O'Hare, the new version gives it to "her organization" - whatever that is. Also, the version above is missing a preamble common in earlier versions that gave some idea of what the purpose of the thing would be:
I am an American and am very thankful for my American heritage. I am also much aware of the role our Christian Faith has in the freedom that we Americans now enjoy. Therefore, I protest any human effort to remove from the radio or television; programs designed to nurture faith in God or to remove CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS, CHRISTMAS SONS AND CHRISTMAS CAROLS from public airwaves, schools, office buildings, etc."
Still another version of this misguided chain claims that it is a request from Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, a national Christian ministry. However, Dr. Dobson has not asked his followers to sign this 'petition.'
Yet, this missive is not pure fiction. It is based on a broad misunderstanding of real events that happened three decades ago.
In 1974, Jeremy Lansman and Lorenzo Milam petitioned the FCC to regulate the assignment of broadcasting licenses to religious groups for educational use. Their purpose was to slow a trend, at least in their view, of churches and other Christian interests gobbling up licenses intended for educational purposes, but using them for religious purposes. The petition was heard and declined by the FCC in 1975.
Unfortunately, a common misinterpretation of this petition - that Lansman and Milam sought the elimination of religious content on the airwaves - coupled with Madalyn Murray O'Hair's (correct spelling) high media profile at the time, led to the misunderstanding that the petition was her work and part of a larger plan to outlaw religious broadcasting.
There is no threat, from the late Ms. O'Hair or "her organization," that religious programming will be removed from television. There is no logical reason (such as separation of church and state) for the government to tell broadcasters they can't air religious materials.
BreakTheChain.org recommends strongly against signing any e-mail petition because of 1) their relative futility, and 2) their inherent privacy risks. Once your name goes on it (and your e-mail address is automatically encoded in the message), you have no control over who gets that information or what is done with the petition. For more reasons e-petitions are worthless, read my primer on Armchair Activism in the Chain-Breaker's Library.
One constant when it comes to chain letters is that hoaxters love to pick on Christians. There are many hoaxes that prey on a strong sense of faith and duty, only to make us look like fools for militantly pursuing what, to the hoaxter, is "obviously" a hoax. Break this Chain!
References: About.com, Snopes.com, Focus on the Family, James Dobson Version