Break the Chain A Wing and a Prayer

Created 2/7/2002 (11/12/2002) President George W. Bush is well-known as a man of strong faith. We've seen him bring prayer to the White House and official functions, so why not ask him to put it back in schools? Well, for starters, he can't do it.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION BELOW AND PASS THIS ON UNTIL THERE ARE 500 NAMES TO SEND TO president@whitehouse.gov WE ALL NEED TO BE UNITED IN PRAYER FOR OUR NATION

Mr. President Bush,

As "One Nation Under God," it only seems fitting that you reinstate prayer in our public schools as the first act of doing the right thing, if you really want America's prayers to be heard "On High."

After all, it is because of God's protection we are such a great nation to begin with. Help raise a nation of praying children.

Sincerely,

The People of America

Mark 10:13 " People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

PETITION TO REINSTATE PRAYER IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Names removed

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I first received the above version in October, 2001. Here's a better-written version that turned up in February, 2002:

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Dear President Bush:

Many of us were deeply touched to hear you recite a portion of Psalm 23 in your address to this great nation in the dark hours following the terrorists attacks. We were encouraged and comforted to know that we truly had a believer working with us and for us in our nation's highest office. We the people of America are requesting that you lift the prohibition of prayer in schools. As the pledge of our great country states, we are to be "One nation, under God." Please allow the prayers and petitions of our children in schools without the threat of punishment. Currently, adults and children in the schools are prohibited from mentioning God unless of course His name is uttered as part of a curse or profanity. Madeline Murray O'Hare is dead. Let her legacy of atheism in our schools die with her.

Sincerely,
The People of America

Mark 10:13-14 "People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

PETITION TO REINSTATE PRAYER IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

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Several other circulating versions are variations on this theme. Unfortunately, none is likely to achieve its goal. To find out why, let's put this campaign to the Seven Tests of Armchair Activism:

  1. Expiration - FAILED - We don't know when either petition was started. Similarly, neither has a deadline or expiration date, so they are doomed to circulate for a long time.

  2. Focus - FAILED - These petitions make the mistaken assumption that the President has the authority to "lift the prohibition" on prayer in public schools. First, there is no federal law banning prayer in schools - the separation of church and state currently observed is the result of several key Supreme Court decisions. The President has no authority to reverse a Supreme Court decision.

  3. Integrity - FAILED - Any petition that asks you send "completed" copies directly to the party you're trying to influence should be dismissed as an e-mail bomb. "President@Whitehouse.gov" is a valid e-mail address, but it is used by staffers for general correspondence and questions, not by the President himself. Discard the notion that the White House will commit the time and personnel necessary to collect and compile thousands of copies of a petition they didn't start or endorse. Most likely, copies of this petition are automatically deleted.

  4. Privacy - FAILED - Once you've signed and forwarded, you have no control over where your name and e-mail address end up. You could end up on a spammer's list, or worse.

  5. Reliability - FAILED - E-mail petitions are never reliable. You cannot be confident that they will reach their targets, remain unchanged or be used for the intended purpose.

  6. Sponsorship - FAILED - We don't know who started this campaign, and nobody is taking the responsibility to ensure its success.

  7. Validity - FAILED - As stated above, the petition is based on two mistaken presumptions: First, that prayer is school is prohibited by law and second, that the President has the authority to effect this change.

Zero for seven. This one doesn't have a prayer (pardon the pun). BreakTheChain.org recommends against signing and/or propagating any e-mail petition, no matter how noble the cause. For more on how e-petitions are a bad idea and for alternatives to Armchair Activism, visit the Chain-Breaker's Library. Break this chain!

What Do You Think?

Category: Armchair Activism
References: Snopes.com

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