The Negative Power of Rumor

rumorMy secretary ushered in a person I had never met before who had a folder in her hand. “Pastor,” she said. “I want to talk to you about a threat to our religious freedom.”

This was in the early 80’s, and what she told me was not new to me. According to my guest, Madalyn Murray O’Hair was filing a petition with the FCC to stop religious broadcasting. “Please ask your congregants to sign this petition and return it to me so that we can stop Ms. O’Hair.”

Since I had heard this before and previously signed one of the peripatetic petitions, I decided to call the FCC to see if this was true. In fact, over the next couple of years, I called them twice. But on each occasion I was assured that there was no such petition.

That was before the Internet became such a big part of our lives. Now such rumors proceed at light speed across the globe.

Most people know that Madalyn Murray O’Hair is now dead, so the rumor has morphed. One of the new versions has James Dobson pleading for us to stop some “group” that is attempting to stop religious broadcasting.

What’s interesting to me is that the people that are so anxious to spread this story make no attempt to correct their error when they learn of it. Any Internet search will quickly clarify the issue and give the truth.

Meanwhile this negative and false rumor continues to circulate. Where’s the integrity of these people that claim to want to tell the truth? I’d suggest that truth is not a concern of theirs if they are not willing to rewrite the people on their list to say, “I was wrong. This story is false.”

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