God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Ugliness of Lies

Almost three years ago, when I started this blog, I shared that I am one of that unusual breed that is a born again Christian, believing in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and a card carrying democrat--I Am a Paradox. For many people this is an irresolvable contradiction. But… for me, it is immensely logical and understandable. There is a book, Is Jesus a Republican or a Democrat by Tony Campolo, which speaks to the problem of seeing human and social issues through the medium of political labels. It is a good book and should be read for its perspective and open-mindedness.

Politics are too often manipulated to polarize people, effectively derailing evaluation of issue legitimacy and meaningful debate; thus, the search for solutions is at best delayed at worst never achieved. Sadly, there are people of influence who successfully use their platforms to create unrest via false rumors, twisted truth and manipulation of fears—rational or irrational. To be fair, there are such people on both sides of the equation.

So—why this entry, now? Because I am upset about the bigotry, ugliness, lies, deliberate preying on fear and hate that is swirling around Senator Barack Obama. I am not promoting Obama; I am promoting fairness, ethics and honest debate. Our leaders must be elected on the basis of issues—not deceit and appeal to baseness.

This week I received an e-mail from a dear friend of mine whom I love. Politically we are on different pages in different books except for the one book we both try to live by, God’s word.

I had read that there were scurrilous e-mails circulating with deliberate, malicious lies about the senator, preying on the paranoia and legitimate fears that have become post 9/11 life. Until I received a copy of one, I had not realized how evilly hateful they are, how widespread they are or how believed they are by good people victimized by trust in right-wing demagogues who delight in exerting influence via twisted or non-existent truth.

What frightens me is that the lies are so easily disproven and seen for what they are with easy research—thanks to Google, Yahoo or whatever. Is Obama a Muslim or a Christian? This is such an easily answered question. Here, in a search that took two minutes, are his clearly stated beliefs in an interview in Christianity Today.

Does he refuse to salute the flag? Rush says so. Ann says so. Was he raised a Muslim? Is he a closet Muslim? What do he and the facts say?

I am worried that people so readily accept the demagoguery of men and women operating from agendas meant to prey on fear and which fly in the face of democracy--a form of government where decisions are to be made on substance, philosophical disagreements, issues, opposing understandings as to how to achieve a common vision and other legitimate factors.

I am upset that my friends will not enter into a dialogue about these things, that they will not research or consider information that is shared with them. I am upset that they question my faith because I vote differently than they do.


Chiocciola said...

Oh Jane, I am sorry to hear that. I myself was shocked when an ugly email was circulating at one of my company's offices (I couldn't believe it!) with extremely offensive things about Muslims and then at the very end it mentioned Senator Obama and this nonsense. I was just so shocked. Why are people so quick to believe this kind of stuff??

Jane said...

Erin, I don't know but even more puzzling to me is why when proof is offered to destroy the rumor people willingly ignore the truth in favor of the rumor.

Anonymous said...

I can really identify with this post. I find it so upsetting that the most offensive e mail forwards that I receive about both Obama and Hilary are from my two most devoutly Christian friends. I know they both are well aware of my political affliation so I can't imagine why they continue to send them. During the last elections, I finally ask one friend to take me off of her mailing list until after the election.

Mary Pace

Jane said...

June, one would think that our friends who know our differences would not send us such things. I have never reversed the scene and sent e-mails about the current administration--even when the information is true.

Judith in Umbria said...

Fortunately I have not received these.

I have always thought that early Christians were communists without the capital C. If you line up the purest versions of both they match pretty well.

That said, whatever someone claims to be, if they promulgate slime and lies they certainly are not Christians. I am frankly just sick over who claims to be a Christian these days. Besides that, the USA is supposed to be a no-religion government. Which to me means what someone professes should be private and should not be part of an election. That was put in place for the protection of Christians, but it must be applied to all faiths.

Jerry said...

I am shocked at the political statements made by so-called Christians. Happily politics in Canada aren't as fear based as they are in the US (although there are times when we do emulate our friends to the south). I don't know what bothers more - those who make the statements or the hordes who believe them and vote accordingly (and then end up paying the price in the end). Hmmm - there, the political rant for the day.

Eden said...

Hi Jane,

I also received an email similar to what you are referring to re: Obama and his supposed Muslim affiliation. Perhaps it was the same email. I feel the underlying bigotry in the email content.

And I agree that it is sad as there are so many people who took the contents of that email as gospel. All we can do is do our part to clarify the issue the best we can.

Jane said...

Judith, Jerry and Eden--Thanks for your comments and understanding. Judith, I think you are right about the "c" word although getting past the concept would be difficult for many.

Jerry, I agree in wondering which position is most upsetting--maybe people that so willingly believe without questioning.

Eden, let's continue to do our parts!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane. A lot of people form their opinions from a knee jerk reaction. A reaction is only a reaction after all and when proven false by an intelligent person, should cause a shift. With that said, I am somewhat proud of us (the usa) for finally having a little diversity in our candidates.

Jane said...

Maryann, I agree, wholeheartedly. This is the most valid, challenging election I have known.

Texas Espresso said...

I have come across that email myself. I am a liberal and a Christian (which my very conservative family has a hard time with) and I get so sick of this kind of preying on fears that seems to be more alive today. why can I not live my life conservatively yet allow others to live theirs the way they want to? why does this make me less of a christian or less patriotic?

I did some investigating on snopes.com which totally negates the allegations in the email and tells the objective truth behind the 'rumors'. I sent it to those I got it from with the warning not to believe all this email crap that comes their way. It is so ridiculous. I get so upset I can hardly talk about it anymore - so frustrating!

Jane said...

Hi Jennifer/Texas Espresso (I think), I have sent the snopes site to the people but they seem to just ignore it--that's one of the links in the blog entry. I get so frustrated. It's good to know there are more like me!!

Bryan said...

We started getting these types of emails from family/friends just after 9/11 - full of lies. People just passed them along and figured they must be true. We spent a lot of time responding & debunking them. I tend to believe nothing I see on the web until it can be confirmed.

Another great site is truthorfiction.com for weeding through this type of info.

Jane said...

Bryan, just took a quick look at that website and have bookmarked it. I will use it sometimes, I am sure. Quick question: Which of the Bryan's I know are you? Italy?

Bryan said...

Jane - Just click on the photo...Valerie and I will appear.

Jane said...

Bryan, I know that--what was I thinking? Late at night? Just reading it on the e-mail not after published? I dunno know. I know you are glad to be back home. Wish I were.

Casey Klahn said...

We had our dear and old time friends over this weekend, and we all share a love for the Lord. But, we had to steer clear of politics, as we were on different sides of the aisle when it comes to the presidential election.

I am flabber-gasted when I hear the intense and unfounded hatred, which is silly school yard stuff, being railed at the president. Get a life, some of you people!

Jane said...

Casey, thanks for your thoughts and comment. It is good to hear from people who share my concerns and perspective.

Now, I am really curious as to how you found this blog and entry. Did it come from mutual friends in WA?

I am impressed with your art and will spend more time perusing your various blogs. Merry Christmas!