So, What's The Harm In Forwarding This Stuff Anyway?
1. It hurts our Christian witness. A lie is
a lie. A half truth is a lie. A so-called white lie is a lie.
If we truly know THE TRUTH Himself, shouldn't that make us truthful? "...and
they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to
fables." 2 Tim. 4:4 "Therefore, put away lying,
'let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,' for we are members of one
another." Eph. 4: 25
2. It harms REAL people, organizations and companies.
Just ask actress Cindy Williams, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the American Cancer
Society, Tommy Hilfiger, the United States Congress or even an average person:
|A fellow at MIT by the name of Cindy Williams writes an
article about military pay raises vs. civilian pay raises. A
young airman writes a rebuttal letter. Someone who has not read the
original article and does not know what it really says reads the airman's
letter and jumps to the conclusion that any woman by the name of Cindy
Williams must be the actress of Laverne & Shirley fame. This
person begins an email campaign against actress Williams. Williams,
who says she is very patriotic, is deluged by hate mail and her patriotic
reputation ruined. What's the harm?|
|The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been the target of several
hoaxes claiming that they will give money to a sick or dying child if people
forward email. They get loads of phone calls from concerned people
wanting to verify the message. Paula Van Ness, the President and CEO, says
that these hoaxes are a drain on their staff. "These calls divert
our staff and resources from fulfilling existing wishes." What's
|Several clothing companies have been harmed by false rumors
of racism. The latest victim was Tommy Hilfiger. Emails claimed
that he appeared on various talk shows and claimed he did not want
minorities wearing his clothing. Liz Claiborne got the same
treatment. Troop Sport actually went under after persistent rumors by
email that they were owned by the KKK. The owners were Jewish and
Korean! Liz Claiborne, McDonalds and Proctor and Gamble were all
claimed to be Satanist companies or Satanist owned and run at one time or
another. The Procter and Gamble rumor was started by an overly
ambitious Amway representative in the 1980's. The rumor was sent to
churches and copied and recopied so many times that it was practically
unreadable. Thousands and thousands of church members boycotted P
& G over a lie. What's the harm?|
|Thousands of people were (especially elderly people) frightened
years ago over the "Klingerman Virus" rumor.
This rumor claimed that a virus that had already killed people was being
mailed to people in an blue envelope (this was pre-9/11) and that the
government was keeping it quiet to avoid a panic! Even after 9/11,
when it became quite clear that every little possibility of anthrax letters
got national attention, people were still frightened. One lady in a
senior housing area said that although she posted the true information,
people did not believe it. What's the harm?|
3. People you do not know (some of them spammers) are
given access to your email address through forwarded email. Internet
Scambusters says, "If a spammer gets a hold of one of those, do you think
they won't grab every address in the message? (We've seen one case in
which a message had been forwarded so many times as attachments that it included
over 1,100 addresses!) Internet Scambusters, Issue 41, January 18,
2001. Hoaxbusters says that some spammers are deliberately starting chain
letters and hoaxes to gather email addresses. What's the harm?
4. Hoax letters may frighten people. I've
already detailed what happened with the Klingerman Virus hoax. A similar
hoax was started after 9/11 which said that poison was being mailed to people in
perfume samples. Other messages offer scary tales of abductions,
kidnappings, robberies and unsafe places. What's the harm?
5. You may harm your own computer! Two
messages that began in 2001, asked people to delete files, claiming that the files were
actually viruses that anti-virus software could not detect. Without any
proof, without any articles, without a shred of evidence that the message was
true, thousands of people did exactly as they were told. It turned out
that the files were necessary Windows system files! What's the harm?
6. You could endanger the lives of others.
Some of these forwarded messages contain very bad medical advice. One
message said that coughing during a heart attack could save your life. It
turns out that this is true ONLY with one type of heart attack and it should
only be done under medical supervision. Following the advice in the email
could cause death! What's the harm?
SO, WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
I hope it's crystal clear now that forwarding hoax email is
not a harmless past time. I got started doing this because when I first
got on the internet, a Christian lady I knew began forwarding me messages that I
knew could not be true. I began to look up information on the messages,
then to send her the true information. After a few truthful replies, the
lady became upset. She claimed that she didn't believe all that stuff, but
that she just sent them on "for fun." She offered to remove me
from her list rather than give up forwarding these hoaxes.
Friends, there is nothing fun or funny about this business of
forwarding hoax email. Check it out before sending it on it's