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How do you handle religious e-mails?


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  #1  
August 3rd, 2006, 09:17 AM
my_boys_are_my_joy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Bayou state
Posts: 6,431
I didn't want to get the story thread off-topic, so i decided to start a new one. Years ago, I received an extremely bigotted e-mail from an aunt I've only seen a handful of times in my life:

Quote:
Subject: We Are Americans!!!

I think everyone on this planet needs to read this. This was sent by a 78-year old former nun. The thoughts are pure and we all understand the point....

`There are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some native Americans, need to understand.

First of all, it is not our responsibility to continually try not to offend you in any way. This idea of America being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language, and our own lifestyle. This culture, called the "American Way" has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

Our forefathers fought, bled, and died at places such as Bunker Hill, Antietam, San Juan, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Korea, Vietnam.....

We speak English, not Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to
become part of our society - "learn our language!"

In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some off-the-wall, Christian, Right Wing, political slogan - it is our national
motto. It is engraved in stone in the House of Representatives in our Capitol and it is printed on our currency. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation and this is clearly documented throughout our history. If it is appropriate for our motto to be inscribed in the halls of our highest level of Government, then it is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools.

God is in our pledge, our National Anthem, nearly every patriotic song, and in our founding documents. We honor His birth,
death, and resurrection as holidays, and we turn to Him in prayer in times of crisis. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture and we are proud to have Him.

We are proud of our heritage and those who have so honorably defended our freedoms. We celebrate Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Flag Day. We have parades, picnics, and barbecues where we proudly wave our flag.

As an American, I have the right wave my flag, sing my national anthem, quote my national motto, and recite my pledge whenever and wherever I choose. If the Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.

The American culture is our way of life, our heritage, and we are proud of it. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. Like it or not, this is our country, our land, and our
lifestyle.

Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion about our government, culture, or society, and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other great American freedom:

THE RIGHT TO LEAVE!

Another thing: To those who do complain about the usage of words like 'God' and 'American' and speaking the language of
our great nation, TRY GOING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY AND SPEAK AGAINST WHAT YOU DON'T LIKE. YOU WILL MORE THAN LIKELY END UP JAILED OR EVEN KILLED.

In America, you take your right to complain for granted. The more patriotism that is removed from where our children are taught, the less our children will learn about what it is to be an American and our nation's spirit will slowly be killed. Keep patriotism alive.

If you agree, pass this on to other Americans!! It is time to take a stand!!

God Bless America, our Military and our Veterans!!![/b]
This is how I replied:

Quote:
Dear Family and Friends:

I realize that the e-mail to which I am replying was sent out almost a month ago. However, I received it at an account (jasmine@ametro.net) I almost never use, very rarely check, and which will be disabled in a month or so. As such, I did not actually see it until tonight (Wednesday, November 06, 2002.) Usually, when I receive such godspam, I simply ignore it and promptly delete it, although probably ten times out of ten, I disagree with it. This one, however, I cannot ignore. It goes over the line, way over the line. It is the most biggoted, small-minded, supremacist piece of trash I have ever had the displeasure of reading.

The godspam is entitled: “We Are Americans!!!” and it starts out,

~~~~~~
“I think everyone on this planet needs to read this. This was sent by a 78-year old former nun. The thoughts are pure and we all understand the point....”
~~~~~~

This little gem starts out with a blatant lie, as it was not written by a nun, but by Air Force veteran Barry Loudermilk. Last time I checked, he wasn't a nun. But the "nun" angle sure sells better than "Barry Loudermilk," doesn't it? See the real origination of this document at http://www.snopes.com/rumors/american.htm. Additionally, I find the thoughts in the text to be anything but pure.

~~~~~~
“There are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some native Americans, need to understand.

First of all, it is not our responsibility to continually try not to offend you in any way.”
~~~~~~

No, it's not your responsibility. But it is good manners. Ironically, the letter goes on with a tedious list of perceived offenses against Loudermilk's beliefs.

~~~~~~
“This idea of America being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language, and our own lifestyle. This culture, called the "American Way" has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.”
~~~~~~

The "American Way" is not something that is unique to the U.S. - it was imported from quite a number of countries (St. Patrick's Day, for example, was imported from Ireland with the "filthy Irish Catholic" that brought it).

~~~~~~
“Our forefathers fought, bled, and died at places such as Bunker Hill, Antietam, San Juan, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Korea, Vietnam.....”
~~~~~~

Agreed. And, I might add, those very same forefathers also pledged to “one nation, indivisible,” not “one nation, under God.” Do you consider them any less patriotic?

~~~~~~
“We speak English, not Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to
become part of our society - "learn our language!" “
~~~~~~

Indeed we do speak English, but we also speak German, Russian, Arabic, French (ever hear of Cajuns?), etc. English was not the language of this continent to begin with, so maybe only those who can speak Creek, Lakota, Kansa, etc, are the only “true Americans.”

~~~~~~
“In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some off-the-wall, Christian, Right Wing, political slogan - it is our national
motto. It is engraved in stone in the House of Representatives in our Capitol and it is printed on our currency.”
~~~~~~

...And has been only since 1954, less than 60 years. Also, it is not the one the "Christian" forefathers gave us. For 174 years before that, it was "E Pluribus Unum". In fact, it was E Pluribus Unum ("Of Many, One") for most of the conflicts cited. E Pluribus Unum was suggested by Jefferson and adopted by Adams, Franklin, and the other founders as the national motto in 1782. But that sounded too multicultural, didn't it? Nevertheless, it also still appears on money, not far from the “In God We Trust.”

~~~~~~
“We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation and this is clearly documented throughout our history. If it is appropriate for our motto to be inscribed in the halls of our highest level of Government, then it is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools.”
~~~~~~

This is not true. Many of the founders of our country were Christian, but many, such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine were not.
As to our country being founded on Christian principles, I would appreciate it if you could tell me where in the New Testament there are any discussions of representative government, separation of powers, the principle of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, a free press, the right of the people to peaceably assemble, the right to bear arms, protection of private property, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, or trial by jury. Didn't find them? That's because they are not Christian principles. If they were, why would the United States have had to declare independence from a country with an aready-established Christian church? If those are Christian principles, why were they not articulated during the 1400 years Europe was completely Christian?
This country was founded on principles of the Enlightenment. This was a political philosophy that was articulated during the 18th Century. And the resulting rights that you and I enjoy in this country are codified in the Constitution, not the Bible. There are also far better sources for historical accuracy one could consult instead of church pulpits, televangelists, and spam.

~~~~~~
“God is in our pledge,”
~~~~~~

Only since 1954. And then it was inserted out of fear of godless Communism, not to glorify god. I've even heard it referred to as the McCarthy Pledge. The Supreme Court has also ruled that the Pledge god is a representation called "ceremonial deism," that is to say that it has practically lost its meaning:
"I would suggest that such practices as the designation of "In God We Trust" as our national motto, or the references to God contained in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag can best be understood, in Dean Rostow's apt phrase, as a form a "ceremonial deism," protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content." [J. Brennan, Supreme Court dissent (Donnelly v. Lynch, 1984)]
Lost through rote repetition any significant religious content?! Ouch! What a cheap "victory" for the "Christians only" crowd. Do you think Jehovah is a ceremonial deity? What do you think Jehovah would say about being reduced to religious insignificance due to rote repetition? Isn't there a commandment somewhere about the vain use of his name, particularly an exhaustive use? You take it to mean Jehovah, and that's fine with me. But this and other rulings point to a ceremonial deism based on context and ubiquity. That is to say, the Supreme Court is far from upholding a "Christian nation" doctrine, but that's not how religious folk artfully employ these rulings. This version of god only survives First Amendment challenges (so far) BECAUSE OF its ceremony, ubiquity, and context, and for NO OTHER reason. Therefore, these ceremonial representations can not be construed as supporting the "Christian nation" notion, as many religious figures continue to assert.


~~~~~~
“our National Anthem, nearly every patriotic song, and in our founding documents.”
~~~~~~

Not in the Constitution, which is the only "founding document" upon which our laws and government are based.

~~~~~~
“We honor His birth,
death, and resurrection as holidays, and we turn to Him in prayer in times of crisis.”
~~~~~~

Some do, some don't, some vary. Loudermilk can only speak for himself.

~~~~~~
“If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture and we are proud to have Him.”
~~~~~~

On the contrary, I suggest those who are trying to force god into the good citizens of this free country to move to a part of the world, such as Iran, where a theocracy is already installed.

~~~~~~
“We are proud of our heritage and those who have so honorably defended our freedoms. We celebrate Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Flag Day. We have parades, picnics, and barbecues where we proudly wave our flag.”
~~~~~~

Me too! Many of “those who have so honorably defended our freedoms” were/are atheists, agnostics, and other non-Christians. Many are also not Americans: they come from other countries and serve in our military. I’m proud of them all, not just the Christians. What about you?

~~~~~~
“As an American, I have the right wave my flag, sing my national anthem, quote my national motto, and recite my pledge whenever and wherever I choose.”
~~~~~~

No one is disputing that. Has anyone ever told you personally that you couldn't wave your flag, sing the national anthem, quote the national motto, or say the Pledge of Allegiance?
However, neither you nor the government can force anyone to say he or she believes in any god, doctrine, or creed. That's what "freedom" means:
"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein." [Robert H. Jackson, Supreme Court opinion (West Virginia State Board of Education v Barnette, 1943)]

~~~~~~
“If the Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.”
~~~~~~

Where did this come from? Who's offended by the Stars and Stripes? To what imagined problem is this referring? Apparently he has a problem with people who do not share his version of Christian religion. Now, he has suddenly switched gears to a patriotic issue. You think the two are synonymous? Well, I've got bad news for you - the Constitution guarantees Americans freedom of religion, so any American citizen who is a Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, pagan, agnostic, atheist, Humanist, or any other religion or lack of a religion has as much right to live here as you do. Good thing, too. If Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and others hadn't felt welcome here, our country would be in pretty bad shape. The Constitution also says the government may not establish a religion. That means it cannot favor one religion over another, or give preferential treatment to any religion. If Loudermilk doesn't like the Constitution of the United States, I suggest he leaves.

~~~~~~
“The American culture is our way of life, our heritage, and we are proud of it. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. Like it or not, this is our country, our land, and our
lifestyle.”
~~~~~~

Rigid conformity is quite desirable, isn’t it? It sounds like an element of one of those horrible countries to which Loudermilk suggests I move in a few paragraphs.

~~~~~~
“Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion about our government, culture, or society, and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other great American freedom:

THE RIGHT TO LEAVE!”
~~~~~~

I DO have a BIG problem with the current national motto and two words of the current pledge. I firmly believe both violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. So, who here wants me to leave this country? Hey mom, I know you're pretty upset already about me moving to Florida. How would you like it if I moved out of the country, taking Loudermilk's advice, since I don't agree with every single current law of the U.S.? Ironicly, I would bet he doesn't agree with every single law either, such as evolution being taught in public schools or legalized abortion, and yet he stays. hmmm....

~~~~~~
“Another thing: To those who do complain about the usage of words like 'God' and 'American' and speaking the language of
our great nation, TRY GOING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY AND SPEAK AGAINST WHAT YOU DON'T LIKE. YOU WILL MORE THAN LIKELY END UP JAILED OR EVEN KILLED.”
~~~~~~

More than likely? Oh, now, this is really a naive and insulting way to view the entire rest of the world. I guess you believe that if I go to Switzerland, Iceland, Australia, Holland, or England, I’d be jailed for "speaking against what I don't like".
There ARE other countries that limit/forbid speech and have peculiar "insult laws," but the overly broad statement above is ripe for ridicule. And why is "speaking the language of our great nation" woven into this passage? If I go to another country and don't speak their language, do I risk jail or death?

~~~~~~
“In America, you take your right to complain for granted. The more patriotism that is removed from where our children are taught, the less our children will learn about what it is to be an American and our nation's spirit will slowly be killed. Keep patriotism alive.”
~~~~~~

This pessimistic letter gives no particulars on what type of patriotism is continually being removed, so I can not rightly address this point. But the tone of the letter is more than about mere patriotism. It's about a form of Judeo-Christian nationalism that I find as repulsive as anything that could be imported to our shores.
So what does Loudermilk want? I suspect he would like to claim America for all Christians before the ever-growing "other" religions carve up the religious and political landscape. Loudermilk is saying that if you're not a Christian, you're invited to leave. Patriotism is secondary to this issue. But Thomas Jefferson, in his 1799 letter to Eldrige Gerry, said, "I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another." It seems to me that this would also include Christianity, unless only some of the founders' words matter, and not others.
Jefferson also wrote, "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." He understood that ideas count and that all are welcome so long as they are not detrimental to Constitutional principles. Loudermilk's version of Christianity, on the other hand, says "none need apply."

~~~~~~
“If you agree, pass this on to other Americans!! It is time to take a stand!!”
~~~~~~

Clearly, I don't agree. But it may surprise you that I passed it on anyway and made it available for open, free discussion. In fact, arguments I have presented here are courtesy of others.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~

Well, I hope I didn’t make too many people too mad at me. But if I did, I was extremely offended at the original document as well. I’m open to any discussion of my views on this or any of my other views. If you want to know, all you have to do is ask. I kindly request that I not be sent any more religiously-themed spam. I never agree with it and it only serves to either make me laugh, distraught, or livid (as I was in this case). At any rate, I’m sure none of those responses is what the authors had in mind.

Love,

Crystal[/b]
Don't think I'm that smart--I had a lot of help! lol That's how I replied years ago back when I was a pissed off, angry atheist. I think nowadays, a simple "I would think that Jesus is more loving than that" is how I would approach it.

What do you do when you get these kinds of e-mail?
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a huge thank-you to Mom2*Lauryn*Jacob* for my gorgeous siggy!
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  #2  
August 3rd, 2006, 10:23 AM
Number_3's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Western PA
Posts: 1,122
ahhh...I sing praises to the power of [DELETE]

that is a seriously biggoted e-spam! I've gotten lots of similar since Dubya has been inspiring so many. It's amazing how the Whisper Campaign worked....twice! Makes me wanna vomit.

I liked your response letter though. 'bout sums it up nicely from my perspective.

ETA: I just had an idea on this. While I still think it's often in my best interests to just delete the darn things...sometimes they come forwarded from a friend or family member that should just know me better. I need to develop a canned reply email for these people, only with a tone that is not as strong as theirs usually is. A well thought out, yet subtle touche to send back at 'em.

Is there anything already out there like this on the secular web?
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  #3  
August 3rd, 2006, 12:41 PM
mrobinson
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I loved your response! **wheew**
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  #4  
August 3rd, 2006, 11:59 PM
ManInTheMoon's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Bravo! Now, did anyone actually respond? I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that most didn't even read it. Too much thinking.

I usually don't even open them up. But every once in a while something gets sent that just twists my cord and I'm not very good at keeping my big mouth shut. There's one that basically says if we all spanked our kids and prayed in school, 9/11 never would have happened. I let it go twice, but when I got it for a third time, I had to say something.
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  #5  
August 4th, 2006, 09:46 AM
mrobinson
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Quote:
There's one that basically says if we all spanked our kids and prayed in school, 9/11 never would have happened. I let it go twice, but when I got it for a third time, I had to say something.[/b]
That just burns my butt..

There is one that because God is taken out of school, that's why God let the hurricanes, Sept 11, etc. The point of it is to say we told God to go away so he did and look what happened..

These types of things just drive me crazy.
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  #6  
August 4th, 2006, 06:05 PM
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delete key!
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