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Have you had well intentioned friends send you an email about a coming movie depicting Jesus and his disciples as homosexuals? Have you passed it on to others before REALLY checking it out?
If you passed it on to others without checking it out first, did you ask your friend (who emailed it to you) if he or she REALLY checked it out??
The following email is currently doing the world rounds:
Referendum concerning blasphemy of Jesus I can’t believe it.
There is a movie that is coming out in 2001 claiming that both Jesus and his disciples were gay! There is already a play that went on for a while! Maybe we can all do something! Please send this to ALL of your friends to sign to stop the movie from coming out. Already certain areas in Europe have started to ban it from coming to their country and we can stop it too!
We just need a lot of signatures and you can help!
Please do not delete this! Please help!
PLEASE SIGN AND SEND TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW! PLEASE. IF WE WORK TOGETHER WE CAN BAN THIS! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At the end of the actual message comes a list of names with the suggestion that, once 250 appear on the list, it should be emailed to a South African email address.
A number of clear indicators question the validity of this email chain letter.
1. It states at the beginning of the message that it a ’Referendum concerning blasphemy of Jesus’ - this is NOT a referendum. The person who put the email together apparently does not know the difference between a referendum and a petition - and this is not even a proper petition - it is nothing but a time and energy wasting chain letter.
2. The claim that ’there is a movie that is coming out in 2001’ is a vague generalisation. The email gives no details of the name (or intended name) of the movie, the names of those producing it, the actual proposed date in 2001, the country or place where it is being produced (is it supposedly South Africa, given the email should be returned to that country with a long list of names?), or any other specific identifiable details.
3. Likewise, the claim that ’There is already a play that went on for a while!’ is equally vague. If it is known that a drama performance is actually taking place, then it must be known WHERE it is taking place; HOW LONG the show has been running; the NAME of the actual play; DETAILS of PERFORMERS, and a whole lot more. There would be media review - and a play of this nature would attract numerous letters to the editor in the papers of whatever city the play was being performed. Again there is nothing!
4. The purpose of this email chain letter is to enable people to do something ’to stop the movie from coming out’ but it doesn’t state WHERE or FROM WHERE the film is supposed to be stopped. Nor does the email explain HOW lists of attached names are going to be used to prevent the production or screening of such a film.
5. The claim that ’Already certain areas in Europe have started to ban it from coming to their country’, like everything else in this email, is so vague that it is meaningless. If it is known that ’certain areas’ have started to ban ’it’ from ’their country’ [countries] then it should also be known exactly which areas of which countries are banning what film. But NO movie or places are actually named.
6. Contacting the South African email address listed at the end of the list of names for further information or details has resulted in NO RESULT - no response - blank - nothing! It should also be noted that there are already several different lists - some closer to the requested 250 names than others. Of the differing versions we have seen at CCG Ministries, there appears to be a divergence after the 152 nd name on the list - with at least two completely different collections of names from that point on. Again, the statement that ’We just need a lot of signatures and you can help!’ is not explained. There is no indication WHY a lot of names (not signatures!) are needed, nor HOW such names will be of help. Who will receive all these names ultimately? Will they be sent to politicians? If so, in which country?
The end of the opening sentence to this email chain letter states: ’I can’t believe it’ - it is the one part of the whole email chain letter we DO agree with - we can’t believe it either!
On the nature of the claims and their imprecise vagueness we suspect it is the resurrection of an old hoax started in 1977, which resurfaced in the mid-1980s and again in the mid-1990s.
This hoax urged Christians to take urgent action and oppose a forthcoming film on the sex life of Jesus, and portraying him as a homosexual. It was claimed that the role of Mary Magdalene in the film would be played by a notorious (but unnamed) French prostitute. Over two decades during which that hoax circulated Christians from around the world responded by the thousands - a standard form of protest was actually sent off the Attorney General of the USA State of Illinois (as suggested on the chain letter/circular at the time(s). The Attorney General’s Office was inundated with useless protests for something that was untrue - but all too readily believed by Christians in the USA and numerous other countries.
At least with the current email chain letter it is all so vague and general - with no one actually being on the receiving end (other than the email address in South Africa).
(From TACL Vol 21 #3 June/July 2000)