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Don’t You Believe it: Xmas Tree Hoax


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DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT!

Half-truths do not equal the whole truth.

For many years this Ministry has been warning people, and especially Christians, against forwarding emails received from others who have forwarded emails received from others who have forwarded emails from other... UNLESS they are prepared to first check the accuracy of what they are considering passing on to everyone on their email address book. Our warnings are largely ignored - and are certainly NOT passed on to “everyone on your email address book”! More’s the pity, as they say! If more Christians thought more before passing on emails that they did not originate, we would have less mass circulation of half-truths, falsehoods, manufactured stories, deliberate deceptions, untrue urban legends, and more.

Before passing on email stories passed on to you, PLEASE stop and think! Check out the authenticity of the claims. Look for supportive information and evidence that can be checked and verified. Even then, be cautious before passing on mass circulating emails.

Are they worth passing on? Is it helpful to pass them on? Will it enhance your reputation for being careful, trustworthy and reliable?

Christians, of all people, should be characterised by the qualities and conduct of the Lord. Jesus used a constant refrain: “I tell you the truth” - if you are regularly passing on circulating emails the chances are that you are NOT telling the truth!

There are times, if you are passing on circulating emails, that, at best, you are passing on half-truths, but NOT the whole truth.

An example of this was the following message circulated by MANY Christians just before Christmas December 2010 (we’re giving two variant circulating introductions; we also ask questions which no one else, apparently, thinks of asking, and make some comments in a different font inside square brackets):

This applies equally to Australia. [does it really? How? Why?]

Subject: Ben Stein - This is really worth reading - gives one “food for thought” ! 1.12

Bearing in mind that for the first time ever - the Christmas tree in the White House will be called a “Holiday Tree” this year !! [WHICH year??] This is really worth reading - gives one “food for thought”!

I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late ! !

--------------------------------------------------------

Reality
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas
Bearing in mind that for the first time ever - the Christmas tree in the White House will be called a “Holiday Tree” this year [WHICH year??] - makes one want to cry !! This is really worth reading - gives one “food for thought” !

 

I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late ! !
---------------------------------------------------------The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morn-ing Commentary. [WHICH Sun-day morning? month? year??]
My confession: [actual words: “Next Confession” - previous paragraphs and context have been omitted]

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities [actual words: “Nick and Jessica” not “celebrities”] and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities [actual words: “Nick and Jessica” not “celebrities”] came from and where the America we knew went to.

[that concludes Ben Stein’s comments and actual wording - what follows has been added by unknown persons, for unknown reasons]

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?” [these comments misquote and misrepresent the timing and context, as well as the actual words expressed by both Jane Clayson and Anne Graham Lotz - the comments that follow are, again, from the unknown person(s), made for unknown reasons]

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.”

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send “jokes” through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. [subtle manipulation common to many circular “chain” emails]

My Best Regards, Honestly and respect-fully, Ben Stein [these are not Ben Stein’s closing words]

Many people who received the preceding email (and with good intentions, but in ignorance, forwarded it on to others) assumed that it was of recent (December 2010) origin. The time origins of this circular “chain” email are a “mixed bag” of bits and pieces, truths, half-truths, lies and misrepresentations - all of them from well before December 2010 (remember it for next year, folks!).

The email’s introduction stated: Bearing in mind that for the first time ever - the Christmas tree in the White House will be called a “Holiday Tree” this year - makes one want to cry !!

This statement is blatantly untrue! In other word, it is a lie!

It’s a lie that began to circulate in July 2009 and seems to have more to do with some white conservative Christians’ dislike, if not hatred, for President Barack Hussein Obama, rather than any official White House press release or documentation about “renaming” the White House “Blue Room” indoors Christmas Tree. (see further information at: http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/barackobama/a/white_house_christmas_ornaments.htm; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Christmas_tree)

Benjamin J. Stein is a conservative American Jewish writer and commentator, with experience in law, the movie industry and more. Some love him, some loathe him. He has a tendency to be controversial.

On December 18, 2005, he was interviewed by Charles Osgood on the CBS Sunday Morning news programme. In the news, at the time, were a young couple, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. They had been part of a “reality” TV sitcom: Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. The MTV show went from August 2003 to March 2005. The couple were married in October, 2002, and filed for divorce in December, 2005 (when Stein made his comments). The couple’s divorce was finalised in June 2006.

This is the context in which Stein was interviewed and about which he commented on December 18, 2005. The next day, December 19, 2005 he posted the text of his comments on his blog site: http://www.benstein.com/121805xmas.html - much of what he wrote became part of the circular chain email, incorrectly attributed to him.

His “missing” opening comments were:

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:

I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don’t know who Lindsay Lohan is, either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise’s wife.

Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young. It’s not so bad.

Next confession: I am a Jew...
(see also: http://www.benstein.com/121805xmas.html; http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/confessions.asp)

In the anonymous add-on part this circular “chain” email also stated: Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this...”

Firstly, Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne, is married to dental doctor, Daniel Lotz, and uses her full name: Anne Graham Lotz. Secondly, she was interviewed on the CBS Early Show, on Thursday September 13th, 2001 - two days after the September 11th, 2001, Muslim terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre buildings (and elsewhere). Jane Clayson’s question was not quite what the email quoted, and it had absolutely NOTHING to do with Hurricane Katrina (which occurred in August 2005!).

Not only was Interviewer, Jane Clayson, misquoted, but so was Anne Graham Lotz. (see archived CBS interview transcript at:http://web.archive.org/web/20010913185312/ http://www.cbsnews.com/earlyshow/healthwatch/healthnews/20010913terror_spiritual.shtml)

It simplistically, and grossly, overstated the influence of politically controversial American paediatrician, Dr. Benjamin McLane Spock (1903 – 1998), and also made reference to the lie of his son having suicided. Both of Spock’s sons, Michael and John, are still alive. Sadly, Spock’s grandson, Peter, after suffering for years from schizophrenia, DID commit suicide on Christmas Day, 1983. (see: http://www.snopes.com/medical/doctor/drspock.asp; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Spock)

This pre-Christmas 2010 circular chain email, passed on and circulated by Christians around the world, was dangerous. It mixed information from events and times that combined dated content from 2001, 2005, to rumours and errors from 2002, 2009 and 2010. It mixed truth with half-truths and blatant lies; actual quotes with misquotes, misrepresentation and speculation. Sadly this erroneous mixture is what a great number of Christians (American conservative Christians, particularly) seem to want to believe, and are all too eager to spread around the world with the instant help of the Internet.

(TACL Jan-Feb 2011 Vol. 32 No.1)