So apparently the ol’ “OMG-teh-ACLU-stole-Christmas!!!!!!!1!!!!ONE!!!!!!1!!!” hoax is making the rounds again.
If you’re not familiar with it, the upshot is this: In 2005, someone sent out an e-mail message saying that because the American Civil Liberties Union was “working so very hard to get rid of the CHRISTMAS part of this holiday,” good Christians should flood the organization’s headquarters with Christmas cards in an effort to “freeze their (sic) operations” by clogging up its mail system. The e-mail urges people to trick ACLU employees into opening these cards by writing “contribution enclosed” on the outside of the envelopes — then “inside(,) contribute a bible (sic) verse!!”
Every time this lands in my inbox, I have to wonder: Why would any self-professed Christian endorse such Machiavellian behavior?
A quick Snopes.com search reveals that this e-mail contains claims about the ACLU that are demonstrably false — so if we forward it, we are bearing false witness against our neighbor, in direct violation of the Ninth Commandment.
The sixth chapter of Leviticus states, in part: “If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and lie unto his neighbour … or hath deceived his neighbour … he hath sinned, and is guilty….” If deception is a “trespass against the Lord,” can we safely assume that Jesus would not advocate writing “contribution enclosed” on an envelope that contains no money?
Finally, Exodus 20:7 instructs: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” While this may not be exactly the same thing as shouting, “JESUS H. CHRIST!” in a moment of frustration, it seems to me that if I send someone a Bible verse out of animosity rather than love, I am certainly violating the spirit — if not the letter — of the Third Commandment.
If we are sincere in our faith, we will follow the leadings of the Christ, and not the malicious urgings of an anonymous author whose words have about as much credibility as the Neiman-Marcus Cookie hoax.