I have a friend nicknamed "Freenie" who sends me the e-mails that she gets from several of her more conservative friends. Most of these are rants, rumors, urban legends, or half-truths that deal with current events, politics, and scare mongering. Occasionally there is one of two that are mostly true, but not often.
Her reason for sending me this stuff is to alert me to what's out there and for me to do a little fact checking for her. I usually use the Urban Legends Reference page, aka Snopes.com, which catches about 90% of these things.
Of course, this being a presidential year, there are many e-mails dealing with politics, particulary the candidacy of Barack Obama. His presumptive nomination seems to have hit a nerve with many on the lunatic fringe. You've probably seen them. Obama is a Muslim, an athetist (sometimes in the same e-mail!). He is secretly plotting to hand us over to the terrorists. He is a black racist. He hates America and won't salute the flag. He took his oath of office on the Koran. None of these are true, but trying to refute them seems to be the equivalent of trying to rid your house of a particulary nasty infestation of cockroaches.
Here's one e-mail report that probably won't be making the rounds, but it should. Obama has been doing a tour of the Middle East and Europe that has been rather successful, IMHO. While he visited Israel, he visited the Western Wall, the holiest site for Jewish believers worldwide. He left a prayer there that, without his knowledge or consent, was removed and published by an Israeli newspaper. (This violation of Barack Obama's privacy has outraged many in the rabbinic community, but that is another story.
His prayer shows a lot about the man who is villified by many who use the ease and relative anominity of the internet to spread their hate. It is as follows:
"Lord — Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will."This prayer is very much in the spirit of the man who wrote The Audacity of Hope: spiritual, humble, a seeker after God's will. Those who try to impugn his character need to ask forgiveness of the God who Barack Obama serves.
Israeli paper publishes Obama's private prayer