The other day someone remarked that a member of his church group said that he had heard that democratic presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama, if elected, will purportedly refuse to take his oath of office using a Bible and will instead substitute the Koran. The gossip dispatcher qualified his alarming allegation by saying that he did not know if it were true. Aside from the obvious — that this is one of the many hoaxes believed by the same group of people who fear that the late atheist crusader Madalyn Murray O’Hair is alive and well and presently in cahoots with the Federal Communications Commission — there is another problem with name dropping in this context.
True or not, once a supercharged tidbit of gossip drops, its negativity sticks. Simply stating that one cannot verify whether something is true is a sorry excuse for spreading malicious rumors. At no time in history, after all, has it been so easy to check via the Internet whether the things we read or hear have any basis in fact. Yet we all know the type: those who would rather become conduits of damnable lies than spend two minutes fact checking on About.com’s Urban Legends page. Continue reading “Barack Obama and The Boy Who Cried Wolf”