Let’s Use Our Brains

A few days ago, I received an email from a pastor. The subject of the email was “President’s Obama’s Dhimmitude”. (Dhimmitude refers to unfair laws against non-Muslims in Muslim countries.) He claimed that the Obama’s health care law is a Dhimmitude, designed to give an unfair advantage to Muslims in the U.S. He insisted that unless this law is repealed, the U.S. will become a Muslim country. Then he quoted a long article that had a lot of exclamation marks.

Naturally, I was alarmed and decided to investigate. But what he wrote is far from the truth.

Under the new health care laws, everyone in the U.S. is required to buy health insurance. There is one exception: people who are prohibited from buying insurance for religious reasons will not be forced to buy it. The email claimed that this exception clause was inserted to help Muslims, who cannot buy health insurance on religious grounds. It argued that many people will convert to Islam to take advantage of this clause.

But upon investigation, I found that it’s not true that Muslims are prohibited from buying insurance. Furthermore, the exclusion rule was added to protect Christian groups such as the Amish or Quakers, who are also exempt from Social Security tax and refuse to receive governmental benefits such as Medicare or Medicaid for religious reasons.

All demagogy is bad but demagogy in Christian guise is worse because it breaks the third of the Ten Commandments: “Do not swear falsely by the name of the LORD…” and the ninth: “Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

We live in an information age. A single post can instantly reach tens of thousands of people through the internet or Twitter. Such speedy distribution of information tends to make people react without thinking.

For example, despite a lengthy investigation by an international team, only 30% of South Koreans believe that the Chon-an ship was sunk by North Koreans. Most people doubt the report because of various rumors, none of which can be substantiated by scientific or circumstantial evidence.

A few years ago, South Korea was swept by fear of Mad Cow Disease although there was little basis for it. The fear was fed by anti-American activists who spread rumors that the U.S. government was pressuring the Korean government to import disease-infested beef.

Let’s use our brains. When we hear negative rumors, take a deep breath and postpone judgment until we find out whether the rumors are true. Otherwise, we will be used by evil people for their evil purposes.

The same goes for personal relationships. When we hear negative news about someone, let’s take a deep breath and hold off on judgment until we talk to the person directly and find out the truth.

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