Petition Number 2493: Pastor Removal from Television
Circulating via email, new variants of a decades-old petition expressing outrage over the alleged attempt by atheists to force a ban on religious broadcasting in the United States.
Description: Email petition
Circulating since: March 2003 (Dobson version)
Email contributed by Ruthy, Oct. 9, 2007:
SUBJECT: No more Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Eddie Long, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, or Charles Stanley ???
Email contributed by N. Visser, March 17, 2003:
Subject: FW: Christian Response to CBS Please send out to more people if you agree with this message
DR. DOBSON'S PLEA FOR ACTION
CBS will discontinue "Touched by an Angel" for using the word God in every program. Madeline Murray O'Hare, an atheist, successfully managed to eliminate the use of Bible reading from public schools a few years ago. Now her organization has been granted a Federal Hearing on the same subject by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, DC.
Their petition, Number 2493, would ultimately pave the way to stop the reading of the gospel our Lord and Savior, on the airwaves of America. They got 287,000 signatures to back their stand! If this attempt is successful, all Sunday worship services being broadcast on the radio or by television will be stopped. This group is also campaigning to remove all Christmas programs and Christmas carols from public schools!!
You as a Christian can help! We are praying for at least 1 million signatures. This would defeat their effort and show that there are many Christians alive, well and concerned about our country. As Christians we must unite on this. Please don't take this lightly. We ignored this lady once and lost prayer in our school and in offices across the nation.
Please stand up for your religious freedom and let your voice be heard. Together we can make a difference in our country while creating an opportunity for the lost to know the Lord.
Please press "forward", CLEAN UP THE MESSAGE, and forward this to everyone that you thinkshould read this. Now, please sign your name at the bottom (you can only add your name after you have pressed the "Forward"). Don't delete any other names, just go to the next number and type your name and state. Please do not sign jointly, such as Mr. & Mrs. Each person should sign his/her own name.
Please defeat this organization and keep the right of our freedom of religion. When you get to 1000 please email back to:
"Lisa Norman" email@example.com
Comments: False. The unauthorized addition of Dr. James Dobson's name to this pointless, decades-old petition is only the latest of many attempts over the past 30 years to make the document seem legitimate, which it is not.
"Petition 2493," supposedly an effort by atheists to ban all religious broadcasting in the United States, does not exist. Nor, at the time the 2003 variant above was circulating, was the TV show Touched by an Angel in danger of being canceled due to its religious content. Atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair is dead, and has been for many years. There is currently no organized campaign on behalf of atheists or anyone else to remove the word "God," or pastors who use it, from television.
See the links below for all the facts and history of this Christian urban legend.
Sources and further reading:
Focus on the Family magazine
Petition: Madalyn Murray O'Hair vs. Religious Broadcasting
Netlore Archive, 5 May 1999
FCC: Religious Broadcast Rumor Denied
Federal Communications Commission factsheet
Last updated: 10/19/07