Rumors and Newsweek

Prov 29:12 If a ruler pays attention to lies, All his servants become wicked.

 Prov 6:19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

 Prov 10:18 Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool.

 I have been following the stories surrounding Newsweek’s reporting of abusive handling of the Koran. The Newsweek story of the abuse even made the Zambian papers, playing to the powerful Muslim constituency in this country. Rumor and slander have always been played as powerful cards in the give and take of power struggles. There is a difference in how rumor and slander play out in a Third World country. In a first world country rumor and slander are planted into the hearts and minds of people, but seldom leads to specific action, usually because they are not provable. Not so in a Third World country as seen by the riots surrounding the Newsweek story. Let me share a Mazabuka story of rumor and slander.

 In most towns here in Zambia a new church supplies the community with a standard collection of Satanist stories. Immorality stories follow in quick succession. The stories of immorality in our church took the form of a radio broadcast in which a local broadcaster talked of immorality in our church and even named names and their church identity. The names reached beyond our church into the community. I was alerted to this by the manager of the station who wanted to talk with me. We have supported the station with advertising, music and special shows. Apparently about 100 people including many people from our church had marched on the station demanding justice. We agreed to interview people and see if we could pinpoint the time in which the broadcast was made. Many of my quality men were slandered by the broadcast. So I started talking with everyone who heard the broadcast. Lo and behold I could not find a single person who had actually heard the broadcast. Kelvin came to the same conclusion that this was a rumor that created its own reality.

 Rumor and innuendo always touch a nerve in the human soul. I had a pastor who always said “Everyone loves a good story”. So, a few more scriptures:

 Prov 26:22 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.

 Prov 18:17 The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.

 Prov 20:8 A king who sits on the throne of judgment Scatters all evil with his eyes.  

Prov 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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