Welcome to the Caylor Evangelistic Association

In Loving Remembrance of John & Mildred Caylor

From The Gadsden Times

E-mails contain several tall tales

Anyone who uses email has one-that well-meaning friend who sends those well-meaning emails that warn us of all sorts of impending doom. In the past month, one such friend has warned me that Google (a widespread search engine) can provide addresses and maps to a person’s house simply by typing in a phone number. (It’s true.) I’ve also been informed that I should not buy Starbucks products because the company won’t send free coffee to our troops in Iraq. (It’s absolutely false.)

By far the most popular internet hoaxes/legends, however, deal with the removal of God from American life. (See previous column on Madelein O’Hair.) Recently, my well-meaning friend sent me the following:

**This is by a daughter of a murdered couple in Raytown who had a Bible and book store on 63rd Street.

When I had to testify at the murder trial of my parents a week ago, I was asked to raise my right hand. The bailiff started out “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

I stood there and waited but she said nothing. She said “Do you?” I was so stunned I blurted out “What happened to “so help me God’?” She came back with “Do you?” I replied yes, but I was perplexed.

The e-mail writer goes on to say that the judge allowed her to say, “So help me God,” and that the same thing happened to her son and daughter. She says that “taking God out of the courtroom” is going to result in more criminals.

The email also quotes a CNBS poll (saying that this is the highest number of responses ever recorded) that overwhelmingly shows that Americans support keeping “So help me God” in court proceedings.

I was asked to send this on if I agreed or delete if I didn’t. Now it is your turn ... It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a mess about having “In God We Trust” on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why don’t we just tell the 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!
If you agree, pass this on, if not simply delete. **

This has all the markings of an urban legend. It combines very specific details with very vague details (the writer or judge is not named). Interestingly the percentage who wish to keep the words “so help me God” (86%) is exactly the same as the number of Americans who believe in God (86%). Maybe the implication is that, of course, anyone who believes in God would also want to keep these words in our legal system.

This legend/internet warning has one huge believable element. It is based on a very real murder case! John and Mildred Caylor were murdered in their Christian bookstore in Raytown, Mo., on Oct. 20, 2004. The website www.caylors.com is in their memory and documents the murders, arrests, and convictions. On Nov. 4, 2004, a man was arrested for the murders, based on DNA evidence.

Thus, a very real murder case, whereby two Christian bookstore owners were murdered, becomes the platform for an urban legend of taking God out of the U.S. courtrooms. A couple of points make this undisputedly an urban legend. The Caylors did not have a daughter! Photos on the memorial website show three sons, but no daughter. Also, at the time that the legend began making its rounds, the case had not come to trial.

Obviously, the message of this urban legend is that God is being removed from all sorts of American institutions, and it is time to stand up and fight. The problem is that the incident being question never happened.

The most remarkable aspect of this particular email, however, is how it illustrates how quickly and geometrically an internet legend can spread. The message that I got can be traced back three days. In that time, it had been rebroadcast four times and listed 64 people to whom it had been sent.

Since the “action” that is suggested is to send this to all of our internet friends, we can assume that, at least, some of those friends send it to friends who sent it to friends who sent it to friends. It is not unreasonable to assume that the message that I received had reached several thousand people in three days. In several month’s time, the message could conceivable reach hundreds of thousands of people.

News Articles Photos Special Thanks Inspirational Discussion Forum Links Page

Contact the Caylor Evangelistic Association

Copyrighted by Caylor Evangelistic Association 2004 - 2008