Truth Checkers

The first to plead his case seems right,
Until another comes and examines him.
-Proverbs 18:17-

Opened my inbox this morning and read another forwarded message from a friend. I had read this one before. It was about Rick Mathes' (Executive Director of the Mission Gate Prison Ministry) interaction with an Islamic Imam in a prison in Missouri. I remember reading it before and even forwarded it to others myself. Today I decided to check it out on a website dedicated to debunking internet urban legends. Here is what said about this story:

Reporter Greg Kearney, writing for the Lee News Service, traced the story to a correctional facility in Fulton, Missouri, and came away with a decidedly different version of events from Missouri state officials.

According to Tim Kniest, Public Information Officer for the Missouri Department of Corrections, the event described was a training program for prison volunteers, for which ministers from several faiths were invited to give presentations in order to acquaint prison volunteers with the varied religious beliefs of the inmate population. The man who gave the presentation about Islam was not a Muslim minister; he was an inmate pressed into service to present a short film on Islam and answer some questions when the prison's Volunteer Coordinator was "unable to find an Imam to speak."

Here is what said:

We contacted Rick Mathes, founder of Mission Gate Prison Ministries in Chesterfield, Missouri, and he stands by his story. There have been some published reports from critics of Mathes' article who say the confrontation did not take place the way he describes and that the Moslem who spoke at the conference was not an Imam, but a prisoner who volunteered to speak as a Moslem. Rick Mathes says that the man was introduced at the meeting as an Imam and that the story happened as he describes it.

My point in this post is not to argue the merits of this instance but to point out how we all are.. make that I am.. ready to embrace a story because I agree with it's message and don't always bother to check it out. I think that it is wise to check out stories emailed to us. If you want to check emailed stories out I recommend to you two sites: and

1 comment:

  1. That Proverb is a wakeup call for all you people forwarding 'weighted' stories in an attempt to defend God (who needs no defense), or to emotionally charge people to dig deeper into their encampment of dogma.

    I too use Snopes on a regular basis. Every public declaration that is meant to place a world view on trial deserves, at the very least, a fair trial.


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