Friday, June 30, 2006

I Despise Being Lied To

Two events really ticked me off recently. I was lied to, and I don't like it.

The first of the two occurred last weekend, at my city's Red, White, and Blue Parade. A college-aged guy was walking around handing out fliers, and when he got to me he handed me one and said, "Parade flier". I took one.

It wasn't a "parade flier" at all, unless you interpret that to mean that it's a flier he was handing out at a parade. I figured it was a list of sponsors or participants, maybe some advertisements, or something like that. It was nothing of the sort.

It was a religious tract, and a bad one at that.

It's not my point in this post to argue the religious points in the flier, but rather to argue against the misleading nature of the flier itself and of the person who handed it to me.

While I have no problem with evangelism per se, I would prefer if it were done as Jesus himself did it--go to where the sinners are and make yourself available to them if they want to come to you, not try to lie to or trick them. Doing what this young man did goes against what's in the tract, and one of the things it mentions in the tract is hypocrisy!

The flier points out isolated stats regarding adultery, fornication, rape, pornography, abortion, theft, greed, murder, drunkenness, and hypocrisy--and uses that to make the point "America the beautiful is no longer beautiful. Violence and sin has made her ugly." Is there ever a time when these vices did not exist in our country? Part of the Cadet Prayer at West Point reads as follows, and it would be good for Living Waters Publications to practice it:

Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.

I'm not convinced they even tried to give the whole truth. Why would someone feel compelled to use deceit to bring people to God?

Of course the sins mentioned in the tract are bad, and our country as a whole would be better off if fewer individuals partook of those sins. However, to list some statistics with no context and use those points to state--without proof, of course--that they are evidence that God no longer sheds his grace on this country, is at least deceptive and perhaps worse.

The tract reads, "The United States of America is continually being plagued with killer earthquakes, new incurable diseases that are outwitting antibiotics, killer hurricanes, devastating tornadoes, calamitous floods, terrible droughts, and the return of once 'conquered' diseases such as tuberculosis."

While true, that's no evidence that God has turned his back on this country. These disasters have always been with us, and it's just as reasonable to assert that because so many fewer people die from them today than in the past, that God is heaping more blessings on us now than ever before!

I choose not to speak for God, as I believe that He does in fact work in mysterious ways. Trying to determine God's "frame of mind" by picking and choosing isolated instances seems sacreligious to me, something in which I will not participate.

The people who printed this tract, and those who handed it out, may in fact be well-meaning, but they're hypocrites--for all the reasons I've spelled out above. It is they, by their attempted deceptions, who actually bring scorn down upon the very God they claim to worship. I have nothing but contempt for them.

The second lie told to me happened as I was opening a new certificate of deposit at a bank I've done business with for a couple decades. I mention that last part to emphasize how much data about me that they must have stored somewhere.

I was asked for the usual information, and then I was asked for my drivers license number. Why, I asked? "Because it's required under the Patriot Act." Uh, no it's not. "Well that's the only information I have here."

I don't doubt for a moment that the person on the phone was sincere, truly believing what his computer screen told him about the Patriot Act. However, I knew it to be untrue (note to libs--that doesn't mean he was lying) and asked for a specific section of the Patriot Act that required my drivers license number. Of course he couldn't provide it, so he passed me on to a supervisor.

Apparently the supervisor's computer screen provides more information, as she was able to tell me that Section 326 of the Patriot Act required it. "Would you read that section to me, please?" And she did. Know what was missing in there? Any mention of the words "drivers license"! That section requires anyone opening an account to prove their identity to the bank--but again, I'd been banking with them since 1979! I even gave them the secret code word (mother's maiden name) to establish my bona fides on the phone, and still they wanted my DL number. Here's what I found about, in layman's terms, about Section 326. Definitely no word about drivers license numbers.

I told the supervisor that doing this is wrong. The bank's lying about the requirements of that law--which already has some people on edge anyway--only breeds contempt for that law and for laws in general. If they want the information they should ask for it, but not lie about their reasons for asking for it.

Update, 1:48 pm: A Wells Fargo rep called while I was responding to a comment on this post. Want to know what happened? Go read the comments!


Original Blog-surfer said...

Yeah, lying has got to be the thing that pisses me off the most. Specially when people are trying to present God in that way. Turns people off at the start.
And I am amazed that people are looking at the natural disasters that are happening to America and saying that proves that God has turned away from us. What about the things that happen all over the world? God is turning away from the whole world? Kinda defeates the gosple message doesn't it?

nick d said...

Here's the link to the law:

The act is kinda vague actually (having never read a law before):

`(A) verifying the identity of any person seeking to open an account to the extent reasonable and practicable;

`(B) maintaining records of the information used to verify a person's identity, including name, address, and other identifying information; and

Darren said...

While a drivers license has that information, it's not *specifically* called for. And let's not forget that I've banked there for over 25 years. They lied.

Thanks for the citation. I should have known to look on the Library of Congress site!

Now, what I didn't mention is that I submitted a comment about this situation to Wells Fargo via their web site. The answer I got back was crap, and I told them so. As I was in the process of typing this comment, the phone rang--Wells Fargo!

*This* time they gave what I would consider a fair and reasonable answer: getting a drivers license number is part of Wells Fargo's internal policy designed to conform to Section 326 of the Patriot Act. That's a far cry from saying that the Patriot Act requires them to get my DL number.

While I don't harbor any beliefs that I'll be responsible for changing their corporate policy, I did recommend to the very nice person on the phone that perhaps the bank should trust its employees with a little more information. Rather than say "Just tell them it's because of the Patriot Act", actually state that it's part of a policy designed to ensure compliance with the Act.

The lady on the phone said she liked researching my concerns because the novelty of it made her day go by much quicker!

Silvermine said...

Right, it's like when people demand your SSN for things that have nothing to do with tax purposes. They say it's required -- but identifying you is what's required, not particularly your SSN... which honestly, is none of their business.

EllenK said...

The SSN thing bothers me alot. I had to cosign for an apartment for my son, whose in college and trying to make it on his own. They asked for all of these references any one of which they could contact directly for a credit check. But instead they wanted my SSN. I reluctantly gave it, but I told them that if any papers ended up in public domain, I would come after them legally. What is even stranger in regards to banking, is that when I wanted to open an account for my then 14 year old son, the bank required his SSN, his birth certificate and all kinds of documentation for a simple savings account. Yet, there proudly displayed, was a plaque saying how the same bank would gladly open an account with a Matricula Consulare. A Matricula Consulare is basically a non secure document that states that the bearer has gotten a piece of paper claiming he or she is who they say. There's no confirmation, no way of checking and yet someone from another country can open an account easily, when my son who was born in this country has to go through hoops of fire. The bank also said it was "required". I think it's a bunch of hooey.

rightwingprof said...

Ah yes, the Patriot Act line from banks. Before I moved here, my bank in Indiana insisted that the Patriot Act required that I show ID to deposit money in my account, but for some odd reason, not that I show ID to withdraw money. Here, my bank required that I produce a birth certificate to open an account, and that I show ID to withdraw, but not deposit, funds -- all supposedly required by the Patriot Act.

I decided then that bank employees can't read, and that banks are too cheap to hire laywers to read the Patriot Act to them.

Polski3 said...

I once sold a car for $6k cash. I had to sign a form at my credit union verifying that I did not obtain this cash via dealing drugs or some other illegal means.

IMO, all the MORE reason for a national identification card. One card that can do it all....prove your id, allow you to vote, donate organs, drive a vehicle......

Hope you're having a good summer Darren!

EllenK said...

It's funny that when the whole national ID issue comes up, most of the media automatically says "The conservatives won't go for it". I'm a conservative in most issues and I am an adamant proponent of a national ID card. Sure there are those in the fundamentalist churches who want to see this as "the sign of the Beast" , but I think the TRUE opposition comes from the left, if for no other reason than it would dilute legal voting strength because in places like Miami, South Texas, Arizona and Cali, there are people voting illegally under assumed identities. That makes it fraud on a national scale. I think that is what bothers me in regards to the illegal immigration question as well. If someone uses my SSN illegally, they are committing a crime. And furthermore, if such time came that I needed to draw on Social Security, or if the IRS used those numbers to check tax revenue, then I could be legally liable for what someone else is doing with my SSN. I say lets do a National ID with all sorts of holograms and anti-fraud features and used in for ID's and drivers' licenses. This numbers game is a ridiculous amount of duplication of work.

Darren said...

Why not just issue new SSN cards with holograms and anti-fraud features, if we're going to go that route?

maxutils said...

I didn't comment when you originally posted, but I wish I had ... the bank thing is ludicrous. The logical implication is that if for whatever reason, you did not or could not drive, you also couldn't have a bank account ... which is obviously insane, especially since liberties are frequently taken citing driving as a 'privilege.' As to your flier hander outers, though ... I'd be careful about tossing around the word 'liar.' Find me someone who a)guaranteed, knows the true nature of God, or can b) verify that the Bible represents an accurate depiction of real events and Jesus' words ... religion only works based on faith -- so, while you may believe that you have a good idea of what god represents and wants, so do they. And I don't believe there is one. At least one of the three of us is wrong -- maybe all of us. That doesn't make it a lie ... as to the fliers, my stock answer is always "No thanks, why don't you just throw it away yourself ..."

Darren said...

Max, as often as you misinterpret what I write, I have to ask: do you *read* what I write? Or do you read what your preconceived notions tell you I'm going to write? Or is my writing *so* obtuse that my points are absolutely unclear to you?

The first 4 paragraphs identify what the lie is, and it has nothing to do with God.