I woke-up in the middle of the night and figured I might as well deal with the slew of spam that for some reason, always occurs late on Saturday nights, when most abuse administrators have the day or evening off. SpamAssassin had slain several pitches for viagra, teen sex, breast enlargement and other stuff that really don’t interest me. MailWasher dealt with a bunch more, forwarding them to SpamCop. Still, a few managed to get through … and three of which were from Christians.
Keep in mind, I’m not skwalking about those bogus Nigerian 419 scam-like pleas I mentioned about a week or two ago on blogs4God. Nor am I describing those presumptious spam-evangelists that Rachel Cunliffe recently railed about. No, I’m talking real live, bona-fide, just like the guy sitting in the pew next to you Christians. And that bothers me.
When I complained directly to him about the spam, I got a terse “Sorry, God bless you” brush-off. It wasn’t until I replied with something to the effect “Do you realize how illegal this is? Give me one reason I shouldn’t report this to your service provider, at abuse@localhost?” (note – the email address has been changed for purposes of this article). To which I received a lengthier apology, where the individual informed me that they didn’t realize their action was spam.
And therein lies part of the problem. For every page that offers a definition of spam, there is a different definition. A problem cited by several sources, including Wired Magazine’s article “Spam: Much Hated, Little Defined” or the Pew Internet Project’s recent report entitled “ How it is hurting email and degrading life on the Internet.”
Even when defined by the local authorities, it can be ubiquitous at best. For example, Redland Baptist Church operates out of Rockville, Maryland, so here is how spam is defined by the State of Maryland, and governs those who would indiscriminately send the exact same message to multiple recipients, either one at a time or in bulk:
Folks, as Chrisitians, not only are we NOT above the law, but are called to live by a higher standard. It is for this reason, I am imploring my Christian brothers and sisters to stop marketing via unsolicited commercial email. Not only is it ineffective and amateurish, it is illegal, unethical and abusive.
Abusive? Yes. Redland pays good money for it’s Internet access. Why then should someone with a book, video, CD, lecture series or what-have-you be allowed to advertise on Redland’s nickle? Especially when some of that spam consumes Redlands monthly disk and bandwidth and/or requires that I take my valuable time out of publishing my pastor’s sermons to clean up the spammer’s mess? I mean isn’t taking something that doesn’t belong to you stealing?
The bottom line is this, if you want to sell something, spend the money to do it right. Sending unsolicited emails to people you don’t know to sell a product may seem cost-effective and expedient, but only up until your sin finds you out … and you find that you’re ISP and/or web host shuts you down. In the interim, it gives the World something to point their finger at us and say “see!?”
Here, I’ll make it even easier for you with a cute little jingle .. “when in doubt, don’t send it out.”