PROCTER & GAMBLE: WHEN CHRISTIANS SPREAD LIES

by David Sisler

This story reminds me of an old saying: "Your friends do not need to be convinced, and your enemies will not believe you, no matter what you say."

Flash! The CEO of Procter & Gamble appeared on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show on July 19, 1999, and came out of the closet. On the air for the first time, he admitted that he is a Satanist and that a large portion of the profits from P&G are donated to the Church of Satan.

Oh, wait a minute. That was not July 19, 1999, it was March 1, 1998.

Oops. Sorry. It was not March 1, 1998 on Sally. March 1 was a Sunday and no shows by Ms. Raphael are taped on Sundays. It was March 1, 1994 on the Phil Donahue Show. When allegedly asked by Donahue if declaring his connections with the Church of Satan on TV would hurt his business, the CEO of P&G reportedly replied, "There are not enough Christians in the United States to make a difference."

Well, now I really am confused. Maybe he made the confession on a recent taping of Jenny Jones.

Rats! Sorry again. It was not the CEO of Procter & Gamble, it was Liz Claiborne, and it was not on Sally in either 1998 or 1999, but it was on Oprah in 1990. And it was 40 percent of the profits from her clothing sales which went to the Church of Satan.

No, no, no. Forgive me. My mistake. It was neither P&G, nor Liz Claiborne. It was Ray Kroc in 1977 giving tithe to the Church of Satan from the millions of McDonald's burgers then sold.

The above stories have all been widely circulated. None of those stories is true this in spite of the fact that you and I both know people who will swear on the Family Bible, while standing on their grandmother's grave, that they saw the program with their own two eyes. I have already received three forwarded emails about the July 19th "show", screaming, "It's Real!"

Urban legends are like that. They have lives of their own. There is almost never any basis in fact, but they will not die. Truth does not matter.

On August 6, 1999, Ed Glavin, Jenny's executive producer categorically stated that no one from P&G has ever been on the show. On August 16, 1999, Maurice Turner, Sally's exec, said, "There is no truth to the rumor." Way back on April 5, 1995, Phil Donahue said that no one from Procter and Gamble had ever been on his show. Finally, not only did Liz Claiborne not make the statement attributed to her on Oprah's show, at the time of the alleged incident she had never been on the program.

Procter and Gamble has been defending itself and its corporate symbols for decades now. Finally they became so tired of the rumors that they went to court. By the most recent count I can find, they have sued Amway distributors (who are accused of spreading the rumors) six times, and have filed fifteen court cases in total.

The Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of Cincinnati, in an open letter dated July 2, 1999, said, "People who accept these rumors as truth have the obligation to investigate such accusations before spreading false information to others. This is but another example of the insidiousness of dishonesty spread by spoken and printed words and the difficulty of repairing such damage once it has been released."

On August 5, 1999, Jerry Falwell said, "These rumors need to be squelched. Many Christians and non-Christians alike are responsible..."

Paige Patterson, of the Southern Baptist Convention said, on July 28, 1999, "Let me urge those in the Christian community not to be a part of any false accusation but to be absolutely certain of your ground before accusations are made."

Do you remember the line which was attributed to the Phil Donahue show: "There are not enough Christians in the United States to make a difference"? Whoever was behind the lies at the time, wrote that sentence calculating that it would stir Christians to act against P&G. Unfortunately, and for the wrong reason, the statement has been proven true. There have not been enough Christians to make a difference. Christians could have stopped this lie and the others by simply investigating, and then refusing to pass the story along. But the story circulated around the country, appearing in church bulletins, newsletters, flyers and other parish communications.

Take the Bible on faith. Check everything else out. Circulating these rumors is nothing less than spreading lies. We Christians do enough things to give God a "black eye" without this.

-30-

Published in the Augusta Chronicle 8/28/99

For more research on the subject of urban legends in general, see Urban Legends Reference Pages, or for Procter & Gamble specifically, visit their site "Procter & Gamble's Symbol of Quality, to whom I am indebted for many of the facts included in this column.

Copyright 1999 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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