December 5, 2020

Ben Stein’s Christmas email chain letter

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Ben Stein

iNews Cayman has been sent an email purporting to be from Ben Stein. I received one too and I expect you have. It’s going the rounds not only here but in the USA and the UK. I actually received a similar one in 2006 with some subtle differences. Because of this I began to have my suspicions.

Both emails were subtitled “Ben Stein: Christmas Confessions”. Both are a commentary on Christmas and the state of American culture attributed to Ben Stein who is an author, pundit, actor and game show host.

I went to his online website where it says:- “I’ve (the webmaster) been getting a lot of emails about whether or not Ben wrote an article about Christmas and the Holidays. The short answer is yes. However just remember that people can add WHATEVEVER they want to his original article.” It then has a link to the original article that comprises 433 words. The 2006 version I received contains 683 words. It only contains 283 words from the original text. The 2011 version currently going the rounds has 825 words and is the only one that signs off with “My best Regards, Honestly and respectfully, Ben Stein.”

Only about a third of these two chain emails contained anything written by Ben Stein and delivered by him on the “CBS Sunday Morning” programme on December 18,2005. The rest are pieces of writings from anonymous persons that have been circulating all over the Internet for the past ten years! It is obvious from the different styles of the various writings. Their actual placement in the original text is haphazard.

The opening paragraph on the 2011 version says: “Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America.” At no time has the White House ever substituted the term “Holiday Trees” for Christmas Trees”. Ben Stein wrote his piece in 2005 and not 2011. Therefore, this did not prompt him to write it.

Then we have these statements: “Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this Happen?” (regarding Katrina).

“Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

Billy Graham’s daughter is actually Ann Graham Lotz and the above quote is a paraphrase of statements she made in an interview by Jane Clayson on the CBS “Early Show” on September 13, 2001. Hurricane Katrina? No. It was the 9/11 terrorist attack of 2001.

Ben Stein doesn’t seem to mind his original piece has been added to. I leave you with a paragraph which he did write.

“Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.”

Well said Ben and,

A Very Merry Christmas to you,

From Georgina


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