“The righteous one perishes, and no one lays it to heart; yea, merciful men are gathered, with no one discerning that the righteous is gathered from the face of evil” (Isaiah 57:1 LITV).
We recently sent this letter to all of the addresses from AOL. Though the letter was only sent to those on AOL, the subject matter and follow up correspondence should be of interest to everyone:
Attention to recipients of The Issues of Life using AOL services:
Over the past several months, we have experienced problems sending The Issues of Life to AOL subscribers. AOL has not provided answers as to why these sporadic problems exist, or what we can do about them. We have been told that all it takes is someone pressing the “Spam” button in his or her e-mail account to potentially cause problems for other AOL subscribers receiving our mail. Whatever the case, there are often blockages of AOL e-mail addresses from various sections of the alphabet, which seems to change randomly.
Whatever AOL is doing is not a good solution to your spam problems. Persistent spam is caused by phantom senders, those who hide themselves using bogus addresses to anonymously carpet-bomb with their unwanted marketing campaigns or scams. AOL’s response is indiscriminate and unjust. What they are doing amounts to amoral blacklisting, shutting down senders and servers with no questions asked, and allowing for no inquiry, nor providing any opportunity to give an answer. To be charged is to be guilty. It puts the power to decide who hears what in the hands of the lawless, the irresponsible, and the ignorant. It deprives you, the AOL subscriber, of the freedom to hear and choose for yourself the good things God has given us to bring your way. You are also likely missing mail from others. Who knows? I do not think even AOL knows, as it appears their actions are mechanical and arbitrary, at the whims of those whom I have just described.
But whether what they do is done knowingly or not, we consider it wrong. AOL is “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” There is a better way. Other servers do not act this way, and they are not allowing their subscribers to be deluged with unwanted emails. This is a case in point: We are not now writing to the subscribers of other services.
There are also other good reasons not to use AOL.
Victor’s personal experience: When Victor first hooked up to the internet, he used AOL as his internet service provider. He became involved with them because the idea seemed good. But his computer began locking up, and he had trouble getting onto the internet and doing very basic tasks. He thought that the internet or his computer was the problem, but when he changed services, he found that the problem was AOL. He then found that other services had capabilities that AOL did not offer, and tasks that had been complicated were now simple with his other service.
Setting a bad example: We have found that when AOL blocks addresses that begin with a letter in a certain section of the alphabet (A-C, for example), there are a couple of other, smaller servers that follow their lead. Therefore, A-C may also be blocked by CompuServe or Netscape. AOL is setting a bad example to these smaller companies with their overly restrictive and non-discriminating blockages of e-mail.
Denying freedom of speech: Because one person deems our e-mails to be “spam” (despite the fact that we remind people of our removal policy with each issue we send), does that mean that no one else using AOL’s services wants to receive our e-mails? How can they assume so?
One site defines “censorship” (denying free speech) as, “blocking information based on its content.” Are we not being censored if one person decides that he or she does not wish to receive our letters, and therefore blocks the sending for other AOL subscribers in the list?
We heartily recommend finding another server. We believe you will be happy you did, just as Victor was when he did. If you wish to continue receiving The Issues of Life, and whatever other mail you might be missing, without interference from AOL, we suggest you change your internet service provider, or send us an address from another e-mail service. Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com), Microsoft (www.hotmail.com), and Google (www.gmail.com) offer free mailboxes, for example.
A reader’s response:
I believe I receive all of the letters so I am sorry others are not having as good as luck, tell Paul and Victor hello. I have had AOL for 7 years and I have never had any problems. Thanks, Carole
Thank you for letting us know that you are receiving our letters. However, the last issue was blocked by AOL to all of its subscribers (because of our letter describing their practices?). So, you can no longer say that all of our letters are reaching you. They are not.
Even if they were reaching you, is it a good thing to support a company that does not allow for free speech? Is it good to support a company that is driven by money over morals, and that is willing to push its weight around to intimidate others for the sake of its bottom-line? Do you really want to be identified with a company that is willing to cut us off because someone, on a whim, does not like what we say?
I am not talking here about cutting off pharmaceutical ads or enticements to online porn. That has nothing to do with us and the preaching of the Good News. The living Word of God will save humanity from its destructives, including the health issues that the non-stop pharmaceutical ads presumably address, as well as the degradation of illicit sexual addiction from porn spam. What I am talking about is the cutting off of what is freely offered for good, and freely withdrawn if rejected, something that stands against the evils mentioned above.
Spamming for selfish gain is not free speech. That is nothing other than greed-driven marketing, which employs amoral mechanical means to maximize profits, the cost to others and society be damned. Men did not lay down their lives in the face of religious tyrants and brutal rulers so that people could have their way with us in this manner, freely invading our personal space, without restriction, and marketing their salacious wares and poisonous potions for slimy shekels! Make no doubt about it! Free speech is for the betterment of humanity; the good ought not to be lumped in with the excrement that you flush down the toilet!
Anyone supporting AOL is, in essence, supporting the tossing out of the good with the bad. Even though you are not actively protesting our words, as some do, just by standing with AOL you are, in effect, saying to us, “I do not care if your words are being kept from souls that are perishing, or from those who will perish in their sins, because I am getting what I want.”
Is what you want, and what you are satisfied with now, going to save you from the cumulative mounting up of the sins of men? I do not believe you have any idea of the price that is paid for these things, Carole. I am telling you, with the utmost sobriety, and if anything, understatement, that this is a harbinger of great evil to come, which is already here at the door, because people have chosen evil over good, or they are willing to stand idly by while the good is trashed. You may be innocent of the things done by the evildoers, but unless you are counted with the righteous, you will suffer the fate of the former.
God is finished winking. So we are sent to speak as we do, warning all people of the fires to come, whether it be from the Muslims or the plague. Unless you repent, Jesus said, you will all in similar manner perish. There is no safety except in the secret place of the Most High.
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.