The questionnaire game is the latest fundraising technique. Organizations mail questionnaires on subjects that arouse strong feelings, and they word the questions to make people react emotionally. Some of these questionnaires may be sincere and address a real issue. Many of them are scams and quick and easy ways to get money. This has been true of political and religious issues.
As two examples that came in today’s mail, let me point out how this works. The first questionnaire is from “The Freedom Center” and is called “Islam in Our Schools.” The questionnaire begins by making several statements that are both impossible to check out and are very unlikely. For example: “In a Florida school, students had to design and create Muslim prayer rugs.” The unanswered question is, what school and what class? Was it a private school or a public school? Was it an art class or a social studies class? Another statement on the same questionnaire: “While in Texas a seventh-grade assignment taught kids that God was a myth and not a fact.” Again, what school, what subject, and what is meant by “myth.” This statement is followed by: “Countless schools around the country force children to learn and recite the five pillars of Islam.” Countless could be almost any number.
After making these undocumented claims, it plays the questionnaire game with inflammatory questions: “Should schools teach only Pro-Islamic lessons yes or no. Should our schools teach anti-Christian messages to children? Yes or no.” This is just a small sampling of the questions. The questions are followed by asking the person who filled out the questionnaire to include a minimum of $23.00 and return it to the Freedom Center.
Also in the mail was a different questionnaire called “The Faith Survey Michigan Edition.” This questionnaire begins with six personal questions and then asks six rather general opinions such as: “Do you think personal, daily Bible study is an effective way to grow as a Christian? Yes or No.” This one ends with: “Are you willing to help missionaries grow and sustain fruitful discipleship ministries here in America and around the globe?” There is only one choice on this one, and that is, “Yes, I’ve enclosed today’s gift of (check one) $15.00, $25.00, $35.00, and other.” There is no indication of what religious organization you are sending the money to or what they intend to do with the money. You are giving personal information to them – credit card information or check information.
We must beware of the questionnaire game. These questionnaires are a great tool for scammers, and they are likely to be vehicles that are only designed to get money. These are examples in the area of religion, but it is true of political questionnaires as well. Religion and politics have been areas of abuse and exploitation from the beginning of recorded time. Real Christianity is, “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).”
— John N. Clayton © 2020