Colleen Szot is one of the most successful infomercial writers in the industry. She recently authored a programme that shattered a 20-year sales record for a home shopping channel simply by changing a few words to the familiar and oft used "call to action". Instead of telling viewers to "call now as operators are waiting," she informed viewers that "if operators are busy please call again."
On the face of it, the change might appear foolhardy. After all, the message seems to suggest that customers might have to waste their time dialling and redialling the number until they finally reach a sales representative. That sceptical view, however, ignores the powerful pull of social proof. People will often look to others around them to decide what to think and how to behave. What's especially interesting about social proof is that when you ask someone if other people's behaviour influences their own they will often insist that it does not. But social psychologists know that people's ability to identify the factors that affect their behaviour is surprisingly poor. Take, for example, a study conducted by my two co-authors Dr Robert Cialdini and Dr Noah Goldstein and their colleagues.
Surveying over 800 householders, they asked people what motivated them to make energy efficiencies in their home. Most people said they that did it because they were environmentally friendly and that they wanted to do their bit to benefit society. Very few mentioned that they made energy savings because they saw their neighbours doing the same. Interesting then, that the study found that it was exactly this fact that motivated them. People were more likely to make energy efficiencies when they saw their neighbours were making efficiencies. Exactly the same reason why so many people continued to call Colleen Szot's free-phone number. After all, if the lines are busy then lots of other people like me are calling too.
"The science of persuasion: The behaviour of others is a powerful motivating force. If harnessed correctly it could help us to become more socially responsible," by Steve Martin. Comment is free. December 9, 2007.
Speaking of being "more socially responsible," be the first to give and watch others follow. Do others need to be before you even when it comes to doing that for which Jesus is still calling?
Therefore, Enter the Labor of Real Love
Help the movement of bringing forth. Give to the Christian Commons Project to further this message and to translate the money out of its evil system. Continue down this column to below the comment section to the section entitled, "The Righteous Appeal to Softening Hearts," and please help with what you are able. Consider tithing or better. You will be a part of bringing forth, as Jesus still calls upon his followers to do. If you can do it, it isn't too late to matter.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)