One can tell the holidays that herald the conclusion of the year (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) are upon us.
Most can tell this by the crispness in the air or from the days growing noticeably shorter.
However, if your name and address has made it into the databases of Christian Evangelical direct marketing, you may also know Christmas time is coming because of an annual appeal received from Prison Fellowship Ministries on behalf of the organization's Angel Tree Project.
In most instances, those that send Christmas cards tooting their own horns at least have the decency to change up the content each year.
The same cannot be said of the part of the Angel Tree Project appeal designed to guilt recipients into compliance.
Contained with the mailing is what the unsuspecting will perceive as a handwritten message from a convict begging for a gift for his daughter.
According to the letter, there was still nine years left on the inmate's sentence and he would not be able to play a role in his daughter's life for nearly an entire decade.
However, since at least 2005 and perhaps even as far back as 2003, Prison Fellowship has been sending the exact same note.
As such, shouldn't "Richard" (if that is even his name) nearly be ready for release if he has not already departed the Big House? It is 2012, after all.
It's bad enough for Prison Fellowship to solicit for the organization's campaign in such a manner as to make those receiving the appeal seem guilty because those perpetrating any variety of criminal deeds have been incarcerated for violating the law.
You'd think that Prison Fellowship could at least exhibit the decency to feature a different jailbird each year still in need of the ministry's services.
by Frederick Meekins