I have a couple people in my circle who are fans of the chain emails. I have worked very hard to set myself up as someone who sends annoying responses and should therefore be removed from the list. I have no problem with cute stories or a joke or two. (I did however send a gentle reminder to someone who sent me the same joke twice.)
However, I object to the following:
1. The untrue. Look, we have all fallen victim to one or two of these. But if you are net savvy enough to open an email, you are net savvy enough to do some checking. And if you don't know how or can't be bothered, then don't send it. Please. The fact that your bestest friend sent it does not do anything to make it more true.
2. The political. Last election year I got slanted crap from people on both sides of the spectrum. Here's the thing, either I agree with you politically, in which case email persuasion is unnecessary or I don't and you have pissed me off. And I have yet to see a well reasoned political chain letter. They may well exist, but please err on the side of caution and leave me off your list.
3. The religious. It works similarly to the above. If I believe what you do religiously, then I might appreciate a cute anecdote. But chances are, you don't actually know what I believe religiously. Now I say this not because my ideas are so fabulous and complex, but simply because most of us don't have deep theological discussions about out religious views. Why that wall breaks down when it comes to email I don't know. Chalice Chick had asked if anyone had any great suggestions for this when she was getting them from co-workers. The general consensus seemed to be that the delicate nature of the subject meant there was a greater chance of offending someone by trying to explain why you didn't want such emails and it was easier to delete them. But, please, save your friends and co-workers from having to have these discussions by not sending the emails.
4. The threatening. Now, I am being a tad facetious here, but whether they are little wee fairies that threaten to harm those who don't pass them on to exactly ten people or the various scare mails (this is the new way the crazies will kill you - watch out for parking lots) or combinations thereof - why? Why send this? If you like the wee fairy, it takes seconds to remove the text that threatens your friends. (And really, why would you send threats to people you say are friends?) And as for the scare mails - let me live in ignorance please.
So, what spawned the rant? I got an email listing people who made fun of God and/or Jesus and died. It also told me that I had to pass it on to get my miracle. I can't decide if the spirit of the email is intended to cement my righteousness for not mocking God or shame and scare me should I have been mocking God or to convert me so that I can escape untimely death. I understand that some people are superstitious and certainly I want my friends to have miracles, but I am so flabbergasted that this would be sent to me. After some time I have calmed down a bit, but I still am at a loss. At this point just as much of my frustration is wrapped up in that fact that I can't think of anything I could say about this that might not result in hurt on the part of the sender. And yet, I really never want to receive anything like this again.