Jul 14, 2012

Episcopalians Down the Beliefnet Memory Hole

The other day I posted the exciting news that the Episcopal Church has green-lighted the ordination of transgendered people and taken a step toward gay marriages. This news was less well received by Rob Kerby who quickly pronounced the Church dead... and then he proceeded to dance on its grave. The insufferable post can be found here. The church founded by that wife-killer Henry VIII is on the brink of financial ruin because it's driven all the real Christians away with its liberal agenda... blah, blah, blah... Whatever. Talk to the hand.

True to form Kerby has also been busily blocking and deleting any dissent. Yes, it's not only Pagans and the gay-positive who get chucked down the memory hole on the new Beliefnet. Episcopalian? Gone.

I posted a comment and learned, for sure, that I'm being blocked. My comment was sent straight into moderation. It was deleted without ever seeing the light of day. As you can see, there were only two comments showing, but four comments in the counter, so I'm clearly not the only one who's been marked for moderation.

Someone named Mike slipped under their radar and got a not terribly favorable comment up.

It was later deleted.

So, some comments have come and gone. As of this writing there are four comments showing out of nine. The other five are presumably languishing in moderation.

A particularly special comment from one Robbins Mitchell refers to the Church's first gay archbishop as Archfaggot Gene Robinson. So, that's nice. I doubt it will be deleted. I've seen worse anti-gay slurs left in place as the mildest of questions about the news section's direction are deleted. Hatin' on gay people is perfectly cool on the new Beliefnet. Because, you know, they're Christians and we'll know them by their love.

You know, I really have no problem with moderators deleting rude, offensive comments. And, in principle, I have no problem with Kerby hating gay people in the name of Christ. He has the right to cherry-pick the Bible and juggle contradictions the size of watermelons. The problem, as I've said before, is that he is representing a site that is still pretending to be an ecumenical, interfaith destination. And not only is he spouting bigoted and blinkered nonsense, he's enforcing an environment of group-think. The mildest disagreement is silenced and swept from Beliefnet's page.

Kerby, for his part, is unrepentant, and has been dishing on Episcopalians on his Facebook page. There we learn that he's offended 2.3 million Episcopalians. "Ah, well." And he was called for an interview with Australia's ABC Radio to discuss "the collapsing US Episcopal church." But it didn't go so well.

I learned what little I know about dealing with the broadcast media from the legendary Ed Wheeler of the Oklahoma Natural Gas Co.'s PR department. He said "Give 'em a six-second sound bite, then shut up and refuse to utter another word." Tonight, I stupidly talked with a reporter in Australia for 15 minutes. I was over my head on a subject I know little about. If I came across as an idiot, at least (hopefully) nobody in this hemisphere will hear it!

Yet he knew enough to pronounce the Church "near collapse!" Perhaps he spoke to a reporter who actually knew a little something about the history of the Anglican Church... or history, period... or a little about critical thinking. Any of the above and he'd be sunk.

One of the things I noticed in looking at this particular "news" post is that Beliefnet has added a Facebook commenting feature. I don't know that he can delete those. I say that because my comments in that thread and other somewhat critical ones are there. And the thread makes for some interesting reading. Commenters also noticed that Kerby was in over his head when it came to, um, facts. I, personally, didn't spend a lot of time parsing his drivel but this made me chuckle.

This is no longer George Washington’s Episcopal Church – in 1776 the largest denomination in the rebellious British colonies. Membership has dropped so dramatically that today there are 20 times more Baptists than Episcopalians.

You mean the George Washington who almost never went to church? The one who refused to take communion and left early on those rare occasions when he did go so that his carriage had to make a second trip to pick up his church-going wife? The one who preferred to spend his Sundays drinking wine and smoking cigars? That George Washington? Maybe it would be fairer to say Martha Washington's Episcopal Church?

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