A woman who posts at StandFirminFaith wrote me twice in the comments section of an earlier entry on this blog, inquiring about my take on the animosity towards me at that web site. Here are my thoughts about the animosity expressed towards me at Stand Firm:
1. Early on Matthew Kennedy from SF launched a four part attack on a piece I wrote for The Episcopal Majority on "Falsely Accused," in which I debunked the charges of SF and others against the Episcopal Church. As I responded to Matthew's various points, the responses to me on Stand Firm took on an ugly, personal tone. That has continued.
2. From time to time I have offered on StandFirm an alternative point of view about theology, the authority of the Bible and about church property. A few have engaged in that conversation, but most have responded with close to vitriol, as though I had slimed their mothers. What has angered most has been my suggestion (it is not just mine: it has been a staple of Anglicanism for centuries!) that there are differing points of view than their own.
3. The third reason, I believe, is that whenever someone challenges anything held by what Veblen called "The True Believer," the fear and resentment level for the True Believers reaches an incredible pitch -- and rather than deal with the challenge, itself, they attempt to eradicate the source of their discomfort.
4. The fourth reason is that the SFiF site has served for many as a dumping ground for disaffection and hatred -- and when that stream of "Ain't They Awful" is interrupted, any disrupters are quickly and soundly punished. I don't think this trend has been there for the full life of SFiF, but when you read through almost any string there are recurring themes:
-- ++Katharine Jefferts Schori is a fake and a heretic;
-- Anyone leaving TEC is a hero;
-- Any moral, ethical or theological viewpoint (no matter how well grounded in historical Christianity or contemporary scholarship) that differs from the narrow outlook of the SFiF leadership is "heretical," "apostate" or of Satan. -- Anyone challenging the Stand Faith sense of their own orthodoxy must be annihilated and there is no limit to the sarcasm, personal attacks and wild charges used to accomplish those attacks. Witness irenic, conciliatory remarks by me and others are invariably met by further personal attacks – their latest characterizations of me have been "heretic," "fraud," "abuser of my former parishioners," and other, worse, terms.
5. Lastly, there is the SF assumption that any of their staff and regular contributors can do no wrong in their personal attacks – and that when I, or others, draw attention to the scurrilous attacks, we must be discredited. That is often followed by references to what happens at the House of Bishops/House of Deputies list serve as "much, much worse" – a charge that is demonstrably wrong.
These, of course, are my own observations. I have had some meaningful conversations with Matt Kennedy through emails -- though he has informed me that if I showed up at his church he would not give me communion. I believe there are descriptive words for such an attitude and behavior, but they are not for me to throw around!
The voice of conservative Christianity is a voice which deserves to be heard and taken with utmost seriousness – but this use of it to tee off on those not of the same mindset is a cruel distortion of Christian conversation.
(adapted from the response at: http://turningthingsupsidedown.blogspot.com/2008/12/ode-to-stand-firm-in-faith.html