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Skip to comments.GOOD NEWS - BAD NEWS (Don't Say You Weren't Warned)
Posted on 01/22/2004 6:34:29 PM PST by Sidebar Moderator
The bad news is that I am the newly designated moderator of Free Republic's Religion Forum. The good news is that I am the newly designated moderator of Free Republic's Religion Forum.
First, let's discuss why this is bad news.
I have no doubt that everyone who participates in this forum is aware of the general posting guidelines of Free Republic; they've been in effect as long as Free Republic has been in existence. Just for clarity, here they are again: "NO profanity, NO personal attacks, NO racism or violence in posts."
Having spent the better part of a week reading as much as I was able to get to on the Religion Forum, which includes virtually every currently posted thread, I can say that I've seen no profanity (should be a given on a forum devoted to religion), and only one or two posts which could be construed to contain violence. On that score I commend you all.
Unfortunately, however, personal attacks are rampant. Protestants attack Catholics, and vice versa. Within these two major Christian families, Calvinists attack Arminians, and tit-for-tat. Traditional Catholics attack New Age Catholics, and back it comes. Self-professed Christians of all flavors post gratuitous insults and jibes directed toward Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses frequently. Threads are posted for the obvious and sole purpose of flaming "the opposition", whoever that might be in any particular instance. I could go on and on with further examples, but from many of your posted comments it is clear that all of you are aware of these facts, and seemingly, accept them as the order of things.
It is not the order of things, and it will no longer be tolerated.
Sadly, a forum devoted to perhaps the highest endeavor of the human mind and soul, that of the religious expression of faith, has become an embarrassment to Free Republic. All too often the discourse appearing in the Religion Forum resembles that found in those threads devoted to the War on Drugs, less the profanity, of course. Consequently, the question whether the Religion Forum will remain much longer as a feature of Free Republic, at least in its present format, is very much up in the air. How that question is answered depends entirely on the response each and every one of you make to this announcement in the next few weeks.
Therefore, from this time forward, the Free Republic rule of " NO profanity, NO personal attacks, NO racism or violence in posts.", will be more strictly enforced. Furthermore, you are all reminded that this is a religion forum; that is, all practitioners of any recognized religion, provided they also follow the rules, are welcome. However, since a large majority of posters to this forum are self-professing Christians, of one flavor or another, some additional rules will be imposed. You should all be quite familiar with them, even though some of you seem to pay them no heed at present.
These rules are:
"The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'." [Mark 12:31 (RSV)]
"But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." [Luke 6:27 (RSV)]
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." [John 13:34 (RSV)]
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." [John 14:15 (RSV)]
Or, if the commandments of our Lord Jesus are insufficient (paraphrasing Paul) speak the truth in love.
For now, enough of the harsh words. There really is good news.
First and foremost, all that has passed prior to today is forgiven. However, my forgiveness, unlike that of God, is continuing but not unlimited. After all, I'm a sinner, too. Transgressions of the rules will be met with three warnings, followed by three progressively lengthy suspensions, after which unrepentant posters will be, shall we say, cast into the outer darkness. Totally outrageous violations, of course, remain subject to the ultimate penalty immediately, as always.
However, I am also aware that love, in the Biblical sense, is not the Hollywood kind of love we hear about all around us these days. Spirited debate is a hallmark of Free Republic, and is welcome. Sometimes the truth (at least as we understand it, through a glass darkly) sounds rather harsh, but even harsh truth can be couched in terms that allow the Christian love of the speaker to come through.
Further, no matter how you read the tenor of this announcement, I am not a martinet. I can be persuaded to change my mind by reasoned discourse. On the other hand, sinful nature that I have, I do not suffer fools gladly. Directing complaints to me over some action I have taken is fine; doing so with insulting language will not achieve the results you desire, and in fact, will probably result in something far worse. And, as always, I am not the ultimate authority regarding any decision I make; anything I do can be appealed to one higher court - Jim Robinson, by whose direction I am here as moderator.
There are some things I will not do. I will not arbitrate theological disputes. I will not resolve questions of church polity. Nor will I render judgment on interpretations of Scripture. Those are all issues for legitimate debate, and I do not propose to take part as just another poster on this forum. Naturally, I have my own opinions on all these issues, but my opinions are my own and I will keep them to myself.
You should also know, I suppose, that I was selected as the moderator of the Religion Forum because no one else wanted to wade into the mess that this forum has become. All too often when abuse reports come into the moderators from the Religion Forum it is discovered that there are no clean hands in the dispute under complaint. More often than not removing the post complained about generates another abuse report asking "why was I punished when he said thus-and-so first". In many cases, removing all of the offending posts makes the thread unreadable. So, whatever you think of me now, or come to think of me in the next few weeks, I'm your last chance. After me comes the abyss.
And do yourself a favor; before you respond to this announcement remember the immortal advice of Jim Croce:
I'm not Jim, but I've got his ear.
One final word. I am not here 24/7. I actually have a life away from Free Republic; consequently your questions/complaints/comments may not be answered immediately. Be patient, they will be answered eventually. In the end, my goal is (our goal should be) that there will come the day when my presence here is unnoticed. That should be attainable if we all act like the Christian brothers and sisters we claim to be.
May God bless you all.
Good news, definitely good news.
That said if FR decides that the subject of God is not welcome here anymore, that's the day I toss it in the garbage where at such a point it will belong. I find it incredible that this would even be considered.
I've been hoping for quite a while that Christians can come together and move as one body. I think the hateful types around here are the minority. I have full confidence in your ability to handle them.
Try as one might, a "religious" forum is NOT a "political" forum. Heaven is not earth. God is not man. And religious beliefs are not equal to temporal opinions such as "Howard Dean has a big green thumb -- on his shoulders."
On a religion forum, everyone should have the right to voice whatever theology they want to toss out.
But you cannot expect anyone of strong religious belief, especially if that person is a conservative, to agree that "your God is the same as my God; all Gods are equal."
God forbid that should ever be a requirement on or in a Free Republic.
God bless you, your family and FR. Thanks for giving us a vehicle for ministry and understanding.
We're going to need an assigned mod, as things are about to pick up in here in the near future.
Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.