I’ve been banned from a ‘Christian’ web-site. From Barbwire, in fact, the extreme mouthpiece of extreme mouthpiece Matt Barber and his chums; Scott Lively, self-confessed ‘father’ of Uganda’s anti-gay movement; Bryan Fischer, bigoted evangelical shock-jock; Laurie Higgins, gay-sex obsessed ‘marriage defender’ and Bradlee Dean, third-rate rockstar-cum-provocatuer, amongst others.
My ban is not because I was abusive. Actually, I’m not sure what prompted it though I’m not alone in having my comments deleted and my name blocked. Others who’ve challenged the bigotry and distortions regularly paraded on Barbwire have been too. Dissent will not be countenanced by ‘Christian’ bullies whose faith is weak and arguments even weaker.
I hope my comments were reasoned and reasonable, even if sometimes flippant; above all, I hope they were challenging. I tried to challenge both those ‘names’ who write for the blog as well as those who comment there, to react and respond as their Saviour commands them to; to treat others as they would want to be treated; to attend to the log in their own eyes before the speck in their neighbours’; not to judge lest they be judged and to show compassion for those with different views.
Have I as a non-believer any right to expect Christians to behave like this? I think so – I think we all have. After all, they’re the ones who’ve bought into Jesus’ demands; the ones who proclaim him as messiah and potential saviour of the world; the ones who feel compelled to tell us about him at every turn. They’re the ones who believe they’re born again as new creatures, filled with the Holy Spirit, who now live transformed lives as Christ-like beings. It’s not unreasonable to expect to see them reflect all of this in how they deal with other people; loving their neighbour, not casting the first stone… and all the rest of it.
So how do they deal with dissenters on Barbwire? They call them ‘morons’, and ‘fools’ and ‘pervs’ and ‘sodomites’ and ‘idiots’. Now, it could well be that I’m all of these things and the good Lord has chosen to reveal it to his gentle people on the site, if not to me. But when you call out these supposed Christians on this less than loving behaviour – pointing out that Jesus says in Matthew 5.22 not to call others fool, let alone all those other things – what happens? You get more abuse, and lots of edging around Jesus’ words (he only meant not to call other Christians fools) and claiming his commands don’t apply to them because he was really only speaking metaphorically – as he always is when they don’t want to do what he says.
And then you, the one on the receiving end of their Christian Love™, are blocked, banned and deleted, while those with the slurs and insults remain, because it’s what Jesus would want, leaving them free to move on to new targets.
Does it matter? Not really; as long as for a brief period there are others opposing the bigotry and hatred that spills, in Jesus’ name, from Barbwire and sites like it. Christians such as Matt Barber and, here in the UK, Stephen Green, are relatively powerless individuals, after all. They’re loud bullies who justify their extremism by claiming it is the standard demanded by a mythical being. But all the same, they and their cronies are influential. Witness the sycophantic commenters who commend every scurrilous word these bullies say about non-believers, fellow Christians, gay people, politicians, immigrants and those they imagine ‘persecute’ Christians here and in the States. The articles on Barbwire encourage and reinforce the prejudices, bigotry and small-mindedness of ‘Christians’ like these, helping shape the way they treat people in the real world.
I’d encourage you to take look at Barbwire and to become a commenter yourself, opposing the hatred and bigotry, not to mention the irrationality and stone-throwing, that you’ll find there. If you do, you won’t have to do it for long because, sooner rather than later, you’ll be banned, as the voices of reason and compassion invariably are there.
Then again, there are worse reasons for being thrown out of a sewage plant.