The Revd. Dr. Stephen Sizer is a man who believes malicious blogging (as defined by him, presumably) is a violation of the Eighth Commandment (in his Bible), and offers his own ten pieces of bull for Pastors to follow:
- Pastors should speak on the Eighth Commandment and its corollary injunctions against calumny and detraction;
- People should be warned that what they read on blogs is not necessarily true;
- Any anonymous blog or unsigned response has the weight of an unsigned letter and so should be quickly dismissed;
- A blog that is particularly vicious toward persons can be indicative of psychological illness, or simply an evil person, and is therefore suspect;
- Any blog that is unedifying and demeaning to another person should not be read. It is the equivalent of pornography;
- Responding to these calumnious blogs, even for defense of the individual or for clarification, only encourages the offender and prolongs the life of the calumny;
- Those who suffer calumny on anonymous blogs are, for the most part, better off enduring it. Seeking to correct misrepresentations usually has the effect of keeping controversy alive and adding to its interest value;
- While reading such blogs is damaging to its target (since it causes unwarranted negative speculation about another’s character), it also hurts the reader since it causes scandal, sowing pessimism and despondency;
- Calumnious blogging is a serious offense against God’s law. Those who engage in it are jeopardizing their immortal souls and the souls of others;
- For anyone to make a judgment concerning a person’s character based on what is read on a negative blog is to be a formal cooperator in the evil perpetrated by the blogger.
As I discussed yesterday, Sizer appears to have posted what was equivalent to pornography on Living Journey, maintained by an Australian Christian blogger Vee; stating that Seismic Shock, another blogger had been cautioned by British Police for observing Sizer’s association with attested Holocaust Deniers and antisemites, as well as his own overtly anti-Judaic theology.
But, there is more. In his most recent blog missive, Sizer invokes the story of the Christian Messiah’s approach to Jerusalem in discussing the separation barrier which brought a halt to wave-after-wave of Jew-murder attacks.
It is ironic that if Jesus were born in Blackpool he would have no problem getting from Jericho to Jerusalem today. But because he was born in Bethlehem he would not be able to make the journey to the Mount of Olives, let alone join the Palm Sunday procession into the Old City. Like thousands of West Bank Christians he would be unable to visit Jerusalem today. He would be turned back at a military checkpoint – because he was born in Bethlehem.
This is false witness, both as to why individuals would be refused access and as to the completeness of this refusal. It is also catachresis: irony does not mean paradoxical or unfortunate coincidence. Sizer’s co-complainant against Seismic Shock – the Rev. Dr. Anthony McRoy of the Wales Evangelical School of Theology – was being hugely ironic when he spoke of Christian charity whilst comparing Hezbollah’s pursuit and murder of Israeli Jews to Yehoshuan sacrifice: it is just that I do not feel like laughing.
Sizer goes on:
Dusty roads through dramatic scenery were as common then as now, indeed little has changed. Israeli checkpoints, barbed wire, military settlements and the Separation Barrier have replaced the Roman garrisons but it is still Occupied Territory.
I suppose this updating of anti-Judaic polemics from the suggestions with pogroms at Eastertide from McRoy’s speech to a Khomenist theological skool to presenting Israeli Jews as the baddies of the Nativity Myth (as I discussed here) is a progression of sorts.
Yet, it is not without its difficulties. First, just as with Sizer’s comparison of Christian Zionists to supporters of the Children of Hagar (Galatians 4:21/6) begs the question of what he thinks of Arabs in general and Arab Muslims specifically, there is the question of who he believes it was who Pax Romanica was oppressing in the region, and who rebelled.
Hint, it was not the Christians.
That said, I am not minded to call Sizer and McRoy antisemitic cunts. The female pudenda is a wonderful and interesting object.
UPDATE – Modernity speaks of the Barbara Streisand effect as this story is picked-up across the blogsphere. Bit unfortunate in view of Sizer’s suggested Sixth Rule of blogging.