Ted Slater has recently published a piece indicating his dislike of anonymous posting. He has made known his objection to anonymous posting before, even directing some of his criticism at me. Ted is not alone in his assertions; the anti-anonymous craze seems to be the latest fad floating in the Evangelical Blogosphere. Somehow, we are led to believe that if people gave up their privacy, and submitted to "accountability", everyone would play nice.
I'm not buying it. The people who have so much problem with anonymous writers need to go back in a time machine and give their lecture to not a few Biblical writers, Patristic writers, the writers of the Federalist Papers, etc. If they want to throw out the charge of cowardice, then let them consider the example of the Israelite spies who hid themselves in Rahab's house or even what our Savior did on occasions (John 8:59). There is no law set in stone that good people have to make their whereabouts known to a hostile audience.
Let those religious writers who have the biggest problem with anonymous posts walk a mile in the moccasins of the rest of us. Many of us do not have multi-million dollar ministries that bankroll our operations. Let them get jobs out in the real world. How would they like the idea of potential employers Googling their names and snooping on their blogs? Would it be tempting to tone down one's opinions and just go with the status quo?
Because many of us do not get paid or get support for what we are doing, we write as private citizens. Therefore, we demand to be treated as such. Public scrutiny into our lives is unnecessary and uncalled for. Shall we do the opposite of what Jesus did? Instead of hiding when when people come after us, should we just stay out in the open and play nice--to the point of sacrificing the truth? After all, "it's only the bad people that have something to hide", doncha' know! What a great line to use on Christians who worship in underground churches, political refugees, whistle-blowers, etc.
I am concerned that some calls for banning anonymous posters, etc. is simply an attempt to smoke out the undesirables and silence dissent. If one speaks a little too forcefully against some religious writer, he may get a phone call from his church. Is this the kind of environment we want to foster? I have already read where someone has tried to get a professor to go after a student who is a critic of the Marriage Mandate Movement. This is the kind of garbage that needs to be denounced, not anonymous writers.
I will conclude by saying this: Debbie Maken put her name to a book along with her credentials and background. She had one or more well-known religious pundits review her book. Editors, literary agents, her pastor, her publisher, the folks at Boundless, her fans in the Evangelical blogosphere, etc. did not prevent her from penning some of the most nastiest and irresponsible statements about single men that I have ever seen from a religious writer. Some of the people who are complaining about the rudeness of anonymous posters gave this woman a free pass. It's not the name attached to the writing but what is written that's important. Let's stop trying to play snitch and let's get on with the business of arguing our points, shall we?
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