WinAce, Annabel Lee, and hypocrisy.

2003-05-27 11:40

This entry is sort of an expansion on this thread over at ChristianForums, but also a bit of thinking about some other issues that came up one day. The thread it was based on was lost in the Great Crash of 2003; sorry.

There’s no way to say “it all started with” for this one. It started in a dozen places at once, and the threads tangled so quickly that I really don’t think any narrative of it could be both coherent and true – things are like that.

Let’s start with a quick look at a humor page: Fundies Say the Dardnest Things!. This page is maintained by a guy who goes by WinAce on a number of boards, including ChristianForums. As of this writing, I’m never quoted there, but I’m listed as a contributor. Why? Because, at one point, I sent the guy a link to a particularly hilarious claim someone had made.

Keep this page in mind. We’ll be referring back to it later. Of particular importance are the following points:

  • I think this page is funny.
  • I have contributed to this page.
  • The obvious intent of the page is to mock fundamentalist Christians.

Now, let’s go look at one of the other threads. One of the people who called me an honorary Catholic is a woman who goes by Annabel Lee online. She’s a regular at ChristianForums. She’s a Catholic now, but she went through a number of years as an atheist. When C. S. Lewis, in The Great Divorce, wrote “Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.”, I think he must have been thinking of a woman much like this.

Annabel, as you might guess, has very little patience with people who make sweeping and insulting generalizations about atheists. She’s Catholic. And she’s occasionally a bit liberal-minded. All of these come together to mean that many fundamentalists despise her, and are firmly convinced that she is not a real Christian at all, but some kind of faker. For instance, in this thread, people pretty much told her to her face that she should have died a horrible, painful death.

And, of course, they get away with it. No one has ever explained why it is that attacks on people like Annabel go unpunished on a board with a strict “no flaming” policy, but people can get away with nearly anything. One user said “oh, you just ignore the Bible and make things up as you go along”, and the moderators decided that the post was not actually a flame, citing Annabel’s sarcastic “That’s about right” as proof that she agreed.

The board has forums which are reserved for “Christians only”. And, one day, she posted an article in a Christians-only forum, and it got deleted, on the grounds that she wasn’t Christian. Whe she asked what was going on, the moderators formed ranks against her, and said, with one voice, that they had concluded that this was the case. They started finding “evidence” in her old posts – statements or positions that didn’t hold with THEIR dogma. And, since a majority of them are Protestant Fundamentalists, it wasn’t too hard to find things she’d said that they were not okay with.

The prize, of course, was a post on another BBS where she described herself as a semi-heathen. Now, anyone watching this, anyone paying the slightest attention to her posts, her history, and the abuse heaped upon her, would have heard this for what it is; bitter sarcasm, a last defense of a woman under attack, and the only way to keep sane when your “friends” (and fellow Christians are supposed to be good friends) are dogpiling you in an effort to kick you out of the club. And, in the midst of this betrayal, of this attack, she resorted only to bitter self-deprecating humor. Even then, she never attacked them. They could have understood this, and learned from it.

But they didn’t. They cast her out. And, and this is the beauty, they never asked. No one actually stopped and said “Annabel, some people are unsure of what you believe. Are you Christian?”. No one thought her opinion mattered; they could judge, and condemn.

Most of this happened behind closed doors. Most of my readers won’t see this, but there are special forums over on ChristianForums for the staff, in which they can discuss board administration issues and policy. These forums are not merely closed for posting – they are invisible to the rest of us. I was on staff very briefly (yay politics!), and I can’t say what I saw – I was told it was confidential, and I will honor that. I think I can say, without violating any confidentiality, that some of it was very, very, wrong.

Okay, you’re wondering when I’m going to bring in the WinAce thread. Well, I can’t show you anymore, because the moderators, in their apparent randomness, have deleted the discussion, but someone started a thread on the board warning people about WinAce’s funny site. I mentioned that I had sent in a quote or two to it, and several people jumped on me for “backstabbing”.

Several moderators. You guys know who you are.

You see, by talking about people behind their back, or contributing to a site which mocked them, I was being a Very Bad Person. Especially because mocking people is like judging them. And, most importantly, it’s wrong because the accused cannot respond on WinAce’s site.

Now, the thing is, I happen to have seen what those people are like behind closed doors, and at least a couple of them have played the “this person isn’t Christian enough” card before. More than once. And when they did it, the accused not only couldn’t respond, but wasn’t even told she was being accused.

Now, before we continue, let’s stop and take a close look at what I did. This isn’t all that important to the story, but it’s important to me, and probably to God. I’d like to specially thank Blackhawk, one of the staff at ChristianForums, for taking the time to actually discuss this, rather than throwing stones. And he convinced me that I was probably wrong to contribute to WinAce’s site. Because, in the end, the purpose of the site is only ridicule. It’s not constructive criticism. It’s not intended to help people learn, or grow, or change. It’s just taking pot-shots at people. And a lot of these people, saying these silly things, are not bad people. They are not all evil, or hateful. Maybe they’re ignorant, but making fun of people for being ignorant is not an especially helpful thing to do. And, in retrospect, contributing to the site probably didn’t really do any good, and may have done some harm. So, yeah, I shouldn’t have done it.

But can the people who gossip and accuse and discuss things behind closed doors be the ones to tell me that? Are those who condemned Annabel Lee to Hell without a second’s thought really ready to look down on me for backstabbing? The staff of a site which never issued so much as a warning for people saying things like “does it bother you that you won’t be remembered in heaven” to a good Christian woman, can they really judge?

My God, people! THEY NEVER EVEN APOLOGIZED. None of them did.

Was I wrong? Sure.

But it seems to me that I’m not exactly the center of the backstabbing, gossiping, and judging problem here. No, not at all.

Perhaps these people are calm and content, happy with their position, happy with the way they’ve treated other folks on this board… but that calm is the eye of the storm.

Peter Seebach

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Comments

  1. Seebs, you are a total legend, man. I always appreciated your posts at CF. Great to see that you're still sticking up for the little guys.

    Rock on. :)

    Evangelion · 2003-06-01 06:47 · #

  2. Good points. I still can't believe how rude the mods at CF were to Annabel. And to see them complaining about being quoted at my site without a chance to reply, when they said she couldn't post in the Christians-only sections... haw haw!

    WinAce · 2003-06-07 08:04 · #

  3. Yes I know how you feel. I have a constant problem with the mods at CFforums.They always take my blessings and I was recently suspended for a month for using such harsh words as "silly" and "self righteous". Just deny God, he will understand. haha peace, Paul..

    — foolsparade · 2003-06-25 17:10 · #

  4. Foolsparade,

    Since the blessings system isn't likely to return anytime soon, your concern is probably moot. :)

    NYJ · 2003-07-07 12:41 · #

  5. That really stinks. And whats really sad is that it happens quite often. I know of several people who have been rejected from being a mod at CF because of something quite trivial in the big run (like one political belief or emotional distress). You keep on keepin on

    — Blanton911 · 2003-10-26 04:52 · #

  6. this doesn't help me one bit!!

    — anabells' husband · 2003-11-18 18:25 · #

  7. I think you know my opinion on this Seebs. To many evangelical type Christians you have to believe the same on like at least 4 or 5 things to be considered one of them. That is no excuse for the backstabbing, and judging, but reality. Since I now believe there is no such thing as the Holy Spirit controlling those folks, including the mods, I think that they are just being a bunch of humans with power to control who goes where, and when, on their board.

    — Lanakila · 2003-12-17 05:34 · #

  8. I visited the christianforums site a few times and honestly don't know what to make of it. From the few threads I've read, it seems to be an eclectic hodgepodge of this, that and the other, run by a group of liberals who don't really care what goes on. The slander and in-fighting is worse than non Christian boards I've been on. It's a shame. We'll all have to pray for them.

    — Brad Newman · 2004-04-01 17:18 · #

  9. There are some good, genuine Christians at CF, altho I would have to say there are some imposters too, including 3 mods who if they could have it there way would eradicate Christianity altogether!

    — SuzieQ · 2004-04-17 18:36 · #

  10. I dont understand what the big deal is..its just a forum board people! All we need is thicker skin and the ability to forgive people for whatever meaningless offense they gave.
    I mean really, its only a message board,
    not another episode of Days Of Our Lives.

    — reusablepheonix · 2004-06-11 16:07 · #

  11. This was not a meaningless offense, Reusablepheonix.
    (I'm assuming you are the same Reusuable from CF.)
    You've mentioned many times online how cruelly you were treated by your Christian friends and family and never once did I belittle or make light of your experiences.
    I would appreciate the same damned consideration.
    Capiche sweetheart?

    — Annabel Lee · 2004-06-18 15:56 · #

  12. I'm not entirely familiar with the circumstances. Send me an email and I can talk to some of the staff.

    seebs · 2004-08-05 18:10 · #

  13. I really hate that the mods have done this to you...alot of them do the same to me...yes I was a mod once but quit after realizing some of the things going on were too much for me...I really can't say anything about what I'm talking about. I do know how you feel becaus I too have went through the same kind of things alot lately. It seems likes alot of the mods are out to get me for some reason or another. No one has any idea how many times I have got a pm asking me to edit my posts when I saw nothing wrong with them. I can't even voice my opinion because in one way or another I am flaming someone or thier beliefs...but when I or my beliefs get flamed it is ok :(....and then when I ask what is wrong with my posts they give me the run around and tell me I should already know the answer since I'm a formal mod...I have lost many friends on CF because of the same things...and when I ask if anyone knows where they are and what happened to them my posts get deleted and I get a warning...dsdumpling being one of the friends that I lost...Phileo being another one..and there are alot more..but too many to name...I'm sick and tired of getting the run around...and have realized that the mods that were my friends while I was a mod aren't anymore because....well I don't know the answer :(...but I can guess it is something to do with me not being a mod anymore

    Snowy · 2005-02-18 08:36 · #

  14. Point of (Partial) Information: I do believe that sometime since this was written a member of the CF staff (NYJ) did apologize to Annabel. To what degree that represented an official statement by CF, I do not know.

    Please correct me if I am wrong about this.

    — Brimshack · 2005-05-29 02:58 · #

  15. You are right, nyj gave her an official apology last year sometime. I think it's reasonable to assume that this was as official a statement as one could hope for. He's a good man.

    seebs · 2005-05-29 03:27 · #

  16. The prize, of course, was a post on another BBS where she described herself as a semi-heathen. Now, anyone watching this, anyone paying the slightest attention to her posts, her history, and the abuse heaped upon her, would have heard this for what it is; bitter sarcasm, a last defense of a woman under attack, and the only way to keep sane when your "friends" (and fellow Christians are supposed to be good friends) are dogpiling you in an effort to kick you out of the club. And, in the midst of this betrayal, of this attack, she resorted only to bitter self-deprecating humor. Even then, she never attacked them. They could have understood this, and learned from it.

    But they didn't. They cast her out. And, and this is the beauty, they never asked. No one actually stopped and said "Annabel, some people are unsure of what you believe. Are you Christian?". No one thought her opinion mattered; they could judge, and condemn.
    ____________________________

    Sounds like my story with CF back in 2006. Your dealing with Transformational Marxist's, Dan. I've got dvd's to give to you showing you where this Global United Nations is going and it's right in the churches and in our Am. Gov't. Want the dvd's Ron and I will have them sent to you, your address helps! (ha ha).

    Connie.l.lewis

    @

    verizon

    dot (.)

    net

    Love,
    Connie

    — Connie - Jesus Is Real · 2008-10-17 14:05 · #

  17. Perhaps these people are calm and content, happy with their position, happy with the way they've treated other folks on this board... but that calm is the eye of the storm. - Dan


    Dan, yeah remember me in 2006 when I was crying to you and Joykins, I too at that time in 2006 was right in that eye of the storm. I never once put them down in post or in thought. I just kept crying to God and you and Joykins, but there was no help. And there still isn't. Did you know Dan, that eventually they would fire me down too?

    I recently came back to CF only to learn more about a man who contacted me a week ago, come to find out he's full of rage and is most likely trying to gain money for his habit in the church. Sad.

    Love,
    Connie

    — Connie - Jesus Is Real · 2008-10-17 14:19 · #

 
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