ChristianForums case study: Annabel Lee

2006-11-09 03:13

I’m going to use an example here, but I have to give you a caveat first: One of the CF staff, some time after this, came out and gave a real apology for it. In a very real sense, this offense has been addressed.

However, it gives a huge amount of insight into crucial components of the CF experience as it has gradually changed over time. This story was, once, one of the first things I ever wrote about on my blog; the entry was WinAce, Annabel Lee, and Hypocrisy.

The story goes like this. CF used to have some pretty vehement anti-Catholics, and often they would get pretty hostile about the Catholics. For instance, LouisBooth used to accuse Annabel of ignoring the Bible and just making things up. (One of the staffers commented, in response to a complaint about this, something to the effect of “well, isn’t it true?”)

Anyway, at some point, Annabel got kicked out of the Christians-only forums. Why? Because someone decided she wasn’t really Christian. One of her posts was removed, and so on.

Did anyone ask her? No. Did anything happen? Well, when she complained, staff mobilized. They had a problem — a completely baseless accusation — and they reacted in the way that the Sanhedrin and Pharisees have always reacted. They went out searching for a basis. Eventually, they found a sarcastic and bitter remark about their total failure to moderate insults directed at Catholics in general, and Annabel Lee in particular, and they cited it as proof that she was not really a Christian.

This one has a happy ending; when nyj, a senior staffer (and an honest one at that) found out that her continued complaints about this were related to the failure of anyone at CF to actually acknowledge that these actions were wrong and harmful, he apologized. He acknowledged that the actions were wrong, and that they should not have happened, and that he would do his best to ensure that they did not happen in the future.

So, although it took a couple of years, during some of which time an especially devout woman was too hurt by Christians to feel comfortable claiming the title “Christian”, it was eventually resolved.

But… Were any of the people involved actually apologetic? No. The only people who apologized were the people who weren’t involved. This tells you a lot.

CF has always had a problem with people too proud to admit that they’ve ever made a mistake.

More to come!

Peter Seebach



  1. Oh yes, and did I mention that we now have a mandate? And some political capital? And we're gonna spend it!

    Your days of power are OVER!

    — Goliath · 2006-11-09 18:58 · #

  2. Goliath, you are confused. Seebs is not on the religious right. I am amused by your delusions of grandeur. The pragmatists in both parties will ignore your concerns. You have no capital. And when the wheel turns as it always does...

    — tubby · 2007-02-07 19:10 · #

  3. Sadly I have far more to suggest things is not quite right about christianforums, since my three weeks on it, please see the following and bless you much:

    Lee · 2009-02-20 10:45 · #