Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Idle Randomness

Two thoughts today, neither one sufficiently complex--at least right now--for their own dedicated posts.

First: the whole Facebook "friend/unfriend" phenomenon.
Second: do I have the right to moderate and "censor" comments on my personal blog?

Discussed below.

First: why should I be made to feel guilty because I "unfriend" you on Facebook? I mean, honestly?

Background: I do not know about you, but my Facebook wall is locked down pretty tightly, restricted only to my friends. I have a friend who has recently decided that our once-mutual faith and belief system is no longer "doing it" for him. He has lost his testimony, is now falling away from the Gospel of Christ and, in so doing, is becoming quite caustic and belligerent about religion in his Facebook posts. I know he thinks it is humor, as do his little circle of like-minded friends that swarm around his anti-Church posts.

For example: "When you are sad, it is most likely because you are actually feeling guilt for something you once did that you forgot but God never did forget and never will. You're going to Hell."

His friends immediatly gather around, some of whom are actually text-laughing like Beavis and Butthead, but all of whom are chuckling like hyenas and making similar comments about spirituality, guilt, the evils of believing in organized religion and Christ, not to mention how ridiculous it is that people should be made to feel guilty about doing what feels good.

I want to believe that it is a phase, that it is something else that is making him feel this way. He has always been a bit liberal in his beliefs (spiritual and political), at least since I have known him. We have always been able to find some common ground upon which we can agree, however tenuous. However, just recently he has started mocking Christ and Christian values. I refuse to even cite an example, however.

Ummm.... I am not sure it matters WHO you are, but you really do not want to mock one of the Godhead, do you? I mean, is that smart?

In short, all of what he posts lately is pretty offensive to the other 143 friends I have. I have received comments about it.

So: should I feel any guilt about either (1) hiding his posts or (2) unfriending him altogether? In the past he has blasted his family members who have defriended him (although how one learns one has been defriended, I do not know) and has let it affect his familial relationships. That is why I hestiate. He is still a friend for whom I will continue to pray and a colleague with whom I need to interact on a weekly basis. But do I really need to be subjected to his anti-religious sarcasm and vitriol on a daily basis?

Perhaps I will simply hide him for now.

[Sigh] Why on earth does social media turn so many adults into whiny little children?

Second: Do I have the right to moderate and "censor" what goes on here, on my own personal blog?

I am of differing opinions here. I can see both sides; I do not AGREE with both sides, but I can see the arguments.

[Aside: I should note that I have good readers and, at least to this point in time, have been extremely fortunate on this issue. I have fellow bloggers, however, who are constantly being attacked ON THEIR OWN BLOGS, and then criticized when they do something about the attacks.]

I realize that by putting my opinions out here on the internet and inviting comments on what I write, I lose a little bit of credibility with the argument. However, it is my space, my little bit of the 'web.

I believe that I can say that I have never once deleted or moderated a comment that made a negative or contrary argument to one of my posts. I delete spam on a regular basis, but only spam. I do not believe in deleting comments, but then I have not yet received one that is openly offensive. I cannot say what I will do in the event that happens.

But is it "censorship"? I think that is stretching it. To me, a "censor" is one who has some authority or control over others. While you could argue that I have control over your posts, and deleting said posts is an act of censorship, that might be true if it was, technically, a public forum.

Think of it in this way: I have invited a group of you into my house. Many of you are complimentary of my house, my LW, the Horde, and comment favorably about my religious artwork and books throughout the house. However, several of you take it upon yourself to belittle my beliefs, throw food at the walls, and put down my LW and the Horde, not to mention the expletives that you fling around. Would any of you actually fault me for throwing that small minority out of my house and try and spray Lysol around to get rid of the odor? Would any of you really tolerate me doing the same in your house?

Would any of you, in that instance, consider me a censor?

Why then consider me a censor for doing the same to those who come into my little house on the 'web and do the same thing?

Hey, mock me all you want on your blog. That is your space. You and your little friends can do that all you want, remembering of course the libel laws. But when you come into my space and mock me, my beliefs, or -- Heaven help you -- my family? You are in my house and can expect to be shown the door.

And before you pull out the "free speech" or a Constitutional argument--technically speaking, only the Government can violate a person's Constitutional rights. And for better or worse, I ain't the Government. In my house, your right to swing your arms around wildly ends at the tip of my nose.

If any of you have additional thoughts for me, I would welcome them.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Independence Day

A Happy Independence Day to all and sundry citizens of the United States of America!

Notice I do not say "Fourth of July." Everyone has a fourth of July. Even Great Britain.

And if you do not understand why I single out Great Britain, you are (unfortunately and sadly) in good company, with approximately 25% of the citizens of the US of A. At least according to a recent poll.

May you be safe in your revels. Try not to blow off any body parts (I speak from personal experience as a childhood friend nearly blew his hand off with fireworks. I myself burned myself quite badly with a sparkler I thought was spent; I learned differently when a piece fell on my sandal-clad foot and badly burned two toes.)

May you remember not just our freedoms, rights, and gifts we enjoy as citizens, but also those who fought (and those who died) for the defense of the US of A and those freedoms, rights, and gifts. Take some time in the next 24 hours to read about those freedoms, rights, and gifts; there are plenty of places.... Try here for example.

May you remember who put their lives on the line some 235 years ago, committing treason to do so, and signed a document hitherto unknown in the history of our world. These brave men...these heroes...their names are as follows:
Delaware
•George Read •Caesar Rodney •Thomas McKean

Pennsylvania
•George Clymer •Benjamin Franklin •Robert Morris •John Morton •Benjamin Rush •George Ross •James Smith •James Wilson •George Taylor

Massachusetts
•John Adams •Samuel Adams •John Hancock •Robert Treat Paine •Elbridge Gerry

New Hampshire
• Josiah Bartlett •William Whipple •Matthew Thornton

Rhode Island
•Stephen Hopkins •William Ellery

New York
•Lewis Morris •Philip Livingston •Francis Lewis •William Floyd

Georgia
•Button Gwinnett •Lyman Hall •George Walton

Virginia
•Richard Henry Lee •Francis Lightfoot Lee •Carter Braxton •Benjamin Harrison •Thomas Jefferson •George Wythe •Thomas Nelson, Jr.

North Carolina
•William Hooper •John Penn •Joseph Hewes

South Carolina
•Edward Rutledge •Arthur Middleton •Thomas Lynch, Jr. •Thomas Heyward, Jr.

New Jersey
•Abraham Clark •John Hart •Francis Hopkinson •Richard Stockton •John Witherspoon

Connecticut
•Samuel Huntington •Roger Sherman •William Williams •Oliver Wolcott

Maryland
•Charles Carroll •Samuel Chase •Thomas Stone •William Paca

In fact, take some time and learn about these heroes. This site is a good place to start.

But you should not stop there. Remember the document itself. That piece of parchment that declared thirteen colonies' independence from a distant king. Join me, my LW, and the Horde as we read the words together first thing tomorrow morning. These are words, along with the Constitution, that should never be forgotten.

Never.

With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, I pledge to these principles, my Life, my Fortune, and my sacred Honor.

Happy Independence Day.... A Happy Birthday to the Greatest Country on Earth. We may have some problems, but we are a darn sight better than the alternatives.

And as you prepare to label me a "jingoist," let me just say: go right ahead. That is your right to believe and speak as you wish.

That is all part of what we are celebrating.

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