Apologetics in the Void" are repostings from an on-going electronic discussion and debate I had some time ago with members of our local community, whose names I have changed. The list serve is called Vision 20/20, and hence the name "visionaries." Reading just these posts probably feels like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but I don't feel at liberty to publish what others have written. But I have been editing these posts (lightly) with intelligibility in mind.
I am grateful to Susannah, Joanne, and Angie for condemning acts of public malice. I really do appreciate it, and accept Susannah's sincere regret at face value. But Duane is in a different category -- he is against all that stuff too, especially since we probably did it to ourselves.
At the same time, please take note. Rodger had a cogent point on the issue of climate. When the Wrong Group becomes the Evil Group, when the Presbyterians become a cult, when the conservatives become the Nazis, why are we surprised when some of the less stable on "one side" carry the implications of the rhetoric against the "other side?" When the overheated rhetoric of two UI history professors were posted on a university-owned website (e.g. Grant is an "unabashed racist ideologue,"), the unstable on your side know how racist ideologues and their fellow travelers are to be treated. The problem is, the charge was false, all the way down to the ground. So please recognize that someone needs to take responsibility for the climate.
Susannah was sympathetic with our situation in this because of the form she is more familiar with (e.g. "Fags must die."). But you remember, don't you, our church's public opposition to the Fred Phelps approach? As some of you probably know, we are a church that practices church discipline -- not for people who differ with the pastor, or the needy souls who skulk anonymously. We practice church discipline for big ticket Ten Commandment items like adultery and grand theft auto. And if someone in our congregation took the Phelpsian "fags must die" approach, and did not heed our warnings about it, we would discipline them for it, putting them out of the church if they did not repent of their malice.
And then all we would have to do is wait for that action to be construed as a Stalinist tactic.