Monday, September 8, 2014

Things This Blog Has Been Called This Week — A Sequel, Responding to Terri Hemker's Question to Me Yesterday

Because Terri Hemker asks me a direct question in this comment here yesterday, and because it's directly related to my reason for needing some time to muster my resources and think about matters for a few days (something I blogged about yesterday), I'm going to contravene my rule of silence now to answer Terri's question with a posting. This is my reply to her in the discussion thread in which she asked her question.

Terri asks me, 

Bill, are you being sent intimidating letters or email or receiving calls from NCR threatening you in any way? Because that would really tick me off and that really wouldn't be wise for anyone to do! I don't have any money for anyone to take and I have no physical strength but, what I do have is determination and plenty of time on my hands.

Here's what I replied to Terri:

Terri, since you ask me a direct question here and since it's related to my reason for taking a break from my blog for several days, I want to answer. 
Yes. Someone connected to NCR began threatening me in emails within 4 days after I posted my first report about Jerry's censorship at NCR, the report that has had 1726 reads, as of today. I won't go into details unless this person chooses to escalate her attacks. 
The attacks have already moved from condescending statements informing me that I am theologically ignorant, to disparaging statements about my "blog" (her quotation marks) and me personally, to implied threats of legal action. 
This person has close ties to NCR and also to the USCCB, and if she chooses to escalate the attacks, then I think both those entities would be drawn into a messy public discussion about how they do their behind-the-scenes work. That messy public discussion would occur in the media and on blogs, and perhaps also in courtrooms. 
This is not to say that the person sending me threatening and insulting emails is acting on behalf of NCR. I do not know that. I know only that she is on their journalistic team, and such of her work as I have critiqued at my blog is published there. 
And given the timing of her email attacks and threats, it is impossible for me — and would be impossible for others — to dissociate the attacks from my choice to tell Jerry's story of censorship on my grim, ill-informed, disrespectful "blog." 
Need I add that the person on the attack also has an easily documented track record of disdain for the gay community and gay people, and that her reading of Catholic theology is not encouraging for the full inclusion of gay folks in the church — or for respectful treatment of and honest dialogue with those who are gay, on the part of the Catholic community?

And so this is the rest of the story about my decision to spend some days mustering my inner resources and thinking things through — re: which I blogged yesterday. Even when I'm "on vacation"  or "taking time off," I do always read and moderate comments at my blog site, since I think it would be irresponsible for me not to do so. I've found that when spammers know I'm not posting for a number of days, for instance, they sometimes try to run spam through the Disqus system.

I also simply take seriously the task of moderation and of trying to prevent the kinds of nasty trolling attacks that occur in discussion threads at too many blog sites. I feel obliged to be sure that I know exactly what people are posting on a site I moderate, and to prevent the use of the combox at my site to mount mean-spirited attacks against targeted individuals. 

So please know I'm reading your comments and am very grateful for them, even if I don't respond. Please keep me in your thoughts, too.

On the graphic, please see the second link above.

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