So, the truth is that I’d actually rather you read my latest blog post about fundamentalism in America, and how it’s the church’s moral responsibility to combat said fundamentalism through adequate teaching. I’d even prefer that you read my analysis of media coverage related to Reza Aslan’s new book, which was apparently well-written enough for him to also share with his followers. But since you’re here right now, I guess I’ll tell you the story of how I googled myself this morning… (Yes, yes, I know I shouldn’t do that)… and found a thread on a political website in which 48 racist, misogynistic and down-right mean comments were written about yours truly. Yes, you read it right. I wrote something about the intersection of religion, race and politics in America, and there were some hateful readers who didn’t like it. (Imagine that.)
My blog posts are syndicated on several websites– a privilege and high compliment I feel honored to enjoy. Apparently, when The Christian Century syndicated my reflection on the Zimmerman verdict, a user over at a website called Free Republic re-posted the article to their message board along with a picture of me, and then opened the floor for comments.
Now, if you read my blog and the comments here, or if you keep up with me in the world of social media, then you know I’m no shrinking violet. I can handle criticism, and I openly invite readers to disagree with me in my comment policy. I blog because I enjoy substantive, intelligent discussions about matters related to faith and life, not because I’m looking for an echo chamber– and, so I expect a bit of pushback from readers. However, that’s not what happened here. These comments– the ones published and left unmoderated on the Free Republic website– are of a wholly different variety. For instance, the first person to respond to the article quoted the final sentence of my piece which reads, “I fought the urge to escape our society and the urge to wait patiently for divine intervention. And then I prayed for clarity on what I might do to help change the world,” and wrote in response to that line:
And then [she] went out and looted a store.
Other comments include:
Looks like she could change the world by skipping the snacks and filling food shelves.
Black people proving that they never watched 1 second of the trial… Or if they did, proving that they are either racists or blithering idiots.
She demonstrates the root of the problem. The black churches have abandoned the gospel for a man-centered, collectivist world view with a Christian veneer. They want to ignore the connection between sowing and reaping.
From personal experience, Black churches may be churches, but they sure aren’t Christian. Thye (sic) worship the gospel of The Black Experience and wait on the Blessed Hope of more and better government programs.
She can escape any time she wants. There are several methods, from buying an airline ticket, to suicide.
The self-important young thing seems full of herself. Fortunately, she seems to have the frame to hold it all in.
Move back to Africa. You’ll love it there… for the three minutes you survive.
Ms. St. Marie Lewis, here is a short list of things you can do:
1. Do not have sex before marriage so that your children will not be fatherless
And then, of course, there are the references to a rare skin disease I live with and have written about in the past. I found it odd that those references were made, as one would have to be googling pretty darned hard to find out that information. (One commenter found it hilarious to suggest that my illness might be affecting my intelligence level– because jokes about incurable diseases and mental illness are funny? I dunno. Whatever.)
My favorite comments, however, were those in which users published my email address and recommended that their readers write to me directly. That would explain the hate-mail I received on the morning of July 15.
I would write more about this, but I need to hurry up and become a registered member of the Republican party! Haven’t you heard? They love Black folks over there, and they want us to join!!!
Oh. Wait. Never mind.