Oct 21, 2011

Beliefnet Goes Bigot

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Remember when Beliefnet.com was all about tolerance and religious diversity? Well, I do. I'm not saying there wasn't the occasional dustup. And, in fairness, I've never been a really active member or reader. But it was always a good place to find interesting content on many different religions and events around the globe pertaining to religion.

Years ago I put a Beliefnet news feed on my iGoogle page and often saw interesting items scroll through. More recently, however, I've noticed a dramatic shift in tone. It's taken a sharp Christian Right turn. I often see articles that seem to pit the Christian West against other cultures -- Muslims in particular. I toyed with the idea of removing the feed but I haven't as yet. It's taken on a kind of compelling, train-wreck quality. Periodically I just have to see what bold, new wingnuttery is gracing its pages.

Now, bear in mind, this is the feed for Beliefnet News. It's the not the Christian section, let alone the Christian Right section, which doesn't exist as near as I can tell. Well, it wouldn't need to because now the news section is fitting that particular bill.

The news feed used to bring reprints or excerpts from world religion related news stories without commentary. Now it appears to be the blog of one Rob Kerby who I'm afraid holds the title of Senior Editor. So is he a Christianist (to borrow a Sullyism) and bigot? Here's a recent post.

Members of the football team stomped out of a Hartford, Connecticut, high school assembly when a pro-homosexual advocacy play featured two boys kissing on stage.

. . .

It apparently did not occur to [Principal David Chambers] that some of the kids had moral issues with the scene — believing that glorifying same-gender romance is wrong. Chambers’ intent was to wear down the students sense of disgust and discomfort with viewing homosexuality on stage.

He goes on to quote a bevy of outraged Christians and closes with this:

“I applaud the young men that got up and left the show,” wrote Jacqueline. ”It shows courage to stand up for what is right. Instead of sitting by silently and being forced to accept views they do not agree with, they stood up for their on beliefs and convictions. Real men stand with courage for what is right.”

I posted a comment questioning the pro-bigotry tone of the piece. I asked why these supposedly Bible believing Christians aren't demanding the execution of gay people, along the lines of points I addressed here. And I asked when these Christians were going to stop slacking and go after all the pork and shellfish eaters. As you can plainly see, that comment is no longer there. So I attempted to post another comment questioning the censorious nature of the site. It wouldn't post so they've clearly blocked my IP or something.

So, the "news" section of Beliefnet is now little more than a megaphone for far right, Christianist bigotry and they're not tolerating any questions about that policy. Pity. It used to be a very worthwhile site.

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