LOL. I read your first paragraph and was totally into writing a heated response to it, when I thought--hey! I should finish reading what he has to say. So, um, as to my now-obliterated post-in-progress: never mind.
Here's what I will say instead: As to your proposal about a sticky, I don't really have an opinion one way or another--it might actually be helpful. As for hypocrisy on FLAK, superficial or otherwise, well, we are all human beings, and as such, certainly prone to hypocrisy in many ways. I won't say we don't have it, in fact, just because we're human, I would say you can bet on it. But on your specific points, I do disagree about hypocrisy here on FLAK:
...we criticize the church for being harsh on those who do not fit in, and so are we.
Hm. Well, you may have us dead to rights here. I keep trying to come up with an argument against this and can't really think of one. LOL.
We criticize the church for silencing alternate views, and we silence alternate views.
Actually, we don't silence alternate views. We do respond to them, discuss them, even shout rather loudly at them. But we don't silence them. There are a small handful of (more or less) TBMs here who do put out alternate views. They have managed to find the skill of talking about their beliefs without condemning or attacking the character of people who don't agree and without feeling that they must bear some kind of "solemn testimony" or something when they do it. Even amongst the (far larger) non-believing contingent, we disagree on many, many points. Nobody's viewpoint is silenced. If somebody wants to fall silent because they don't see the point of arguing or they feel outnumbered (which is certainly NOBODY'S fault--people don't get outnumbered as a matter of intent) or they don't see the point or whatever, well, it happens. But it's not a matter of policy on the board. You can rant and rave about most things ad nauseum around here (see: the entire CC Hall). But getting pushback is NOT the same as silencing. It just isn't.
We criticize the church for hiding behind "we do not need to debate" and we do the same.
Sorry, very different thing. I think we're very clear that this is not a debate board. It's not because there is no need for debate or "we do not need to" (I don't think we've ever said that). We've said (as you do point out) over and over that there are other places for debate and that this place has a very different purpose and function that would be undermined by turning it into a place to debate TBMs. So saying that this
is not a debate board is not at all the same as saying "we do not need to debate." We don't say that at all, and lots of our members DO debate TBMS on boards and blogs where that is the purpose. We aren't hiding behind anything.
As far as TBMs still trying to believe--I disagree about how you're reading the definition of "disaffected"
Disaffected = Dissatisfied with the people in authority and no longer willing to support them.
If somebody is still trying to believe, then by this definition, they are not yet "disaffected." I was dissatisfied for years and years when I was in that boat of trying really hard to believe. I would never had seen myself during that time as a "disaffected" member. Quite the contrary. I saw myself as engaged in a pitched (and ultimately soul-shredding) struggle to be "willing to support them." I would have stayed away from places like this (had they existed) no matter WHAT anybody said.
Who I worry more about are people who have made the move in their heads and hearts into allowing themselves to see that the church isn't true. What those people need -- what I needed, and I am still SO grateful that I found it on old Foyer -- is a place to safely, without fear of silencing or judgment speak the truth of what they see and most importantly, have felt, including all the anger the church and the church line of bullshit (er, rhetoric).
I'll just give you a case in point: you may remember a while back there was a minor kerfuckle about GA sock puppets. Some people were VERY upset because the sock puppets were, in what was intended to be a humorous way, trotting out all the church rhetoric in all the churchy ways. I happen to think (and I argued at the time) that this is a legitimate (and healthy and important) way of dealing with the anger, by lampooning it, making it ridiculous, and that we shouldn't clamp down on the parodies because some people need them. But there were a number of people who were still so sensitized over the church and it's damaging crap that they couldn't even hear it in a joking way. It was really painful for them.
How much worse is that going to be if those people have to come here and hear it FOR REAL. After six years now of complete disaffection, I am only getting to the point that I can tolerate it myself. To be honest, I think wavering TBMs are not our audience. As you point out, hand-holding sites like NOM or Fringe even post-mo are much better for them. To me, the people who REALLY need support and a safe place are those who have decided they are out and have cut themselves loose from those old rotten moorings. It's an incredibly vulnerable time and I think a lot of people would be driven away by the presence of TBM rhetoric and debate. I would have not spent five minutes here if that had been the case. On the other hand, I cannot even describe the level of relief I felt when I started posted at the Foyer and got not condemnation and argument, but calm and reasoned support and validation that I wasn't crazy or evil or weak. While I do love Dathon and a lot of the people at NOM, I have never ever been able to stomach it because of the really true silencing that goes on over there to make it safe for the people you describe--wavering TBMs. And as for Fringe--yikes. That place was traumatic for me the few times I went over there and lurked. It worked for them, but it was not (and still is not) what I needed at that really critical juncture.
I don't think establishing the boundaries that are needed to make this place safe for that other group constitutes even superficial hypocrisy. I don't want to seem militant on this point, but I think it's important that we keep clear about what we are about here. And it ain't to make TBMs comfortable--even ones with doubts. For all the difficulties that group has, they're not (yet) in a dangerous state. And I truly believe that a lot of people who are done and just moving out of the TBM world ARE in a dangerous and vulnerable state. They need this place in a much more immediate and urgent way. I really feel like we need to make it safe for THEM. I mean, even NOM couldn't tolerate a raging TBM in the house (just ask SillyNut
). It's not hypocrisy to make a safe haven for traumatized people, especially when there are plenty of other places for others to go. And I just kind of think it's important that we keep ourselves unapologetically clear about that.