A concern troll chimed in today and informed us that our usage of the term ‘concern troll’ wasn’t correct. As we’ve explained over the years, we have our own house definition. Other online forums use the same policy and it is defined by sites like 'Urban Dictionary,' but it's usually like the third definition down and most people don't read that far.
See, the thing is, with a community this large it simply isn’t possible to please everyone all the time, especially when discussing religion and politics from a progressive point of view.
The Christian Left ministry and community is for people who truly WANT to be here. The key word being 'want.' We are not a drive-by page. We aren't a debate page. We're a page and a forum for Christian progressives and their allies. We are a haven for people who have been beat up by The "Christian" Right. Our community is a safe place for people who have had to read those stupid emails all there lives that insult liberals and any politician that isn't a Republican.
All of this being the case, for our purposes a ‘concern troll’ is someone who engages behavior similar to the following example, "I really love your page BUT, I’m really concerned about (blah, blah, blah, blah) that you are doing," or, "(blah, blah, blah, blah) that you are not doing the way I think it should be done." It then devolves into something along the lines of, "You need to take down this post," or "You need to stop doing that. It isn’t very Christian." We could continue with the variants of concern troll statements ad nauseam.
Some critics would call what we have an 'echo chamber.' So be it. We are what we are, and we make no apologies. There are many echo chambers out there these days. Fox "News" is one big one. Besides, everyone has a right to have a haven. Lecturing us is like an abusive partner busting into a battered women's shelter and proclaiming, "This place is nothing but an echo chamber!"
We don't mind if someone imparts friendly knowledge to us about something in a civil manner. There's a big difference between that and concern trolling. If something is a matter of opinion, correcting someone about it is probably concern trolling. People are welcome to share their opinion on any topic as long as they are civil and polite. After that they should move on to the next topic. Their opinion will be noted for everyone to see. We must emphasize this point again, we aren't a debate forum.
Some may not find this policy agreeable to them. They have feel like they are in charge of what we do and we must run the page the way they see fit. Sorry, that isn't going to happen. No one is forced to be here. If our policy isn't agreeable to you, you are invited to go in peace.
Concern trolling is disruptive to the community and ends up crippling online forums to the point of being catatonic and ineffective, basically disabling them carrying out their mission. We’re not going to let that happen here. That’s why we initiated our trolling policy 13 years ago and included our variant of concern trolling. We ask that if you don’t like a post or something we say or do, please scroll on by to the next post. Again, there’s no way we can please all people, all the time. Thanks.
Gestures obscured because social media companies are random and unpredictable with regard to what they will sanction you over. You just never know.
Last week we posted an article from Politico titled, “Barbershop Confrontations, Profane Signs and Despair: Pro-Biden and Alone in Rural America" (Politico.com)
"Rural Democrats suffer in silence, abandoned by a party that they fear has stopped fighting to win the places where they live."
It’s no surprise to us that it hit home with a large segment of The Christian Left community. We’ve known people described in the article have been underserved for decades. We felt isolated and underserved ourselves. It’s one of the biggest reasons we started this ministry 13 years ago.
One of our members posted a lengthy comment in the thread below the article. It spoke to us and many others because it describes so well what so many of us go through on a regular basis. We obtained permission from the author of the comment to repost it on our blog withholding the person’s name for obvious reasons. Here it is:
[Beginning Of Member Comment]
"I live in what I refer to as the ‘reddest neck of the woods’ in rural Alabama. This article hit home with me. I am a full-time caregiver for my ill and disabled parents. Sometimes we think we’re the only Democrats in this town and the only liberal Christians who live here.
We lost our housekeeper and all of our other home care people because they refuse to get vaccinated. My father is 78 with advanced Parkinson's, and my mother is 75 with advanced MS. My mom is totally crippled and bed/wheelchair bound. I have limited use of one hand, and although we are all vaccinated 3 times and boosted, I am the sole person caring for my parents. We can’t get safe healthcare workers here.
I could tell you plenty of horror stories about things medical staff and others have said to us. A nurse from ‘home health’ went out of her way to call and harass my mom with anti-vaccine talking points. Her doctor put us at risk for COVID by being careless about exposure. We have been called ‘demon rats’ by family members. Our concern about the pandemic in 2020 was met with, “If you have the blood of Jesus, you need not fear dying.” We’ve being called 'baby-killers' and had Q-anonsense shoved down our throats from some at local businesses. We have no friends and we are estranged from family over deep political divisions and more.
Take a guess WHY none of them will get vaccinated, and why so few in this area are. Why all the hate? Why we are shunned? Five letters, starting with a T and ending with a rump. He made it OK for them to display their thoughts and actions in full view of everyone. Confederate flags fly high on houses next to Trump 2020 and American flags. We wanted to put up a Biden sign in 2020 but we were terrified of arson or being shot if it was on our car. It is horrible.
Much of the time I am stressed beyond belief and worried about taking care of all three of us, but my faith is what keeps me going. We wish we could move but we cannot at this time. All of the churches in town are very legalistic and evangelical. I am in contact with a caring liberal-minded church in the next county, a half hour away. Right now I watch virtual services but hope I can find some like-minded connections there.
It’s a challenge for us mostly because of how the disregard for the pandemic prevents us from getting safe medical help. Most here have always viewed COVID as a 'hoax to rig the 2020 election.' Still, we stand our ground because we believe that God is Love and Christ is about being kind to others. Any form of hate will never have a place in our home. Sorry for this post being so long but this article resonated very deeply with our experience. My prayers are with anyone else dealing with this kind of situation."
[End Of Member Comment]
There's not much more to add to something like that. It touches our souls because it is so very tragic. We wish we could say it was an isolated incident but we know it's not. It's the norm in 'Red America.'
That's why this ministry is so important and why we need your support today. We need as much support as we can get so we can expand our outreach in the service of people who suffer alone with little or no support from those around them. There's a lot more we could do. This is important. We have to have the financial backing to do it. Make a contribution today and sign up to make it monthly. Be a sustaining member of this ministry. We serve people like the person who wrote about their experience above.
Click here to make a secure contribution.
-- The Christian Left
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.