In yet another hope that there could be peaceful and open discussion between our readers, I decided to try to open up a Shoutbox on NFTU. After trying multiple commenting platforms and dealing with dozens of complaints about their restrictive nature both before and after each change, I asked to create the little Shoutbox on the bottom of the page, so that people could speak their minds freely.
And it didn’t take long for the nasty, repetitive comments to begin appearing. At first I thought this was something that could be moderated through discussion. However, the truth is that people who hate True Orthodoxy really hate it. It dumbfounds me. There is no sense I can get of decency in these discussions. I am forced, finally, after years of trying to balance my sense of responsibility to proper reportage with the desire to give other people the right of opinion, to admit it’s impossible to allow totally free speech on this site.
Even engaging these people with the truth is a mistake; such folk will simply call you a liar and repeat themselves. Repeating the truth only gives the impression to the reader that the truth and the lie are 2 repeated understandings. I must advise people to research the truth themselves. When we report on an OCA Bishop and then repeated claims are made that this man is not a Bishop of the OCA at all, I can only advise them to go to the OCA’s website. When someone claims, falsely, that “In the Orthodox Church it is canonically the Truth that a cleric who divorces his wife to become a Bishop is deposed and excommunicated, to you TOC”, I have to point out that if both parties– husband and wife, agree to become monastics, that married men have in fact then been divorced, made monastics, and elevated to the Episcopate. But what of readers who don’t have the facts on hand? They can fall right into the traps of those who prey on the uninformed.
Tthe truth is– once the truth has been given and it is ignored– that we must admit some people have no interest in trying to determine the truth, but cover it up. Some people, I finally concede after years of attempting to assume the best, deserve no voice on NFTU.
For those who have been put through the nasty comments on the Shoutbox, I am sorry. They give a bad name not simply to True Orthodoxy, but to Christianity. Our job is to speak the truth, and some people will always be there to try to keep that from happening. If these people want to discuss things rationally, there is a comment section for every story. Otherwise, the entire Internet is open for such to spread hate, lies, and slander. But it isn’t welcome here.