The commercial Internet service provider IPowerweb has shut down the Apprising Ministries web site because of an unsubstantiated complaint.
Richard Abanes, who claims to be an “established apologist” and a “best-selling author,” wrote to IPowerweb, charging that Ken Silva, director of Apprising Ministries, had posted an article about him that was slanderous and demanding that they terminate Silva’s website. (Silva is an exceedingly rare animal, a Southern Baptist pastor with a warning ministry.)
Apparently without investigating whether Silva had actually slandered Abanes, IPowerweb wrote to Apprising Ministries on July 24 demanding that it remove the article in question or its web site would be terminated within 48 hours. They then carried out this action based on one man’s unsubstantiated complaint and his threat to “turn this situation over to my attorneys.”
Had they investigated properly, they would have learned that the article in question had been posted since 2005 and Abanes has never contacted Ken Silva about the matter.
IPowerweb’s policy prohibits the utilization of their ISP “for or in connection with any activities or content determined by IPOWER, in its sole discretion, to be related to ... harassment, defamation, libel and hate speech or other offensive speech or content...”
This is broad enough to prohibit anything that IPowerweb deems improper. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to IPowerweb’s hosting services, but if the time comes when the entire Internet is government controlled, as it is already in China, or if “hate crimes” laws are enacted broadly, all Bible-believing Christians who try to warn about error could be shut down if God allows. (But that is a big if!)
As for Abanes, it appears that he has it in for fundamentalists. SlideofLaodicea reports:
“Richard claims he never contacted Ken about it because he thinks Ken is arrogant and wouldn’t have changed any offending inaccuracies. This is the crux of the problem. The first step in any blog or website dispute over material is to contact the offender personally and ask for corrections or removal, based on what the issue is. That isn’t just Christianity 101, that’s common sense. Richard admits that Ken is a Christian brother. How much more important, then, that this step be followed. It was not, and now Ken’s site is in serious jeopardy because of Abanes’ bullying tactics.
“I want to address something related here. There is a vast difference between someone giving a theological critique or opinion even in a hostile and unfair way, and someone posting personal attack material that makes moral slurs on your character. ...
“Ken’s choice was to either knuckle under to Abanes’ demands that he censor his own website of an opinion article, about which he has never been contacted, or be deleted. What a dangerous precedent this is if Abanes succeeds. Every blog that expresses an honest opinion, even a harsh opinion which happens to be protected by the 1st Amendment, is put at risk by behavior like this. ...
“Abanes’ site has articles attacking a number of fellow Christians, and he concludes the attacks with the words, ‘You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting’” (“Attack on Apprising Ministries,” July 26, 2008, http://www.sliceoflaodicea.com/?p=1246).
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