Dwight Longenecker (whom I refuse to call “Father”), runs a blog here at Patheos called Standing on my Head. He has recently deleted a couple of posts, both having to do with atheists. Hank Fox over at Freethoughtblogs wrote about the most recent one.
No, there’s no crime been committed. This is the blogging world, after all, and even I occasionally go back and smooth out clumsy wording in recent posts, or correct spelling errors, without telling people.
But to erase a post entirely, with all its comments, just because … well, maybe because you’re embarrassed by it? If you’re posing as this big-hearted paragon of Christian reason, lambasting the “atheist swarm” for their own lapses in reason …
Some are simply ignorant and aggressive. More of them are well educated and smart, but with a blind spot about God and religion.
… that’s a bit less defensible.
Hank is right.
Something I’ve noted with astonishing regularity is that conservative and Christian sites often restrict comments, sometimes entirely refusing to allow them. Whereas atheist and liberal writers typically allow anything and everything (okay, except particularly malignant trolls).
Again, Fox is spot on. This goes the same for Thomas McDonald who deleted atheist comments from this post and eventually shut it down with a jab so ironically snide that it was self-depricating. I’m hard at work on other writing projects at the moment, but as soon as I can sneak some time in, McDonald’s post is going to get obliterated by me.
But at least McDonald left his post up. Longenecker is not even doing that, and it reflects poorly on both him and on Patheos. What’s more, as the Catholic church has learned with its numerous cases of child rape and defending the child rapists, you cannot escape by hiding. PZ grabbed a copy of Longenecker’s first post and the wayback machine allowed Hank to capture his second.
Is it Longenecker’s right to delete material? Yup. But it still reflects on him when he does. If it were just the commenters he didn’t like, he could shut down the comments. He already moderates them. If Longenecker said something he regrets, he should either change his mind or say that he’s sorry. Don’t delete the post as a means to avoid doing either of those things.
For an in-depth glance into the machinations of Longenecker’s mind in terms of apologetics, Claudia has a great post up over at the Friendly Atheist dissecting one of his recent arguments. It’s lunacy pursued under the name of faith, nothing more.