The FreedHearts blog is a forum dedicated to raising awareness of the issues faced by LGBTQ and their families, allies and advocates. We recognize that inclusion and acceptance of people who are not heteronormative is a new (and perhaps even radical) viewpoint for many who may read and/or comment here, and we welcome and encourage a vibrant discussion. However, because of the controversial nature of the topics we sometimes discuss, it is necessary for us to moderate this discussion for the sake of harmony.
We want our little corner of the Internet to be a safe place. In order to promote such an atmosphere, we do moderate this forum, and we have a few commenters who help us moderate when necessary.
For the most part, the rules are fairly straightforward: be civil, be respectful, do not engage in personal attacks against other users of the forums.
It’s Not What You Say. It’s How You Say It. We know we share some rather inflammatory opinions. We probably tick people off on a fairly regular basis. Whether you love what we’ve written or hate what we’ve written, we don’t mind reading your opinion. But speak to us and the other commenters on this blog with respect. Say what you want, but play nice.
When commenting on our blog, please keep the following rules and guidelines in mind.
- Be civil. Treat other users with the same respect you would like to receive from them. If someone takes offense to something that you say, take a step back, read what’s been said on both sides, and consider why that person might be offended instead of just thinking he or she shouldn’t be offended. It’s all right to have fun, show a sense of humor, and even be a little snarky – but please, remember that the others on this forum are not just nameless robots behind a screen. Everyone here is more than just “one of them.” Remembering that there is a human being – with hopes, dreams, pain, and laughter – behind every comment will help the discussion stay where it should be. Be polite, and avoid excessive profanity. Do not make threats. Do not ask questions unless you are prepared for the answers.
- Stay on topic. A little bit of light banter and “small talk” is accepted and encouraged, but avoid lengthy, drawn-out discussions about things that aren’t related to the central point of the blog. If someone disagrees with you, don’t just repeat yourself – respond to the question being asked or the point being made.
- Don’t be a “drive-by shooter.” Avoid the “clobber passages,” and for that matter, avoid Bible verses altogether if you have no intention to include some sort of context and/or analysis. If your only reason for commenting is to point out the sinfulness of same-sex relationships, please refrain from commenting. We are not opposed to free speech, but such comments are not constructive to the discussion, and they have already been addressed at length by the links and notes on our Key Resources page. If you believe that same-sex relationships are wrong, please open your mind and take the time to read those resources. If you feel you must share your viewpoint about sinfulness, please add something new to the discussion that hasn’t already been addressed by the key resources.
- Don’t feed the trolls. Many of us here have been hurt and wounded deeply. We’ve been told that we’re “abominable,” or that we’re “twisting scripture to support our beliefs,” or that we are, in some way, “less than” in the eyes of God. Know that you are loved, whoever you are. If someone does choose to be a “drive-by shooter” in the comments, it’s better not to respond; drive-by posts are best left alone so that they can be unceremoniously deleted.
- Be sensitive. We don’t like to be overly legalistic; that’s contrary to our very ministry. But at the same time, temperate language – and, dare we say, political correctness – will go much further than Bible verses. Don’t refer to being gay as a “lifestyle.” It’s better to say “gay” than “homosexual.” If you’re responding to a transgender person, use his/her preferred pronoun, if you know it. Even if you don’t think you should have to do things that way, you will be seen in a much better light if you do, and those are simple things that you can do to have a civil discussion.
- Avoid walls of text. Sometimes comments do have to be lengthy, particularly if you are responding to numerous points. But remember, entire memoirs have been written using only six words. More is not always better. Be as concise as possible, but still make your entire point.
- This is a Christian-oriented forum. People of any faith (or of no faith) are welcome here, but please understand that this blog is a Christian blog. Coming in and dismissing our spiritual beliefs as “mythology” or “fairy tales,” or demanding that we prove the existence of God is extremely disrespectful and will not be permitted.
- Listen to the moderators. If a moderator asks you to refactor your statement or refrain from a certain behavior, please do so rather than arguing. If you don’t understand the moderator’s request, ask for clarification rather than making assumptions. If your comment is deleted, do not complain about your comment being deleted or try to repost it; it was deleted because it wasn’t constructive to the discussion based on the above rules or in the moderator’s best judgment. Good faith will be extended to you as much as you are willing to extend it to others; if you are being civil and polite, the moderators are much more willing to be lenient than if you are being hostile and challenging every statement they make. If you are blocked or banned from commenting and feel that you have been blocked unfairly, you may e-mail Susan or Robert Cottrell and explain why you think such actions were unfair. The blog owners’ decision, however, is final.
We ask anyone commenting on this blog to respect these rules. If you are breaking one of these rules, you’ll usually be referred to this page before being banned, but moderators are not required to do so. Thank you for participating in the discussion, and God bless! 🙂