Apparently determined to show the world of religious blogging that mainstream newspapers are irrelevant, the Florida Times-Union published a Sunday story which dwells heavily on a single, anonymously penned blog whose name and URL it haughtily refuses to publish.
Church governance and its abuses are our concern.
First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., is the church with which FBC Jax Watchdog concerns itself. It is the church whose executive pastor for education, Jim Smyrl, attracted our earlier attention by declaring the Catholic Church to be a cult. Smyrl has also abjured anyone who voted for a pro-abortion candidate to repent.
The blog mentions those two issues and raises a variety of other significant issues which, if false, are easily rebutted. Indeed, charges should be rebutted and corrected if and when errors are made. Accountability should, in our view, run both ways.
The blog’s charges are often documented with audio recordings, copies of deeds and the like, very much the way a good online news article should be documented. Although the tone is far too strident to be confused with mainstream, professional, American journalism.
This blog and its peers will be of growing importance as more traditional publications continue their decline in resources and number.
Noncommercial blogs like FBC Jax Watchdog are often our nation’s best, current substitutes for (rapidly disappearing) aggressive, local, weekly newspapers, the best of which in their time held community institutions accountable to the communities they served.
Another look: Anonymous blogging and church bylaw changes.