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An Open Letter To GayGamer.net

17 November 2009

Dear GayGamer.net,

I’ve been visiting your website for approximately two years.  In that time, I’ve enjoyed the wide range of available topics in which I could participate.  Even when I began to learn things about the inner workings of the site, I continued visiting.  Things like how jealousy once spawned a slew of policy and staff changes, the unfounded and unexplained banning of users, and hypocrisy within the day-to-day operations.  However, despite it all, I continued visiting the site.

I can no longer do that.

Last night I posted a response to an on-going conversational thread about the current situation in Washington DC with regards to the Catholic Church.  I made the argument that the Catholic Church is using their fundamentalist belief that God hates gay people to justify the abandonment of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of people.  I went on to say that this justification is unfounded for two reasons: First, God is a man-made idea.  Hence, one can not infer any hatred on God’s part of any people.  God isn’t real so his perceived hatred isn’t either.  Second, if we assume God is real, it goes against everything I know of Christian teachings to allow the suffering of thousands in an attempt to deny equal rights to others.

The Catholic church is threatening to discontinue services such as homeless shelters if Washington DC recognizes same-sex marriage.

It’s the “God isn’t real” part that you didn’t seem to like, GayGamer.net.  This morning, when I logged in, I had a message waiting in my inbox from one of your staffers.  The message informed me that my post had been edited for “offensive content” and that in the future I should keep my posts within a “more civil tone” and that my comments about God were “Off-topic.”

As you might imagine, I was a bit confused.  Primarily because I still don’t understand how mentioning the existence of God (or lack thereof) is “off-topic” in a conversation thread specifically about the Catholic church.  In addition, I was confused how anything I said was considered offensive.  Most of what I wrote was done in a jovial tone; Comments like “When you die, you don’t ascend to a Monarchy.”  If this is all it takes to be considered offensive, I pity the offended.  Moreover, I was curious as to how what I wrote was offensive but what the Catholic church is doing isn’t offensive enough to warrant an email as well.

I immediately responded to the person who edited my opinion and asked for an explanation then went on to insist that censorship is an unacceptable practice.  I told him that I would not patronize any store, program, or website that believes the editing of another’s opinion is justified.  I asked who was offended by my remarks.  I reminded the editor that the justification of censorship is always an easier task when sitting in the editors chair.

One artist's depiction of God.

I was met with an equally illogical response that claimed, again, that my remarks about God were offensive and had been edited with good cause.

I replied insisting that if no one can post about the lack of a God then no one should be posting about the existence of a God.

This went back and forth a total of four times before the truth finally came out.  No one was offended by what I wrote other than the editor (who I will not name for his privacy).  In his final response he wrote, “I left the part pertaining to the thread itself as it was, because I thought you brought up a valid point.”  Meaning the section I wrote that he agreed with could stay.  The section he didn’t agree with was deleted.

I find it laughable that my comments about God have been removed from a  thread about church for being “off-topic.”  I find even more hilarity in the fact that GayGamer.net showcases threads in which men and boys post nearly nude photos of themselves (some of which I would swear are under age) and regularly have discussion related to their sex lives and genitals… but none of this is considered inappropriate or offensive.  However, an atheists opinion that God is a man-made idea? Offensive and inappropriate.

As I’ve said before, I can not knowingly patronize any store, program, or website that willfully denies myself or others their first amendment right to freedom of speech.  If I am not free to say something as minor as “God isn’t real” I can’t help but wonder what other topics are strictly forbidden.  As a result, I will not be visiting your site any more.  I will be discouraging others from visiting as well.  I will find another similar forum that welcomes freedom of speech and diverse viewpoints and do what I can to support it at your forum’s expense.

Greenburg, 1996

In short?  I find your censorship inappropriate and offensive.  Your threats about suspending my account for inappropriate activity have fallen on deaf ears, or in this case – blind eyes.  I will not censor myself or dumb-it-down for the sake of your seemingly over-sensitive readers.

In the future, perhaps we could use the time and energy spent on this ridiculous squabble to confront and have an impact on something that matters.  For example, the discriminatory events occurring in DC which threatens to deprive thousands of people of valuable services.

If you’d like to speak up on behalf of equal rights, contact the Catholic church by visiting Catholic.org or the Vatican website.

Sincerely,

Joe

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