Most of you have probably missed the ongoing Internet sludge battle between someone named Ken Silva and another someone named Richard Abanes. For years Silva, as well as some other "watch-doggie" sites, as they are called, have targeted Abanes. According to these sites, Abanes seems to be a big promoter and proponent of everything Rick Warren and his church, Saddleback. However, Abanes isn't on Saddleback's staff and keeps saying this. In other words, Abanes seems to be expressing his own opinion of his support of Warren---I guess.
Anyway, onto the battle. In 2005 Ken Silva wrote at his website, Apprising Ministries, a post entitled, A Pastor's Assessment of Richard Abanes. Abanes, almost three years later (last week) decided he didn't like this post by Mr. Silva because Abanes felt it was libelous and slanderous of him personally. Now you might wonder why I am not giving either Silva's website or the link to that particular post. Well, I can't because his website is history (Late note(July 28)--you can find the link here]. And why? Well, Mr. Abanes sent a letter to Mr. Silva's ISP provider - the one who hosted his website - and said that he wanted that one post removed because of slander, etc. If they didn't remove it, then he (Abanes) would ask his lawyers to sue the ISP. So, the ISP told Mr. Silva that he needed to remove that post. Mr. Silva refused on matter of principle, and voila! Silva's Apprising Ministries website is history. You can read all about this in further detail at the sites below.*
Mr. Abanes did not contact Mr. Silva and ask him to remove the offensive post. Abanes gave the following reasons as to why he didn't contact Mr. Silva, but instead contacted Mr. Silva's ISP provider:
1. Ken Silva has repeatedly shown to me (and others) that he cannot be reasoned with.
2. Ken Silva has consistently voiced his opinion that I am not someone with whom he wishes to dialogue because I am a a lying, worldly, sinful, deceptive product of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven madness. There’s not much talking to someone who sees you that way.
3. Ken Silva is desperately trying to make a tempest in a teapot. It is NOT unibiblical, ungodly, unethical, or immoral to simply write an Internet Service provider and alert them to a violation of Terms of Service by one of their customers. They saw the website article, read it, and made their own decision. Ken is trying to turn it into something it’s not — and he’s broken federal laws now in order to do it.
The above 3 points were taken from the comments section of Mr. Abanes' blog of July 25, 2008.
But getting past all of this stuff, why am I bringing this up? Whether or not you agree with Mr. Abanes or Mr. Silva, or nobody, is up to you. But there are some serious implications in this. In fact, some other bloggers are also writing about this implication. The larger implication for bloggers is someone going to our ISP or blog host (like Blogger which I'm on) and threatening to sue the blog host ISP if something isn't removed, or even worse, if the whole blog isn't shut down. Now of course I'm not talking about outright slander or filthy, threatening or hateful language. Since we cannot read the original post at Ken Silva's website, and Mr. Abanes, after replying to many posts (83 in all to his post describing this situation, including comments from him answering the other commenters), seems to refuse to answer the simple question that was asked by a few commenters, "What was on Mr. Silva's post that you considered slanderous?"; we'll probably never know what the ISP and Mr. Abanes considered slanderous. Neither the Lighthouse Trails blog or Mr. Silva's blog (he has a blog too)tells us what this slander was. We don't know if the ISP even looked at the offending post. Perhaps they just saw, "Lawsuit may be pending" and freaked.
I can see a future threat for all of us bloggers . The overarching question then is...will this occur more and more as ministries that are heretical will wish to shut up those questioning them and pointing out their heresy? By the way, I'm not intimating that Mr. Abanes is heretical. So, I'm not using Mr. Abanes as an example of that, just what was done by him. Will others in the future threaten lawsuits to the ISP's and blog hosts of those ministries and people pointing out people and movements that we believe are heretical and are destroying Christianity?
An interesting and sobering point to think about indeed.
*If you wish to read a summary of this situation, the best place is at Lighthouse Trails.
Mr. Abanes' blog where he discusses this is here. This is his main post about it but click on his website at the top to read other posts he's written about this situation.