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Tony Miano put out a plea for donations on his Facebook page, however, Tony’s admin guy, Chris H. deleted comments made by someone questioning about the money. The commenter was accused of slander, defamation, and threatened to ban from posting on the Facebook page. Bully, much?
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I got into the blog business because my former pastor didn’t like what I wrote about him and his church on Google reviews. He was somehow able to the reviews removed and so then I started my first blog telling my story there. After he realized he couldn’t remove my blog, he thought he could control me and my right to free speech by suing me and 4 others for defamation to the tune of $500,000.
So, earlier, when someone alerted me to comments being removed on Miano’s Facebook page, I fully admit, it got my dander up. It triggered all of those old feelings for me.
You know what they say – birds of a feather – it just so happens that Tony and my former pastor, Chuck O’Neal are good buddies. Chuck O’Neal wrote the foreword in Tony’s new book. Maybe Chuck should inform Tony and his admin helper that suing didn’t fare well for him in case Tony has any funny ideas. I’ll even offer to send the court documents. After all, Tony’s probably not in the financial position to be paying $100K in attorney fees, not after the post pleading for donations.
So here’s the scoop. Reader, lyn, posted a comment on an earlier article noticing that Tony Miano was giving a plea for money for his ministry. But lyn also noticed that there was obviously a missing comment because Miano’s admin person, Chris H, responded to “Branden,” but Branden’s comment was no longer there.
Later, Branden posted another question. I was able to get the screen shot below. Branden’s 2nd comment is circled in red.
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Let’s look at the first comment listed as “Tony Miano” which is really Chris H., the admin guy. Remember, this is in response to Branden’s first comment which was apparently removed:
Branden, there is no lack of faith here, nor is it an effort to get folks to “sow a seed” in televangelist style. Making one’s needs known and asking folks to prayerfully consider assisting the ministry is perfectly biblical. Such an accusation is unnecessary and slanderous. Please refrain from such on this page. Thank you. – Chris H, admin.
Chris really needs to bone up on the word slander before tossing it around like that. It wasn’t long before Brenden’s second comment was also removed. Take a look at the response from admin guy Chris H. You can see at this point, Branden’s comment was already removed:
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Open letter addressed to Chris H.
Dear Chris H.
I watched a bit of the action on the Tony’s Facebook page today. Please, Chris, stop throwing around legal terms when you do not know the definitions – first slander and secondly, defamatory. There is nothing defamatory in Branden’s statement whatsoever. There’s no statement of fact showing malicious intent. Just because you may feel uncomfortable answering tough questions does not mean you start throwing big legal terms back at someone. And then to threaten to ban them from the Facebook p age is very weak.
Listen – – if you have a ministry and you want people donate and someone asks you a public question, answer it to the best of your ability, openly, honestly with graciousness There’s no need to get all defensive. People have a right to know about the financial situation and where their money is going.
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The sad thing about this whole deal is that many people experience this same kind of behavior at their own churches. I don’t know anything about Chris H., but if he were a pastor, I’d find his behavior extremely troubling. In some spiritually abusive churches, you cannot ask anything about the financial statements. In James MacDonald’s church, Harvest Bible Chapel, he withholds financial information from his congregants, including his salary.
Many of my readers have had the experience of asking the wrong question and then suffering dire consequences. Does the threat of Branden being prohibited from posting sound familiar? What would that look like in a church situation?
What Branden experienced publicly on the Facebook page is really a microcosm of what goes on in many abusive churches:
- church member suffers retaliation when asks tough questions of the pastor or church leadership
- church leaders fail to be open and forthright about financials
- church leader uses legal terms like “defamatory, slander” inappropriately to shame and keep member quiet
- church leader uses threats: “if you continue to talk, you will get banned, excommunicated, church discipline.”
This behavior is ridiculous. It needs to stop. No one should be supporting ministries churches that behave like this. Maybe Chris didn’t read Tony’s latest post: Honoring Christ as Holy in My Heart.
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Updated 12/4/13 to add new conversation from Admin, Chris H. as someone asks directly why comments are removed: