Alan Maricle aka @Rhology defends and imitates J.D. Hall’s (aka @pulpitandpen) bad behavior on Twitter.
Admin note: I’m going to take the easy route here and jump into a situation to discuss it without giving a lot of background. However, if you want to know the background of this story, please visit Wartburg Watch blog and read Dee’s excellent article, JD Hall and Friends: “Theological Thuggery” and Braxton Caner’s Suicide.
Ok, the brief background to this story is concerning J.D. Hall, the lead pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church in Sidney, Montana. He maintains a blog, does frequent podcasts, and has an online presence on Twitter as @PulpitandPen. J.D. Hall has been going after Ergun Caner on Twitter for quite some time. It was when he started tweeting Caner’s 15-yr old son, Braxton, that it crossed the line for me. I saw the behavior as highly inappropriate.
Late in July, Braxton Caner committed suicide. The blogosphere and those who have been following this story on Twitter have been responding to this situation, calling Hall’s twitter behavior as bullying and saying that the tweets could have contributed to his suicide. There has been media outrage about this. And rightly so.
Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night and shouldn’t have looked at my phone, but when I did, I saw that @Rhology had responded to a tweet of mine. Earlier in the day, I had responded to this.
Well, now at nearly 3AM my time, he was engaging me. I responded a few times and realized it was futile. You can find that conversation here on a Storify I created:
@Rhology, a #pulpiteers, and defender of J.D. Hall shows us what his kind of Christian love looks like
This is a good sampling of what @Rhology is like and how he interacts with people on Twitter.
Who is @Rhology?
I found his name listed at J.D. Hall’s blog site, Pulpit and Pen:
A quick Google search showed that he is an abortion protestor and has been named in the news. In that article he is shown protesting outside a high school. I’ve never heard of abortion protestors outside of high schools. In this article, he is protesting at Satanic Exorcism Ritual at Oklahoma City’s Civic Center.
But it is his online dialogue, how he debates, and who he defends which disturb me the most.
It’s important to note that J.D. Hall has a group of friends, called #pulpiteers (taken from Hall’s Twitter name and blog name, @pulpitand pen and Pulpit and Pen, respectively) whom he refers to on his tweets. I’ll explain.
For those new or unfamiliar with Twitter, let me explain a bit because it’s important to understand how this social media is being used by J.D. Hall and his group.
On Twitter, everybody has their own “handle.” Mine is @DefendtheSheep. The @ sign identifies a Twitter user. There are also # – hashtags.
A while back, I organized a group and the social media guru in the group decided to use the hashtag #whowouldJesusSue (this was to bring social media attention to Alex Grenier’s lawsuit by his pastor and father, Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia). People tweeting about this story included the hashtag #whowouldJesusSue. We’ve seen conferences identified by hashtags. Let’s say Southern Baptist Conference wants to coordinate a Twitter hashtag for an upcoming conference. They might announce #SBC2014 as the hashtag. The cool feature about hashtags is you can click on the hashtag because it is a hyperlink and see all other tweets that include the specific hashtag. When I clicked on #whowouldJesusSue hashtag, I could see all of the tweets and people involved in helping this cause. I was able to find other like-minded individuals who were supportive of the cause and connect with them. It’s a very handy feature on Twitter.
So, J.D. Hall, has essentially created a group of his buddies that he refers to as #pulpiteers. He includes the hashtag in his tweets and when his friends tweet, they also include it. They can quickly click on the hashtag to see what their group is tweeting about.
Clicking on this #pulpiteers link, you will see all of the tweets that have the hashtag #pulpiteers. Right now, there is a loud response to J.D. Hall and the #pulpiteer’s behavior and so people who are upset at them are also using the hashtag. If you scroll down, you will see what it used to be like with primarily JD Hall and his buddies using the hashtag.
#pulpiteers Gang Mentality
When you look at those who identify with the #pulpiteers hash tag, they are essentially saying, “I am one of them,” “I am choosing to wear the label,” and “I align myself with JD Hall and his message.”
I was thinking about this. Isn’t this what we see with teenage gangs who wear certain clothing, i.e., certain colored bandana, a certain kind of hat, etc? I hate to say it, but it looks obvious to me that this group is functioning as a gang would. They wear their label proudly and behave just like a street gang, but instead of using real weapons, they use God and scripture as a weapon.
J.D. Hall is the gang leader and the #pulpiteers will fight to the figural death defending their hero leader or also one another. They use Christianese talk, quote Scripture, talk about love, but their behavior completely discounts everything they say. So many people are picking up on it and in fact, a UK blog site, the freethinker – which looks to be an atheist blog site, was the first to cover the story connecting J.D. Hall with the suicide of Braxton Caner, The suicide of a preacher’s kid.
The following Twitter conversation is a prime example of a pulpiteer defending another pulpiteer. Dustin Germain is part of that group. He mans J.D. Hall’s website and is the one who made the choice to pull down the article J.D. Hall posted after the online dialogue. (In the post, Hall defended himself, and later added some sort of apology, but not really an apology as far as I’m concerned. The article can be found in Google’s cache.) Anyway, here is an example of Dustin Germain aka @paperhymn coming to the defense of Alan Maricle aka @Rhology who is coming to the defense of J.D. Hall. His comment is at the bottom of the tweet thread.
These gangsters are deluded. They have made up their own religion where love means gang-like badgering and bullying and calling people to repent. This is not the 1 Corinthians 13 love I see in the Bible. This is not kindness that brings people to repentance.
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4
Updated to add this image about #pulpiteers. Special thanks to Kay who provided the info:
Related link: Michael Newnham of Phoenix Preacher, The Rise and Fall of J.D. Hall