Wednesday, September 1, 2010

FoBSM Targets Interviewee

In the wake of my interview with Catherine, she's been "targetted" by the FoBSM, a group of largely faceless individuals who claim to act with the Bishop's "interest as they perceive that interest to be".

It's something she anticipated and resulted in receiving "3 emails, 2 virtually similar in content with a little extra added in". No surprise, given their history of targetting critics of the Bishop.¹ Indeed, she received another unsolicited e-mail shortly afterwards. However, she's stood by her answers to the interview, telling them that "unless Bishop Manchester emails or writes to me himself then I will not answer any more emails/letters" from them. It's a smart approach I'd recommend to others on the "receiving end" of their unwelcome mail. This will become apparent very shortly.

To shed a little light on this decidedly shady organisation, here's what Dennis Crawford, aka "Gothic" aka "Demonologist" aka "Vampirologist" aka "The Overseer", has to say about them: "The FoBSM, as understood by most, is an informal support group who act in the bishop's interest as they perceive that interest to be."

However, you've got to wonder about the autonomy of a group that has the object of their affections as an administrator of their Facebook group. After all, it's kinda like being the president of your own fan club. Indeed, his church's "To contact Bishop Seán Manchester" page provides the FoBSM's Facebook account as a means of contacting him.

Yet, despite a representative air, their authority to speak on the Bishop's behalf is effectively neutered by Bishop's own stance: "Nobody is authorised to speak in my stead." Sure, he amended his comment with a wishy-washy "This does not preclude friends and associates coming to my defence, which choice is theirs to make and not mine to deny." But without the actual authority to speak on his behalf, their e-mails and various online postings are essentially hollow copy-n-paste diatribes. Hot air, really.

Still, you'd think a Bishop would condemn such actions. At the very least, discourage them. After all, the FoBSM's Facebook group features his Path of Reconciliation blog as its website. Allowing them to proceed, unhindered, is hardly conductive to this aim. Especially when the use his name as their banner. But then again, the Bishop had no problem allowing abusive content on his blog against one of his critics. So maybe this namby-pamby, "not mine to deny" approach is for convenience's sake.

¹ See Don Ecker,, Barbara Green and myself.

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