Eight years ago, Sally Quinn founded “OnFaith,” a religious blog hosted (until recently) by The Washington Post. One thing she didn’t anticipate? All the nasty Christian commenters.
“I can’t tell you how many people wrote in to say that I was a whore and a slut and so much worse that I can’t even write it here. And these all came from Christians,” Quinn wrote in a recent article titled, “When It Comes to Hateful Internet Speech, Christians are The Worst.”
She’s been told that Jesus hated her, that she had punched her ticket to hell, and that she had made a pact with the devil. One “God-fearing Christian” commenter even said he hoped that Quinn would wreck her car, explode the gas tank, and burn alive.
Having been a religion writer for nearly a decade, my experience has been similar. The same is true of many of my colleagues.
Now obviously, this is something that internet writers of all stripes experience. It is hardly limited to religion writers and Christian commenters. Across the board, “most comment sections are vats of poison, filled with grammatically questionable rants at best and violent hate speech at worst,” as Margaret Eby put it this week at Brooklyn Magazine.
It would be ridiculous to pretend that Christians are the only or worst offenders. But they should know better. It seems deeply antithetical for someone whose faith promotes unconditional love and kindness to spew hate at others.
But can we really expect better from Christians when so many of their spiritual leaders employ similarly awful rhetoric?