If the banner ads on this page were promoting this apparition of Mary, would anyone object?
And just to play a little more fair today to make my point crystal clear, what if the banner ads were promoting this fellow?
On the issue of ads, the magazine refuses to promote certain products that would not be an acceptable fit for the publication (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, dating). But if we accept a particular advertiser, then we allow them a bit more discretion on the products they can promote.
For example, Ignatius Press—the advertiser who is running the ad on there now—is a respectable Catholic publishing house. Unless they are promoting material that would be objectionable to a majority of our readers then there isn’t much reason to refuse the ad (any material that is religious based is bound to be objectionable to some of our readers since they come from different faith backgrounds).
As a contributor to this blog—as opposed to an FT staffer whose salary is paid by advertisers—I can’t imagine any book or other media that would bother me too much. The reason why is because I have the freedom to write about why I disagree with the content. I’ve never been told (and I can’t imagine I ever would) that I couldn’t write anything negative about the products offered by our advertisers.
If it bothered me too much (and to be honest, I could care less about the Fatima issue) I’d take to this blog and attempt to provide a corrective for the false information being provided by the content being advertised.
I am enjoying this new group-blog. But I have to say I’m more than a bit puzzled by Mr. Turk’s posts here lately. I could not help but think to myself, “It seems to me that if a person invites me into their house, the first thing I should probably not do is wipe my muddy shoes on their living room carpet.” But it seems to me, and forgive me if I’m missing something here, that this is what Mr. Turk is doing.
This is a blog associated with FIRST THINGS which is a well known journal that has clear and strong roots in unapologetic advocacy of Roman Catholicism, along with all the other things it does.
I think it is gracious of them to permit a group of Evangelicals to have a blog site here to begin with.
So, I’m wondering why Mr. Turk is expressing surprise about the nature of the advertising that FIRST THINGS features.
I’m a Confessional Lutheran and while I certainly have many disagreements with the Roman Catholic Church and contributors to FIRST THINGS I am surprised by Mr. Turk’s behavior on this blog.
Can somebody put this into some kind of context for me?
I am not sure Frank has a problem with the ads – there are a couple of options with what his actual position is.
1. He could be staking a position in order to drive discussion to the point he really wants to make – i.e. this is simply a type of stalking horse argument.
2. He could be responding to what others have commented to him (outside of this blog) about the (in)appropriateness of a “believer” participating at a “non” believers site. Note this is not necessarily describing Franks position vis a vis Catholics, although it may.
3. He could be driving the point towards all advertising at any blog site – should the blog poster allow ads that are inappropriate or is somehow the blogger assuming the imprinteur of the content of the ad.
4. Or it could be something completely different (cue music)
That’s my take. It’s worth what you paid for it.
Rev. McCain –
I am sure that someone will inform you that I am a rabid anti-catholic and my point here is to foment hatred toward catholics. However, I think a re-read of my question here today, and also yesterday (follow the links), will reveal that this doesn’t actually have anything to do with anti-catholicism. It has to do with the basis for cooperation.
Back at my personal blog, in 2006, I posted a 2-part consideration of the matter of separation (here and here) very clearly condemning knee-jerk fundamentalist separationism as it plays out in my denomination, the SBC. So one thing we really shouldn’t get too worked up about here is whether or not I’m demanding that if Presbyterians and Baptists start blogging together eventually cats and dogs will start living together and the whole world will go to hell in a hand-basket. I’m not.
I think that we also have to look at the examples I have presented today. I’ll admit something: the examples the last time were too narrow band for the point I was trying to make. It put a finger on only the alleged Catholicism of Fatima and the Pope when I really was asking my fellow evangelical bloggers if they had any limits to what it was they would be able to stand next to in order to do whatever it is we are doing here. So today I rolled off of Fatima and the Pope and pointed to a more recent siting of Mary and an “evangelical” example of alleged prophecy. That way it doesn’t just have to be about whether or not (or to what extent) we take Trent seriously: it can be about the general boundaries of how we draw up our associations.
So in one sense this is about doctrine, but it’s about how far we are willing to go to say, “we stand next to these people over here for one purpose even though we have deep and perhaps unresolvable differences on another topic of greater or lesser importance.”
And there’s excellent reason to have this discussion at First Things: the basis for secular-facing ecumenism hangs in the balance.
As for my muddy shoes, I think the previous thread speaks to what kind of mud is going to fly when internet Catholics and internet non-Catholics get together to discuss serious issues: everyone brings their own mud. And here’s the irony — I have asked, “OK — if these things are not enough to make someone uncomfortable, where would other people (that is: the other bloggers on this site — that’s who I asked the question to) say, ‘wow — yeah, that’s not what I’m here for.’” And the response I got so far has been like yours: “If you don’t like it, lump it” — or perhaps more charitably, “we would prefer to separate from you for asking that question.”
So while I will accept your concerns as posed from an honest mind and heart, I think you are confused and it is causing you to be upset. Plainly: you do believe that something can cause right-minded separation between people. Apparently asking allegedly-impolite questions should be one of those things.
But is that it? If Rick Joyner’s new book or some new Catholic charismatic event was being promoted here, we shouldn’t bat an eye?
Really? I’m not sure you mean to say all that, but that’s what it looks like you’re implying. My hope is that in considering this, many readers will plug their minds back in rather than bunker up and keep to their own small bookcase of approved literature and ideas.
Hope that clarifies.
Well, honestly, I’m thinking not much beyond simply the fact that a blog site hosted by a very well-known public journal that is strongly an advocate for Roman Catholicism, when it features RC ads should be of no surprise or concern to anyone participating on this blog.
I’d preach in the Vatican itself, if given a chance, and an opportunity to speak clearly and truthfully.
So far, I’ve seen no censorship here when people express unabashedly Reformational theology, so I don’t get your point, really, at all.
I think we should welcome the chance to witness to the truth here and not be worried about Roman Catholic advertising.
I think everyone is sort of missing Frank’s forest for his trees. The question is larger than his feelings about Catholicism. At what point does “well, I don’t agree with that” become “I can’t be associated with that”? Forget Catholicism entirely for a moment. In a local magazine in my hometown, a mainline church (Episcopal, I think) runs a weekly ad that basically says, “Divorced, gay, atheistic lesbian biker who leaves the caps off of the dry-erase marker? We accept everyone!” What if First Things chose to run an ad like that? Is there a point at which the various posters here would choose to step away? If so, what’s your rubric for identifying that point (if you have one)?
Josh What if First Things chose to run an ad like that?
If we chose to run an ad like that then First Things would cease to be First Things. I think that crosses a line in which we go from “some people may disagree with the theological content of the ad” to “almost all FT readers would disagree with the content of the ad.”
This is why I wouldn’t reason as Josh has reasoned — from the extremes.
What if TeamPyro started running ads and it ran an ad for condoms? I am sure it’s easy to say, “that’s up to Phil.” But if Phil accepts that ad, should I still blog at TeamPyro?
Where’s the line, and how do I draw it? It’s an entirely-valid question — and it’s all the more valid for the sake of people reading this blog because many of them are asking that question of some of their favorite bloggers.
Note to Josh:
I do have feelings about Catholicism — it’s my beliefs which offend.
There is a fundamental difference if one is accepting the ads for money on ones own blog v. posting on a website that is accepting ads for money which is owned and operated by someone else (assuming the blogger is not compensated).