Are you a Christian? Do you visit so-called "Christian" websites and forums? And have you ever felt unwelcome because you held differing views from the prevailing "party line" on those sites?
How about this: Have you ever been banned, booted, kicked off, or otherwise ejected from such a "Christian" site, simply for expressing a point of view that didn't toe that party line? Or have you experienced blatantly inappropriate or unfair moderation, sanctions, or censorship at the hands of "authorities" on such sites?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you deserve a "Badge of Honor."
There are sites from which, quite honestly, it's a badge of honor to be banned! Christians need to know about the unchristlike behavior of the people who run the sites they frequent. There is a time and place for removing people who can't abide by the rules. But when abiding by the rules applies to some but not to others, or the "authorities" make up the rules as they go along so as to target certain members of their communities, that's wrong. That's not how mature Christians are supposed to behave.
HOW TO TELL YOUR BADGE OF HONOR STORY
You may tell your story in your own words. By submitting your story by e-mail to the postmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org (edited 3/17/07 for change in contact e-mail address) for inclusion on "Badge of Honor," you agree to the following conditions:
1. The postmaster may edit your story for the following reasons:
a. Extreme length
Example: For the purposes of this blog, your story does not merit an online novel, no matter how badly you were treated. Please limit your story to approximately 3-5 paragraphs; shorter than that is fine, but no longer, please!
b. Unacceptable language (obscenities and excessive profanity are not permitted)
Example: Even if you were subjected to filthy language by the villain of your story, it is not necessary to use that language in the telling of the story. Mild profanity is acceptable, at the sole discretion of the postmaster.
c. Spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors when excessive and distracting
Example: Some people are highly irritated by bad spelling, punctuation, and grammar and will not even read past the first couple of errors they see. What your spell checker doesn't catch, I will try to.
d. Personal information that could be used to identify or contact you or others, unless you state specifically that you wish to be contacted.
Example: Don't open yourself up to the offending site's loyal fans, or the villain him/herself, spamming you with hate mail or worse. And please, protect the identity of minors at ALL COST! If you WANT to be contacted, it is up to you to provide that contact information. This site is not responsible, however, for whatever contact you receive. Think carefully about this issue.
e. Slanderous or libelous comments that are clearly your opinion. You may name names and sites in your story. However, you are responsible for "sticking to the facts."
Example: If Joe Blow kicked you off of the "Christians 'R' Us" site, that is a fact. If you call Joe Blow an adulterous fool for having kicked you off, you have crossed the line and your story will be edited. Don't open yourself or others up for legal action! It's not worth it. Let the facts speak for themselves.
2. Your story remains your property. The postmaster will, upon your request, remove your story from the site in a timely manner.
3. You are on your honor as a Christian and a human being to be truthful and, if possible, gracious. This site is about telling the truth so that positive change can occur, not about exacting revenge against those who've wronged us. It is hoped that before you request that your story be posted, you've already taken reasonable steps to confront the wrongdoer directly.
4. You accept the postmaster's decisions concerning editing of your story. If you believe the facts of the story have been compromised through editing it, you are free to contact the postmaster to request that changes be made.
5. The postmaster reserves the right to NOT include your story if, in her sole opinion, it does not fit the parameters outlined above. For example, as devastating as it is when churches and individuals mistreat people, only stories about online sites/communities/groups will be included. If your story does not involve mistreatment by an online group or its representative, please do not request that it be posted.