For those of you who wander the blogosphere and the links on the right, this will not be news. For those of you who don't, it might be.
The gist of the situation is this: Two bloggers, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan (of Pandagon and Shakespeare's Sister, respectively) were hired by John Edwards' presidential campaign to blog and do netroots support work.
Bill Donohue, the leader of the Catholic League, the largest conservative Catholic organization in the country, got his crinolines in an uproar about this. Reason being, Amanda and Melissa have blogged about the Catholic Church's opposition to women's rights, birth control, human rights movements in third-world countries, the use of condoms in preventing HIV transmission, and its opposition to equality for gays, lesbians, and transgendered folks.
Which would've been fine. I mean, it's Donohue's right to get peevish about things with which he disagrees just as much as it is Marcotte's and McEwan's right to get peevish.
Trouble is, Donohue called in some of his less-rational supporters. The result was, predictably, flame wars on both blogs, calls for the resignation of both Melissa and Amanda, and lots of right-wing pressure on Edwards.
And when I say right-wing, I mean *right-wing*. As in crazy right-wing.
Amanda and Melissa both resigned from Edwards' campaign. Amanda's visibility as a target was making it hard for the campaign to do anything but field hate mail; Melissa was dealing with escalating threats from nutjobs against her and her family.
Yes. Death threats.
The people who are threatening both bloggers aren't Catholics. They're not even Christians. They are, instead, people who are using a religious shield for their own brand of hate. Having been on the receiving end of this sort of thing myself--though not to the degree nor with the intensity that both Melissa and Amanda have--I feel the need to stand up and say this:
If I disagree with you publicly over tenets of your religion, I will accept that my right of free speech comes with the responsibility to listen to your rebuttal.
However, if you threaten me or my family, all bets are off.
Two very intelligent, thoughtful, capable young women got shafted and slammed, not necessarily because they were posting on the Catholic Church's policies, but because they dared to be intelligent, thoughtful, capable young women. This is evidenced by a number of comments and emails both have received: they don't contain refutations of claims; instead, they're full of rape threats and intimations that the bloggers are ugly or not real women.
This shit has got to stop. I call it when I see it in real life; I'll call it here on the blog.