Thursday, October 21, 2004

Muckraking in the Twenty-first Century

In language that can only come from sanctimonious clerical origins, a wordy petition seeks repentance on the part of the president because he has not been a good Christian.

There was a time that circulating a petition meant putting words on a piece of paper and having people sign their actual name with a real pen or pencil. Now through the magic of technology, anyone with an axe to grind can advance any proposition into the public discussion, no matter how obscure the origins may be. Whether or not any names get collected is secondary to the impact of the effort. Modern muckrakers have electronic assistants collecting information from the internet as they sleep to furnish enough grist to keep them in business for several lifetimes.

Muckraking in the twenty-first century has reached Googled proportions. This scrap of trivia is brought to you via Kos, a left-leaning blog that according to Power Line (three lawyer buddies of Glenn Reynolds) gets three quarters of a million hits a day.

Letter of Complaint - United Methodists Call for Accountable Leadership: We, the undersigned, do hold that George W. Bush, a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church* (UMC) in Dallas, Texas, and Dick Cheney (local membership unknown) are undeniably guilty of at least four chargeable offenses for lay members as listed in 2702.3 of the 2000 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. These offenses are: crime, immorality, disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The UMC, and dissemination of doctrine contrary to the established standards of doctrine of The UMC. For these offenses, we the undersigned call for an immediate and public act of repentance by the respondents. If the respondents do not reply with sincere and public repentance for their crimes, we demand that their membership in the United Methodist Church be revoked until such time that
they sincerely and publicly repent.

The site goes to some pains to talk about correcting the language of the petition regarding the address of the congregation cited. Details like that seem unimportant compared with the irreversable impact of the document.

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