June 01, 2010
Skank: "Any substance considered particularly foul"
Joy McCann (who writes Little Miss Attila -- a blog I have enjoyed for years), is being subjected to legal attacks for criticizing a man many people would consider religious crackpot and cult leader, one R.L. Hymers.
Let me begin by saying that I never heard of R.L. Hymers until today! Perhaps I don't keep up with these things as I should, but seeing an old blogosphere friend under attack for exercising her First Amendment rights made me want to learn about the attacker.
It wasn't hard. Just perusing his Wiki page, I learned more than I wanted to learn.
Hymers became known for a series of provocative anti-abortion demonstrations in the early 1980s. He recounts in his 2000 book, Battle for the Bible in the 21st Century, that he became deeply concerned about the millions of abortions in America during a discussion with Francis A. Schaeffer, a leading theologian, on January 20, 1981 in Schaeffer's living room, as they watched Ronald Reagan's inauguration.  According to Hymers, Schaeffer blamed abortion on the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Five years later, in June 1, 1986, Hymers called on his parishioners to pray for God to remove Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan from his seat on the court by death. On the same day, his church, the Baptist Tabernacle, chartered a plane that trailed a banner reading "Pray for Death: Baby killer Brennan."  This resulted in the Los Angeles Times referring to him as a "Death-Prayer Pastor." Hymers later apologized for this prayer and said, "I wish I had not done that and I would never do it again." He maintains, however, a strong commitment to the pro-life movement, and continues to write against abortion, which he has compared to Hitler's Holocaust. Reading that alone was enough to convince me that the guy is a loon. I vaguely remembered the praying for the death of Brennan business, but now I know the guy's name, and more.
In her blog, Joy McCann states that she was unlucky enough to fall for his cultish outfit when she was very young, and she simply wants to warn others -- as it is her right to do.
When I was in Hymers' cult it preyed on teenagers, and the lonely. His followers went door to door, flushing out those who might have any sort of emptiness in their lives, and offering human companionship at what probably looked like a real church. He rented houses and apartments under the church's name and let teenagers and twenty-somethings live in them dorm-style for very little in rent--paid weekly. It made it easy for these young people to leave their familes and practice the "total immersion" 24/7 approach to Church life that made it less likely that anyone--especially impressionable youths--would pull away. This brand of "Christianity" separated the individual from his or her work, family, studies, or other commitments. When I lived this life I was in a prayer meeting or Bible study every single night of the week. As the weekend began we had a large, rowdy prayer meeting on Friday night, followed by door-to-door prosylytizing on Saturday, and a marathon of services on Sunday: one on the Westside in the morning, one in Hollywood around noon, and one in Echo Park in the evening.She's lucky she saw through it when she did, and I don't blame her for warning others.
No doubt that's why Rymers and company are threatening her with legal action, and charging her with "cyber-bullying." [Bracketed comments are those of Joy McCann.]
To further frighten and harass my father, two days before his sixty-ninth birthday, Ms. McCann posted the words, "I don't pray for Hymers' death." It is this kind of speech that frightens my father and our whole family. What does she mean, "I don't pray for Hymers' death"? Why does she consistently [consistently? Huh?] talk about my father's death? Why does she show a picture of herself with a pistol next to a blog posting about him? [it's all about him.] Why does she obsessively attack my father for something she says occurred when she was 14 years old, a third of a century ago? I fear that she will soon attack him in a violent way. She calls her pistol "Bathsheba," which is the name of a biblical character that had sexual relations with King David. Ms. McCann said, "I love that revolver." I fear that she is stalking my father and may shoot him.Well let me just add to the "threats" and say that I don't pray for R.L.Hymers' death either! I'm not in the habit of praying for people to die -- no matter how loony I think they are.
What bothers me about the threat of legal action is that there are emerging trends in the laws that enable this sort of abuse of process, so that causes of action for "cyber-bullying," "cyber-stalking," or "cyber-harassment" are increasingly being filed by anyone who dislikes being criticized online. I think the standard should be considerably higher. Stalking means invading someone's space, and that cannot be done at a blog which is located somewhere else. No matter what I say about someone here, it is not "stalking" -- for the simple reason that no one has to come here. If you don't like what I say, don't read it.
R.L.Hymers reminds me of Liskula Cohn -- that New York "model" whose name became so permanently associated with the word "skank" that if you start Googling "Liskula Cohen" the word "skank" pops right up:
As Glenn put it, "IT'S SELDOM A GOOD IDEA to send legal threats to bloggers."
I think it's downright skanky.
posted by Eric on 06.01.10 at 11:28 AM
Search the Site
Classics To Go
See more archives here
Old (Blogspot) archives
A knee sock jihad might be premature at this time
People Are Not Rational
No Biorobots For Japan
The Thorium Solution
Radiation Detector From A Digital Camera
This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?
Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood