Anglican Group Intimidates Another Blogger

This is a guest post by Stuart

The blogging world has been ablaze in recent days relating to the revelation that the Anglican Vicar Stephen Sizer involved the police in an online dispute with a young messianic Christian blogger (Seismic Shock).

Stephen Sizer is a public figure and a renowned anti-Zionist and Seismic Shock analysed his written work and lectures, on his blog. It would seem that Seismic Shock has himself become the victim of an  intimidation campaign as a result of this activity.

I  was very disturbed by the involvement of the police and the subsequent intimidation that Joseph Weissman (aka Seismic Shock) had received, and so I blogged about this here and here.

Although the blogging world has been buzzing with this news (now referred to as SizerGate), the Anglican Church seems to have been remarkably silent, I imagine that perhaps this news has passed them by unnoticed, or perhaps there are other reasons. There were however, some notable exceptions:-

VirtueOnline

Anglican Samizdat

Episcopalian

Here are a couple of Christians who also covered this:-

Calvin Smith

The Church of Jesus Christ

As for me, I had decided to blog no further on this issue, as it had reached the mainstream media from the blogging world, for example:-

BBC

Guardian

Jewish Chronicle

Spectator

I haven’t blogged much over the last couple of days and the simple reason is, that I have been unnerved and a little shocked by accusational emails, sent to me from a certain quarter of the conservative evangelical Anglican church. I have been advised today that an Anglican group wishes to sever ties with me and no longer want me to work with them, on an upcoming project, on a voluntary basis. I can only assume this is because I haven’t toed the party line.

It has become very apparent to me that Stephen Sizer is heavily involved in, and very influential within, this Anglican group. I’m not going to name them, but it is fairly easy to deduce Stephen Sizer’s Anglican connections online. Every comment I have received has been done privately, through email and never publicly. Here is one example:-

I have discovered from your site that you have been instrumental in what I can only regard as a hate campaign.  I was horrified to read the list of people who have taken up this war cry.

My comments on another blog have even been noted and an email sent to me, to warn me off.

So far I have been accused of: organising a lynch mob, witch hunt, hate campaign, making a song and dance, making things awkward for an Anglican group affiliated with Sizer, of being culpable of terrorising, of dishing out persecution, of consorting with the ‘wrong types’, and told that I should ‘draw a veil’ over any of Sizer’s theology that I may have an issue with, and so on. I think you get the picture.

The issue of theology is to me now moot, as my main concern is freedom of speech and the involvement of the strong arm of the law in an attempt to intimidate and censor a blogger.

I’m posting this now, to bring this in to the open. There would certainly appear to me, to be some who would wish to censor me on this issue and I am tired of private emails of an Ad Hominem nature, that simply attack me and do not even address the issues and facts at hand.

I have been advised to Google Sizer and find out for myself that Sizer is an ‘expert’ on Israel and has actually visited the country a number of times and has even produced a number of books. This advice came with the admittance that this is a topic on which they know very little!

I have even been accused of being partly responsible for the very reason that the police were called in on this issue in the first place, even though the incident happened last November and I only blogged about this for the first time, over the last few days.

Christians must not attempt to censor one another, or attempt to censor the non-Christian world, as this only causes further exposure and an inevitable backlash. Please do check out the Streisand effect.

We cannot (and should not) demand a platform for freedom of speech for ourselves and then attempt to silence our critics.

Here are a couple of links relating to this issue and freedom of speech online.

Index of Censorship

Online Journalism

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15 Comments

Filed under censorship

15 responses to “Anglican Group Intimidates Another Blogger

  1. Stuart,

    I have been advised today that an Anglican group wishes to sever ties with me and no longer want me to work with them, on an upcoming project, on a voluntary basis. I can only assume this is because I haven’t toed the party line.

    Care to share which group?. By email if necessary: mr.toad@pobox.com

  2. Aslan

    This is just shocking Stuart, well done for standing up for freedom of speech. The church has a poor history when it comes to trying to shut up dissident voices!

    Could be one of the following which he says on his blog he is a member: Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Anglican Mainstream, Reform, Church Society?

  3. Pingback: Seismic Shock, Rev. Stephen Sizer, Blogging, Christians and Censorship. | eChurch Christian Blog

  4. Susan

    Good for you Stuart, for standing up for the truth even in the face of opposition (or perhaps more accurately persecution).

    I do know that Stephen Sizer is a keen photographer and does Anglican Mainstream’s piccys. So perhaps Anglican Mainstream share Sizer’s theology and worldview?

    • anon

      Anglican Mainstream recently published a positive piece about Israel’s relief work in Haiti, so it might not be them.

      • Susan

        I wonder if Anglican Mainstream or the FCA or any other group affiliated with Sizer will distance themselves from his polemic, otherwise, in the eyes of observers, they hold the same views by association.

  5. Proverbs

    A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Proverbs 29.11)

    • John

      John 3:17

      For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him

      John 8:15

      You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone.

  6. Quentin

    Disturbingly, I too have heard rumours about Anglican Mainstream trying to cover up for Sizer because he takes photographs for them.

    Guess there’s no such thing as a free meal.

  7. I’ve been following this affair. Here is Sizer’s reply:-

    I approached the police because I felt my life was put in danger by his defamatory statements. In the last year we have had a rather violent break in to our home, had computers and cameras stolen, then my car has been vandalised and more recently broken into and possessions stolen. I receive anonymous phone calls and very nasty emails on a regular basis. Other academics, journalists and clergy targetted on the SS blog have also been in correspondance with the police.

    In the last 18 months SS (I think he chose the name as a play on my name so it was very personal) has associated me with holocaust deniers, white supremists, antisemites, islamists, terrorists, suicide bombers, and the 7.7 bombers, on a weekly if not daily basis. He used anonimity to do so. I repudiate racism and anti-semitism as well as his allegations unequivocally. I believe my occasional blog articles as well as published writings give evidence of this. I feel no need to clarify or justify my theological views further which are entirely consistent with mainstream conservative evangelicalism.

    Politically, I uphold the rule of international law, I want to see the Arab-Israeli conflict resolved peacefully and diplomatically with a secure Israel and viable independent Palestine – the postion of the UK government, EU, USA and UN – so hardly controversial, except in Zionist circles. I have written a couple of books on Chritian Zionism and US fundamentalism, which I regard as a threat to the security of Israel as well as future of Palestine, so I understand why SS and his friends do not like me.

    The police initially consulted me for advice (not the other way round) on extremist groups on the edge of the Christian community. On their advice I approached the local police to investigate whether the articles posted on the SS blog constituted harrassment and incitement to religious hatred.

    Their investigations led to the identification of the individual. Apparently he agreed to remove certain material and apologised. I was asked to inform them if it happened again. The police have given me and my family a measure of additional protection. I do not know his name but believe he is a Christian living in Leeds. It makes me sad that a Christian would use anonimity to harrass other Christians in this way.

    I don’t plan to respond to him personally. He has many friends who have already expressed their opinions quite plainly and explicitly this week. The invitation I made to him a year ago to meet and talk through our differences personally remains open. I am happy now to leave the matter in the hands of the police.

    Any comments on this?

    http://richardwilsonauthor.wordpress.com

    • Harry's Place

      A couple of comments.

      First, I share Sizer’s goal of a secure Israel and viable independent Palestine. However, it is remarkable that Sizer has pursued this goal

      (a) by (for example) speaking at conferences alongside terrorists and Holocaust deniers; and

      (b) Then – astoundingly – claiming that to point this out amounts to “harrassment [sic] and incitement to religious hatred”.

      Secondly, the police are consulting Sizer on “on extremist groups on the edge of the Christian community”. Huh? But what is stranger is the claim that the police actively encouraged him to report political criticism as ‘incitement to religious hatred’. That is extremely worrying, and deserves further investigation.

      Thirdly, the first paragraph seems to me to be a carefully worded accusation that Joe is somehow connected to violent burglaries at Sizer’s house. If that is the meaning of the statement, then it is a pretty disgraceful thing to say. If he said it to the police, then perhaps that explains their conduct.

      As a footnote to all that, a former Marine and Israeli solider, who has converted to Christianity, claims to have been hired by the Rev Sizer to tail Joe. A little research on the man suggests that his life fell apart after his wife’s death, that he ended up sleeping rough in a churchyard, and was rescued by the Rev Sizer.

      I’d call that worrying.

  8. Sizer is most certainly trying to create an association between Joe and the break in and vandalism etc, with his wording.

    the police are consulting Sizer on “on extremist groups on the edge of the Christian community”

    Well you have to admire the police tactic of consulting an extremist to obtain information on so called ‘extremists’.

  9. zkharya

    Sizer’s suggesting that a peaceful, two state solution is ‘controversial’ among ‘Zionists’ is fairly clear incitement against ‘Zionists’, which by Sizer’s definition would include most British Jews.

    If that is how he defines ‘Zionism’, why should the British police trust his definition of ‘Christian Zionism’?

    ‘fringe Christian groups’?

    The only expertise Sizer has, and highly hostile to the object of his investigation, is ‘Christian Zionism’, which Sizer defines as suits him.

    Which means the Police were consulting him about British ‘Christian Zionists’? Who, exactly? What list did Sizer give them? Who else? Messianic Jews, or Jews for Jesus?

    To what end? Why were the police consulting about them? Was there evidence of a threat to the realm, or the breaking of criminal law?

    So Sizer just happened to slip Seismic Shock into the conversation?

    Ecclesial premises are often broken into, because of relative lack of security due to their open nature. This happened often where I live, where computers were stolen on more than one occasion. Likewise my brother’s Hebrew school was robbed of its computers, for the same reason.

    It’s not generally thought grounds for suspecting a conspiracy, least of all a threat to life, which is clearly what Sizer implies.

  10. Dooley

    Can we once and for all dispense of the fantasy that Sizer repudiates antisemitism. He doesn’t: his works are laced through with antisemitic sources and motifs. As for Weissman associating him with Holocaust deniers etc – the evidence is there, and Sizer has yet to provide a convincing explanation, still less any apology.

    http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/if-i-was-stephen-sizer-christian-antizionist-james-mendelsohn/

  11. Ziskin

    First of all lets get one thing straight and settled,

    If Rev Sizer is Anti-Semitic, is it not up to the Knesset to deal with him, and as far as i know he has just went through Ben Gurion, so maybe that should shut you up Haver.

    As for the Former Marine and IDF Marine that you mention,, is it not shamefull on you to bring his wife and his life into this debate, he has served our country, and let him be at that, he has done his duty, and even more so that his wife has died, have shame,
    As to nailing this Joe, well he has done it, so leave him alone, or maybe the sleeping snake may turn on you this time, who knows what would do,

    I have been to Sizers church, and the man in question no longer resides in that churchyard, it seems he travels around churchyrads that need work doing, unpaid work,
    At his time at sizers church he never took anything from anyone, unless he earned it.

    Leave him alone, he has done his time in hell, and apparently has the scars to prove it.

    Yitzack Ziskin
    Manchester

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