"But are you being fair to C.H.U.?", somebody might ask. "How do you even know that these people had any connection to Sidney or his group?" Let's see what CHU has to say about this, in an article which appeared in the search engine listings a few months later. It was there that I saw those immortal words you came in on :
" CHRISTO-PAGAN INTERFAITH BUNNIES TARGET CHU! Christo-Pagan agitators seek converts via CHU website guestbook. Will YOU be next? "
The next to be converted? Oh, my! That sounds awful, and it sounds like one doesn't even get a choice in the matter. Good thing that I didn't run into them. When was it that you wrote about this, Sidney?
" (September 2002 e.v.) "
Gasp! What a close call! I must have barely missed them. But how is it that they manage to convert people against their will, like that? Do tell us, Sidney, so we can protect ourselves!
" For years we at CHU have worked tirelessly to warn the Pagan community of the Christian crusade to target all New Age belief systems. "
No, to be exact, they've published conspiracy theories, defamed members of the Pagan community who have worked to promote productive interfaith relations, and tried to whip an already hysterical, neurotic online mob into a frenzy by playing to their prejudices, and encouraging their ignorance. They have brought out the worst in people instead of the best, and aggravated a situation in which reasonable men of good will have a hard time finding places online in which they may converse in peace. This much one can see, merely by visiting CHU's site, or one of the many mirrors to that site which it has set up at freeuk.com, and reading the articles.
" Because of this factor we have ourselves been subject to hate attacks from missionary Christi-Pagans troublemakers who see us as a `barrier' to their plans to glean converts for Christ. "
Sounds heartbreaking. What sort of "hate attacks" would those be?
" The latest attack against CHU comes from an insurgent outfit run by a self-appointed moralist hiding behind the name `Antistoicus.' "
I trust you've been paying attention during the past few pages, as I've documented the discussion that Sidney is talking about? Yes, you've read that right: Sidney/CHU's position is that a rational critique of their arguments is a form of "hate attack". The article continues, as CHU/Sidney resorts to quotation out of context ...
" This person recently rushed into CHU's guestbook crying out that by combating the fundie game plan to target paganism we were acting like the Klu Klux Klan, suffering from a misplaced sense of `victimhood' and generally `ranting and raving' in a most hateful way. "
Now, let's take a look at what I actually wrote, when I first showed up there. You've seen it before, but just in case you've forgotten ...
" 'Informative'? No, what I see is a lot of ranting and raving that just happens to suit the prejudices of your respondants. As a proud Christo-Pagan Synchretist (and former Jew) I found your content-free tirades tiresome. One can't even say that you've found an original way to be hateful. The self-righteous paranoia and the careless lumping together of the hated "other" are tediously familiar to anybody who had to grow up dealing with the Ku Klux Klan, even the misplaced sense of victimhood.
... As I was saying before your logbook cut me off, even the misplaced sense of victimhood is nothing more than a rehash of old redneck politics. Suffice it to say that if you go out looking for enemies, you are likely to find them. "
The attempt to deceive on Sidney / C.H.U.'s part, could not be clearer. A complaint about indiscriminate attacks on all of Christendom and Christo-Pagandom has been portrayed as a complaint about the exposure of bad behavior on the part of specific Christian fundamentalists. Nor is this a mistake that CHU could have made honestly, given the remarks made about Christians in general, by Gertrude and Tobias, and the contents of its own articles, which drew no distinction between Fundamentalism and Christianity in general.
Never one to tire of innuendo, Sidney / C.H.U. continued ...
" Incidentally, Antistoicus was not the only crusader to attack CHU as we received (oddly at about the same time) some rather aggressive correspondence via email from one Martha Chaney who described `herself' as a `Teenage Christian (Methodist) witch. "
Really? I'm supposed to be a teenage girl, now? That would come as a terrible shock to my girlfriend, who apparently has been in a homosexual relationship all of this time without knowing about it, with a minor, no less. Or is it that Sidney/C.H.U. believes that a Christo-Pagan couldn't possibly be female (not the sarcastic quotes around "her")? If so, he/they might want to discuss that one with Luna Blanca of the Cauldron and Cross webring, who will probably be as shocked to learn about her Y chromosome, as I was to discover that I was a lesbian.
The "Methodist" part is almost as good. Methodism, like most of Protestantism, has Northern European roots; the Christian roots of the Shrine's practices and beliefs are to be found in Catholicism, as its Mediterranean cultural heritage would suggest, and the commentary found elsewhere makes clear, especially during our discussion of the Saturnalia. As usual, getting their facts straight doesn't seem to be a high priority for CHU. Continuing along this line, Sidney writes:
" More strangely, CHU entered into a serious debate with Chaney, which eventually dried up following some testing questions from us about her personal theology and understanding of the Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth created by the fundies. "
Assuming that there even was an exchange with somebody named Martha Chaney, we can probably guess what form those "testing questions" took, based on what was seen out of CHU's alleged 'outside' supporters, in its guestbook : she gave her answer to one of the foolish arguments she was hearing, to which CHU responded with a few rude remarks in which it displayed its closedmindedness (1 2), going on to declare victory, acting as if its assertions, backed up by nothing more than name calling, were brilliant and conclusive arguments. Finding that she was trying to reason with somebody who wasn't listening, she walked off. If so, who could blame her?
How curious, though ... here we had an alleged Neopagan group, that seemed to be spending an awful lot of time worrying about this "Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth" (SRAM) business - why would that be? We'll get to that, in a bit. In the passage that followed, any real doubt that Gertrude and Tobias' attitudes could rightly be attributed to CHU would be quickly dispelled.