“I used to be a pastor in my evangelical days. I also have been an elder in evangelical reformed, PCA, and PCUSA churches of various sorts on and off for over 25 years. Never, never, never in all that time have I seen or heard anybody, pastor, elder, or layperson, make comments about a deceased person as obnoxious as your comment about Ken Pulliam.”
This was directed at Alan, not me. But since I’ve been linked to this controversy, I’ll make the following observation:
1. On the one hand, I do think we should always consider the effect our words will have on others when we write or speak for public consumption.
2. On the other hand, there’s an obvious risk of self-fulfilling effrontery in this objection. I see no reason to assume that Pulliam’s family, especially his Christian relatives, were in the habit of reading his blasphemous blog. Why would they subject themselves to that kind of abuse?
When, however, irate critics of Alan put his brief comment in neon lights, doesn’t that make it far more likely that Pulliam’s relatives will become aware of the comment? If the comment is, indeed, offensive, and you draw public attention to the offensive comment on various blogs, then, of course, his relatives, who might otherwise remain blissfully ignorant of the (allegedly) offensive comment, are far more likely to be offended by it–since they are far more likely to be apprised of the comment by reading irate critics constantly express their (alleged) disapproval.
And this, in turn, raises the question of sincerity. If they were really concerned about the feelings of his loved ones, why would they go out of their way to advertise a comment which, by their own admission (or assertion), is hurtful to the feelings of his loved ones? Wouldn’t discretion compel them to pass over the offending remark in silence? They accuse Alan of being tactless, but isn’t their own conduct tactless?
So, frankly, it looks as if they are taking advantage of the family to score points against Alan.