Follow this, bitch
Follow this, bitch

[UPDATED with Rick's Response!] Rick Warren to Staff: Don't Follow Assholes on Twitter

See update at the end of this post.

ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 20, 3:29 P.M.: We can add new meaning to the acronym NSFW: Not Safe for Warren.

Apparently, Rick Warren on Tuesday emailed staff at Saddleback Church with a directive to unfollow anyone on Twitter who is anti-Christian or anti-Saddleback.

"I frequently notice that often atheists, critics of saddleback (sic), and mean-spirited or vulgar accounts often have dozens of staff or Saddleback accounts following them!" Rick wrote. "This is true even when these people only have a very few follower (sic). Because of automatic adds, we often make up the majority of followers of these mean-spirited Christian or anti-Christian folks!"

Rick even offers to help staff discern who the baddies on Twitter are by sending them the names of accounts that are a "poor witness."

One example is @REALjdowney, whom Rick describes as a guy whose sole purpose is to attack. But at least he's purpose-driven©!

John Downey runs a blog dedicated to the wisdom of church luminaries such as Martin Luther, George Whitefield and John Wesley, and apparently is a rather affable cat.

His Twitter profile reads: "I am the man Rick Warren warned you about following."

One Downey follower tweeted at him that if Rick Warren says not to follow him, he "must be a good man! I'm following!"

Still, Rick told his staff they should study the "do not follow" commands in the Bible. Ah, the wonders of Bible study software, where pastors can key word-search just about anything to help hammer their flocks into submission.

"When people see your name, or a saddleback (sic) name, as a follower of a worthless account, they may think it is an account they should follow too, and then start getting their minds filled with negativity or even vulgar garbage," Rick wrote.

Naturally, the Christian blogosphere is buzzing with discussions about Jesus, whom he allowed to follow him, whether such connections could lead to conversions, and, of course, Rick, who humblebragged on Twitter this week that "Fame is not nearly as cool as you imagine."

Le sigh.

I emailed the supposed email account for Rick, asking for more context. Will update if I hear back...

UPDATE, JUNE 20, 4:54 P.M.: "Hi Josh

A couple of young staff member came to me upset that their Facebook and Twitter feeds contained explicitly obscene slurs and offensive slander from folks who dislike our church. They wanted to know if we should take legal action.
I told them of course not.  Instead I pointed out that they had chosen to follow or friend those people. The solution was simple: unfollow them. No one forces you to follow anyone. If you're offended, look away.  It's a free country.
I dashed off a note to staff, overstating the case that if someone continues to post offensive material, you don't have to follow them. By simply unfriending or unfollowing offensive posters, you're not upset,  and it will also protect members follow staff from having to read obscene and outrageous slurs.
The Bible is clear about this:  Colossians 3:8  "Rid yourselves of all such things as these: angry rage, malicious words, slander, and obscene language." and  Psalm 119:37 "Turn my eyes away from worthless words. Instead preserve my life according to your Word."
I expect conspiracy theorist will read all kinds of dark motivations and nuanced nonsense into my simple advice.


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