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Dispatches from the HoB/D: Assassination by Internet

Friday, June 5, 2009 • 5:53 pm


Hey, since when was Ed Anger a delegate to General Convention? Oh wait, it’s somebody named Tom Downs, obviously gunning for a Braxton’s Lear:

I am so mad I could spit.

Friends, don’t you see that if Thew Forrester is not confirmed we (TEC) will have willingly entered the brave new world of assassination by internet?  Having proved it can be done; it will be done again.  Perhaps it will be your candidate next time.

From now on every diocese will not only have to discern and elect a candidate, but have to also marshal resources, develop strategy, and mobilize to get their candidate past 110 potentially hostile individual diocesan examinations.  (I believe there is a proposed diocesan resolution already submitted that neatly organize that very process for us.)  From now on potential candidates will have to be vetted like Supreme Court nominees, that means we will find ourselves favoring people who never published a single potentially controversial thing nor had an innovative thought they shared with anybody.  Can any of you guess how much it is costing our federal government in time and money right now to get the current Supreme Court nominee past Congress?  Well folks, unless we learn to trust each other and give one another a little wiggle room, that’s where we are heading. Can we afford it?

And those of you who wrote so seriously about Thew Forrester’s faults and then spread your thinking far and wide, you clergy, especially you who are already safely bishops, how many of you would survive this sort of scrutiny should everything you ever wrote or spoke be examined by the faculties of VTS, EDS, and Trinity seminaries, with their demonstrably different and sometimes contradictory points of view?  (never mind the host of bloggers who are so constantly hostile to TEC)

And you who read all that stuff, who let the innuendos and half-truths color your thinking, who let suspicion about a diocese that did things differently creep in, who jumped on the “band wagon” (It wouldn’t be a standard propaganda tool if it didn’t work, would it?), are you so sure you made up your own mind?  Do you personally know the candidate that well?
We don’t have any more feet to shoot ourselves in. Why don’t we just shoot ourselves in the head and get it over with?

Did I mention I was so mad I could spit?

Tom Downs

C1, Diocese of Eastern Michigan

Tempting as it is to hand over a few of my pistols for whatever private problem-solving Tom has in mind, may I mention that no one “assassinated” Kevin Thew Forrester? If anything, this was a self-inflicted wound by Forrester. Use the search feature here at SF and you’ll see a couple of brief but stinging commentaries on Forrester, but mainly you’ll just find post after post of Forrester’s own words. It was Forrester who killed Forrester’s consents; we merely provided a forum on which he could do that.

All that said, though, Downs has a point when he wonders, “And those of you who wrote so seriously about Thew Forrester’s faults and then spread your thinking far and wide, you clergy, especially you who are already safely bishops, how many of you would survive this sort of scrutiny…?” The answer is: Damned few. Those who are “safely bishops” like Walter Righter, for instance, would probably not survive scrutiny by the conservative blogs were they elected today, if indeed the Forrester consents are a sign of the times (and I’m not convinced they are); those like John Howe, who are more than orthodox enough, could expected a tough go of it from liberal and institutionalist-left standing committees (see the Lawrence consents).

More proof that we are two different religions under the roof of one church.


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Comments:

From now on potential candidates will have to be vetted like Supreme Court nominees

He says that like its a bad thing.  Personally, I think that such a level of vetting should have been applied to bishops decades ago, and not just in the Episcopal Church.

[1] Posted by AndrewA on 06-05-2009 at 06:35 PM • top

Two points.

1.  The next nominee will be safely liberal and will sail through.  There will be no strange liturgies found in his closet.  Perhaps a gay lover, or maybe even a spare wife or three.  But no strange liturgies.

2. One wonders what criteria Tom Downs would consider valid for determining consent.  Or is the idea that this process should be closed to the outside world lest the unenlightened exercise undo influence?

carl

[2] Posted by carl on 06-05-2009 at 06:45 PM • top

Amen, AndrewA!

[3] Posted by elanor on 06-05-2009 at 06:48 PM • top

Dad-blasted conservatives! They’re using the internet as if it were a forum for the free flow of information and the exchange of ideas! That’s not what Al Gore had in mind!

[4] Posted by MLW+ on 06-05-2009 at 06:53 PM • top

Well, like Griswald the preceding PB said, ” It’s those internets.  Don’t read those internets.”  I guess those evil conservatives are trying to bring their great stategy of Borking—oh wait, it wasn’t the conservatives was it.  At any rate, as a non-ecusian, I always thought that when you all picked a bishop it was for the whole church and not just some tiny little dioscese almost into Canada.  Maybe just junk the whole system and let Beercath just appoint their team. IMHO

[5] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 06-05-2009 at 07:00 PM • top

Well, I’m so mad I could spit too!  At silly commentary like this man’s.  Remember folks, I’m basically a liberal and even I can see the hypocrisy in what he is saying.  If the candidate is conservative the “trust” and “wiggle room” goes out the window.  I think his assessment of our supreme court justices is a bit insulting as well.
Vetting is a bad thing?  Had the discernment team paid attention to folks that were bringing these very issues to the table (only to have them ignored) they could have saved a lot of time and pain.  Every issue that has been brought against this choice was presented to the discernment team - they didn’t do any vetting if you ask me.

I am sick and tired of folks acting as though his heresy was dug up out of some musty archive by rabid conservatives.  KTF proudly made all of this available to whomever wanted it right on the diocesan/congregational websites.  PuhLEEZE!  KTF fancies himself some prophet of the coming emergent church and TEC said, “Ummm, no thanks.”

[6] Posted by renzinthewoods on 06-05-2009 at 07:00 PM • top

Oh my Lord. Sit down and have a nice cup of tea lad. You’ll do yourself an injury if you keep on rabbiting on like that.

Interesting isn’t it that the progressives don’t like the famous democratic polity being used against them.

[7] Posted by driver8 on 06-05-2009 at 07:13 PM • top

Their little sect is getting more insignificant by the day.  They are burning through their funds like they expected droves of new affluent devotees to pull them out of the ditch.  Let them rant and rave and stomp their feet, hold their breath, or beat their fists against the table.  I might loan them a pistol or two, except I doubt they know how to properly clean them.

[8] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 06-05-2009 at 07:17 PM • top

Hmmph!  Looks like the hens are finally coming home to roost, doesn’t it?

[9] Posted by Cennydd on 06-05-2009 at 07:47 PM • top

Renz, I suspect you are basically the kind of liberal who would have worn that label 100 years ago.  The “kind of liberal” who wrote this column would have had to beg the wardens in the asylum for paper to write his rant, because that’s where you would have found his ilk then.  Now they’re running the asylum.

[10] Posted by Milton on 06-05-2009 at 07:49 PM • top

This gentleman needs to take a lie down. It’s not like Forrester was called on a few pieces of hard to find, obscure quotes. His heresies are everywhere - he’s proud of them.

Translation of Mr. Downs: Keep the masses ignorant.

I bet cockroaches get really mad like this when someone turns on a light at night.

[11] Posted by oscewicee on 06-05-2009 at 07:54 PM • top

Milton, I’ve often thought I was born in the wrong century.  Your comment just solidifies that belief a bit more, eh?  Oscewicee, thanks for the cockroach chuckle - every see “Joe’s Apartment”?  See if you can find a clip on youtube.

[12] Posted by renzinthewoods on 06-05-2009 at 08:29 PM • top

What a crybaby!  Being a bishop implies being scrutinized.  I, for one, hope that every bishop gets the microscope through the gastric tube treatment.  Wouldn’t hurt priests and deacons either.  Develops character.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

-Jim+

[13] Posted by FrJim on 06-05-2009 at 08:34 PM • top

From now on potential candidates will have to be vetted like Supreme Court nominees, that means we will find ourselves favoring people who never published a single potentially controversial thing nor had an innovative thought they shared with anybody.

In other words, if this ‘vetting’ keeps up, we might only approve of Bishops who firmly adhere to the faith once delivered! 0hn0z!

Since he brought up the Supreme Court analogy, I thought it might be appropriate to share this insightful quote from Senator Russell Long during Harrold Carswell’s 1970 hearings: “Does it not seem that we have had enough of those upsidedown, corkscrew thinkers? Would it not appear that it might be well to take a B student or a C student who was able to think straight, compared to one of those A students who are capable of the kind of thinking that winds up getting a 100% increase in crime in this country?”

Just change “100% increase in crime” to whatever % decrease in membership it is, and Russell Long nicely summarizes the problem of just letting Bishop candidates who have what Downs calls “innovative thoughts” simply sail through.

[14] Posted by LDW1988 on 06-05-2009 at 08:34 PM • top

Tom boy,

We don’t have any more feet to shoot ourselves in. Why don’t we just shoot ourselves in the head and get it over with?

1. Not so fast.
2. Done deal. Just waiting for the coroner.

[15] Posted by john1 on 06-05-2009 at 08:38 PM • top

renzinthewoods - LOL… and UGH! My first thought was that it was like Looney Tunes gone very, very bad, but then the dancing in the toilet bowl was so 1930s musical. Thanks for a laugh that I’m going to try to forget.

[16] Posted by oscewicee on 06-05-2009 at 08:52 PM • top

I’m gonna tell O’bama about Mr. Downs!  The One has made being “open” and “transparent” a requirement for all good Americans, so it should apply to choosing bishops for TEO too.  Also, Newsweek reporter Evan Thomas said earlier today that O’bama is “...kind of like God…,” so Mr. Downs is gonna be in BIG trouble!

[17] Posted by DonRJ on 06-05-2009 at 08:59 PM • top

Mr. Downs wrote:  “Do you personally know the candidate that well?”

How many people, bishops and standing committee members whose votes determine the outcome, know Fr. Forrester “that well”?

It’s that internet and especially those blogs, where anyone, and I mean anyone, can express her/his views. Before that, television, and before that radio.  If it weren’t for that Guttenberg printing press, we would never have had as much of a problem with Martin Luther as we did. The ruling cognoscenti just don’t get the respect they used to and still deserve. :<)

God bless.

[18] Posted by Ol' Bob on 06-05-2009 at 09:03 PM • top

And you who read all that stuff, who let the innuendos and half-truths color your thinking, who let suspicion about a diocese that did things differently creep in, who jumped on the “band wagon”

Would someone who can search the HOB/D listserve see whether this person ever wrote a generous word about several other dioceses that did things differently?  For example, South Carolina, San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Quincy, or Pittsburg?

[19] Posted by Brien on 06-05-2009 at 09:17 PM • top

Hmph.  Let the episco-fundies get away with this, and next thing you know they’ll be making up wacky criteria like “above reproach.”  Insidious!

[20] Posted by Connecticutian on 06-05-2009 at 09:38 PM • top

If this whole thing isn’t a testament to Stand Firm’s influence, I don’t know what is.

It also says a lot about how hard the charge that TEC has ceased to be Christian has stung.  The mad scramble from some Bishops to show that yes indeed, they do have bare minimum standards has been interesting to watch.  What kind of charge stings?  That which has an element of truth behind it.

I do actually feel bad for Thew Forrester.  He’s no more non-Christian than a lot of them, but they care only for themselves and the legitimacy that comes with being a “Christian leader”, so they threw him under the bus.  As I’ve commented before, sucks to be Thew.

[21] Posted by Nasty, Brutish & Short on 06-05-2009 at 10:27 PM • top

The ass-in-ation was all done by Thewie who posted his erstwhile brilliance all over the place and made it accessible to anyone who would look.  And people did.  And they saw.  And Thewie was conquered by his own asininity.  His only potential competitor in the “I am maximally asinine category” is so mad he could spit.

He should be.  He hasn’t learned a thing from Thewie.  Ergo, Thewie cannot be a bishop.  He cannot teach by egregious example; how whould he do it with words?  and nothingness?

[22] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 06-05-2009 at 10:35 PM • top

I suggest we go back in time, and subject some potential Bishops to Be to a Forrester type examination and see how many make it?  Think of how different TEC would be today if such standards had been applied to, oh, I don’t know…Spong?
Bruno?
Parsley?
Griswold?
Schori?

I bet you could think of a few others that we could throw into my time machine and make them have honest vetting.  Bet we could really shake things up then…

KTF!...mrb

[23] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 06-05-2009 at 11:12 PM • top

Has he actually spit yet?  Will Tom Downs put his actual spitting on YouTube and share it with the whole Internet?
It’s so predictable that the smug arrogance of the leftist elitists immediately turns to a red-faced tantrum when there’s a public repudiation of their position.  The real laugher here is Thewie’s ego driving his profligate postings for all to see and reject.

[24] Posted by Long Gone Anglo Catholic on 06-05-2009 at 11:33 PM • top

Tom Downs wrote:

Well folks, unless we learn to trust each other and give one another a little wiggle room, that’s where we are heading.

Trust has been breaking down in ECUSA for a long time.

New Hampshire abrogated the trust in 2003, and ECUSA went along with it, and whatever trust was left after that has been fast disappearing ever since.

Let a diocese or bishop do something that earns trust.

[25] Posted by Randy Muller on 06-06-2009 at 12:03 AM • top

You know there are many areas of healthcare where professionals are also forced into management roles without appropriate training or guidance.  Being an experienced nurse, pharmacist, social worker doesn’t automatically make you a good administrator and the work place suffers for it.

It seems to me in this diocese the leadership is suffering a similar situation.  We are so small that there is no experienced support network to keep the administration of the diocese working appropriately.  The result is a crew that at times feels like they’re “playing at running a diocese” than actually doing so in a right and proper way.

TJMcMahon’s criticisms of mutual ministry in this diocese also dovetail into this thought.  The various often abnormally large MSTs are “playing” at church because there hasn’t been an adequate amount of education, training, and on going supervision to ensure that they are functioning in a right and proper way.

All of this indicates to me further justification for merging this place with another stronger diocese.  I hope if they do merge us it won’t be to another sinking rurual diocese - that is simply like chaining two sinking ships together - we’ll end up at the bottom that much faster.

[26] Posted by renzinthewoods on 06-06-2009 at 07:55 AM • top

My apologies, I suppose I’m relentlessly drifting off topic, printing my thoughts on the wrong threads.  I better go make some coffee before I get myself into hot water here, eh?

[27] Posted by renzinthewoods on 06-06-2009 at 07:59 AM • top

LOL renz - I am going to risk typing-before-coffee here too… my only comment is that the HOB/D has been in the process of assassinating this denomination for some time.  Obfuscation has been one of their weapons, so no wonder they don’t want information shared outside of their outlets and spin.

[28] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 06-06-2009 at 08:15 AM • top

#26, by my estimate over half of the current dioceses ought to be merged or amalgamated, possibly even more. According to some estimates half of the population of the USA is Roman Catholic and yet they have fewer dioceses than TEC. The Anglican Church in Canada has roughly comparable membership numbers and fewer bishops and dioceses. Not even GM or Chrysler has the middle management problems of TEC.

To my way of thinking, a viable diocese needs at least forty parishes that are self supporting and have an ASA of over one hundred.

[29] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 06-06-2009 at 08:41 AM • top

“Having proved it can be done; it will be done again. Perhaps it will be your candidate next time.”  Alleluia! Pass the gunpowder!
“From now on potential candidates will have to be vetted like Supreme Court nominees, that means we will find ourselves favoring people who never published a single potentially controversial thing nor had an innovative thought they shared with anybody.”  And what is wrong with that?
“...are you so sure you made up your own mind?”  Why, yes, as a matter of fact I did.  Based on the Holy Scripture itself, I did.
“We don’t have any more feet to shoot ourselves in.” Beautiful are the feet who brings the Gospel.
“Did I mention I was so mad I could spit?”  So what? Go ahead and spit, spit till your dry in the mouth and then go home.

[30] Posted by humble country parson on 06-06-2009 at 09:09 AM • top

Mousestalker, what you said makes a lot of sense.  For instance, the dioceses of Rhode Island and Delaware….not to mention Northern Michigan….are ridiculously small, and should’ve been amalgamated with their neighboring dioceses long ago.  Add Easton to the mix, and it gets even more interesting.  Ditto for Vermont and New Hampshire.

[31] Posted by Cennydd on 06-06-2009 at 09:26 AM • top

how many of you would survive this sort of scrutiny should everything you ever wrote or spoke be examined by the faculties of VTS, EDS, and Trinity seminaries,


Actually virtually everyone of the remaining (undeposed) HoB would be summa cum laude at VTS and EDS or almost any of the remaining seminaries.  EDS is now run by a frothing-at-the-mouth abortionist for heaven’s sake.  It’s not like those places have any serious standards.  Of course Trinity and Nashota are a different matter.

[32] Posted by Nikolaus on 06-06-2009 at 09:40 AM • top

Renz and Timothy, I’d always rather hot coffee be in me than I be in hot water!

[33] Posted by Milton on 06-06-2009 at 10:06 AM • top

Aside from the blatant hypocrisy and ill-logic in his argument, I’d like to mention to Mr. Downs that it is not exactly reasonable to come at people with pistols blazing, literal or figurative, and ask them for “trust” and “wiggle room.”  Unless that is what passes for common courtesy on his planet.

[34] Posted by Cindy T. in TX on 06-06-2009 at 10:50 AM • top

I agree with mousetalker as well.  The comparison of number of lay/bishop is even worse when one considers almost any other part of the Anglican Communion.  I really believe that when the Primates gather, or Lambeth meets, each Bishop should have the number of votes for the number of people he has in the pews rather than one vote each.  Then let’s see where the real voting power is.

[35] Posted by jtcmbc on 06-06-2009 at 02:49 PM • top

Methinks half-truths would be exactly half a truth more than typical TEC thinking relies upon these days. 

Essay question: Do two half-truths make a whole truth?

[36] Posted by paradoxymoron on 06-06-2009 at 03:08 PM • top

Heavens to betsey, wasn’t it too long ago someone suggested the Diocese of Northern Michigan be split into three sections with the eastern section going to the Diocese of Eastern Michigan?

Would it be proper to suggest that rather than transferring the eastern section of the U.P. we substitute the middle portion where KGTF and chronies reside?

Mixing Tom Downs and any followers he has with KGTF and his crew would be poetic justice. They’d deserve each other.

[37] Posted by ruauper2 on 06-06-2009 at 03:56 PM • top

From what it seems, there should just simply be a diocese of Michigan and Northern, Eastern, Western, & Michigan all be combined…

[38] Posted by renzinthewoods on 06-06-2009 at 04:25 PM • top

renz

Logical, but can you imagine the blood bath over who gets who’s turf? I suspectEastern, Western and michigan would want nothing to do with YooperLand. We’ve always been considered the step-child by those below the bridge anyway.

[39] Posted by ruauper2 on 06-06-2009 at 06:19 PM • top

ruauper2 - just curious whereabouts you are located?  I got this idea in my head that I know who you are and I’m just wondering.  Oh, yeah, I’m sure we’d be the step-children that we are in state government as well.  There could be a big special convention to select the bishop and the other bishops in the region could be responsible for what would it be - deaneries?  Just a thought.  There might be nothing left but some tumbleweeds by the time the standing committee up here wakes up and smells the coffee.

By the way, rumor has it that the folks in charge here know it’s over and are planning their next move.

[40] Posted by renzinthewoods on 06-06-2009 at 06:53 PM • top

I’m sure that if the PB wants to merge the Mich dioceses, she will.  She’s given herself that authority, hasn’t she?

[41] Posted by Connecticutian on 06-06-2009 at 08:08 PM • top

Maybe Renz should be the next Bishop of Northern Michigan…

Just a thought.

[42] Posted by DietofWorms on 06-06-2009 at 08:24 PM • top

DietofWorms, you’ve uncovered my secret plan…actually, that would force the Communion to deal with ANOTHER gay bishop, I just can’t see that happening right now.  I can promise you though that I wouldn’t become a media darling, jet setting around, giving interviews, acting humble…

[43] Posted by renzinthewoods on 06-06-2009 at 08:57 PM • top

#29 mousestalker

Forty self-supporting parishes? Northern Michigan claims 27 congregations, 5 of which are summer operatios only. One, maybe two, could be called “self-upporting.

ASA of at 100? Lordy, lordy, there is only one congregation that can claim an ASA of 70, there’s one 35 ASA and the rest are in an ASA of 20 or so.

Who would want to saddle themselves with those counts?

[44] Posted by ruauper2 on 06-06-2009 at 09:36 PM • top

Renz, I’m sure you’d have much better taste in footwear.  wink

[45] Posted by elanor on 06-06-2009 at 09:43 PM • top

Now there’s an odd picture: tumblin’ tumbleweeds in Michigan!

[46] Posted by Milton on 06-06-2009 at 11:10 PM • top

And those of you who wrote so seriously about Thew Forrester’s faults and then spread your thinking far and wide, you clergy, especially you who are already safely bishops, how many of you would survive this sort of scrutiny should everything you ever wrote or spoke be examined by the faculties of VTS, EDS, and Trinity seminaries, with their demonstrably different and sometimes contradictory points of view?

This is a bad thing? The election of a diocesan bishop is one of the most serious, significant things the Church does. The bar should be high, incredibly high and the Church as a whole should have all the information available to it. It seems to me that what Tom Downs is complaining about here is just that—there was no shortage of information about Rev. Forrester, much of it made available by Thew Forrester himself! Just think of the self inflicted wounds TEC could have avoided if the Internet had been around in time to prevent Jack Spong from being elected, or any of the other heterodox or outright heretical bishops that have plagued the Church over the past few decades.

I don’t see a trend forming, however. Thew Forrester was simply too over the top for even liberal bishops and standing committees to abide. This doesn’t mean that we’re in for a conservative/orthodox rebound in the HOB. Quite the contrary. The liberal/inclusive/heterodox wing is simply too firmly entrenched in power and has become the norm in TEC. I honestly don’t see any way for it to recover. Even financial disaster won’t break their hold on the reins of power, and that’s a tragedy. For now, let’s just call it a win and get on with it. This time the good guys won.

[47] Posted by spike on 06-07-2009 at 01:12 AM • top

#35 & 44, What I proposed is the logical thing to do. But we all know it’s not going to happen.

If things continue as they have been, in a few generations there will be a dramatically smaller number of dioceses <u>or</u> every Episcopalian will be a bishop.

I’m starting to think the latter is the more likely option.

[48] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 06-07-2009 at 07:24 AM • top

[47] spike

Granted this may be one small, possible wictory but that’s how change some times comes about. The fact the masses stood tall on this one sends the message they have every intention of being equal partners in future elections. Politicians(aka bishops and the PB)will listen to the pulse of the people if its strong enough. In this case they may have just heard the other shoe dropping.

It took 815 a long time to build their power base. As long as the people stand united they will be able to challange that power structure with a united voice. The large number of bishops already hiding in the weeds on this one tells us they know the winds of change are blowing.

[49] Posted by ruauper2 on 06-07-2009 at 09:28 AM • top

Opps, that should have been <victory>

[50] Posted by ruauper2 on 06-07-2009 at 09:32 AM • top

[49] ruauper2:

The problem goes far beyond the doors of 815 and all the way to General Convention and involves both. The “inclusive”/liberal/heterodox leanings and actions of 815 could not have so entrenched themselves in the absence of an equally “inclusive”/liberal/heterodox General Convention, and this has been the case for decades. The HOB saw the light in the case of Thew Forrester, but like I said, there is no trend here. The beginning of a trend would involve the rejection of the majority of the resolutions slated for consideration this year. What are the chances that will happen? Slightly less than your winning the lottery on any given day. Face it, the Left has a strangle hold on the levers of power in TEC and by now the cancer has spread to a majority of dioceses in TEC nationwide.

[51] Posted by spike on 06-07-2009 at 11:56 PM • top

43 renzinthewoods,
It wasn’t his being a gay bishop that set the water to ‘boil’, it was his being open and notorious.

A celibate gay bishop would be acceptable to most of the communion.  Too bad a liberal of your stripes isn’t really viable as a Bishop in TEC these days.

[52] Posted by Bo on 06-11-2009 at 09:07 AM • top

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