Note: I have a few other suggestions if this story is important to you either because of the issue Fr. Farrow raises or because you support his right to free expression.
Father Geoff Farrow has been suspended by his bishop for disagreeing, publicly, with his political ideas. The arrogance of the Roman Catholic hierarchy knows no bounds. The vast majority of its members are not pastors, fathers in Christ. They are merely the political functionaries of an aggressive foreign state. Provincial dictators with a disregard for the consequences of their actions that would embarrass Kim Il-sung.
The following is from Father Geoff’s most recent post. It is extremely important that you all continue to visit his blog regularly. You do not have to leave a comment. You do not have to stay long. You just need to keep the number of hits on his statometer sky high. The Vatican will try to isolate him and make him feel alone so that he crumbles (it’s a form of torture – see Guantanamo Bay). But your support of his blog will show him that wonderful gift of grace that we have all discovered through our blogging – that he is not alone.
In a letter which I wrote to our bishop early this week. I explained that I intended to take a private retreat and then, unless I heard otherwise from him, resume my duties at St. Paul’s this weekend. Today, I heard from the bishop that I have been suspended as a priest and removed as pastor of the Newman Center. In all candor, I had anticipated that response which is why, I had removed my personal property from the parish house and offices. I bear no personal animosity to the bishop for his decision.
Do you remember the Dave Walker SPCK story? It is important to understand something about it and to see how the techniques used to promote the story can be applied to promoting Fr. Farrow’s blog. As I reported:
Dave Walker, a cartoonist in England, was blogging about the demise of the SPCK bookstores after they were acquired by SSG, a charitable organization (technically speaking) set up by Houston, Texas attorney J Mark Brewer. Dave, who opined about management, was trying to get people to pay attention. Mark Brewer didn’t like what Dave was saying and sent him a threatening cease and desist letter. Dave complied and removed about 75 blog postings from his web site. This provoked an immediate reaction because Dave had not said anything that was libelous or slanderous.
It seemed but minutes before vicars, bishops and ordinary bloggers were jumping to Dave’s defense. Atheists, Evangelical Christians, Conservative and Liberal Anglicans, Catholics, Southern Baptists and people of no known religious persuasion were jumping to Dave’s defense. Because some people had copies of Dave’s posts, as did the Google cache machines, those 75 blog postings were reposted on several web sites. They will become increasing visible to Internet users when Google completely indexes them. The are indelible.
More significantly, others bloggers picked up where Dave left off by digging into and reporting on other details of the SSG/SPCK story. Five postings at a blog called the Ministry of Truth are particularly revealing. They include copies of many legal documents and interesting commentary about the documents:
- J Mark Brewer revisited (updated)
- Questions for J Mark Brewer
- SSG/SPCK Bankruptcy Filings
- SSG/SPCK motion to dismiss chapter 7 application
- SPCK owner seeks US bankruptcy protection for UK charity
There are some particularly entertaining postings:
- Peddling Smut for Jesus with J. Mark Brewer
- Poor Mark Brewer – He’s not Dave Walker.
- J Mark Brewer: Still Seeking to Serve Dave Walker
- The Great SPCK Scandal: Bloggers Stick it to the Man
Bishop Alan in his blog, in a posting SPCK shops — Wet Fish rotting, wrote that “It’s an almost perfect example of the Streisand Effect named after the attempt by Barbra of that Ilk to prevent her house appearing on the internet.” Indeed! Wikipedia offers this definition:
The Streisand effect is a phenomenon on the Internet where an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information backfires, causing the information to be widely publicized. Examples are attempts to censor a photograph, a file, or even a whole website, especially by means of cease-and-desist letters.
Writes Bishop Alan:
It should be mentioned that Phil Groom had also been posting stories about SPCK. He, too, had received a cease and desist notice but had not complied. An excellent piece that summarizes what is going on is his posting: SPCK/SSG: My Story, by Phil Groom.
SO YES, BY ALL MEANS . . .
. . . visit Fr. Farrow’s blog to keep the hit rate up, just as Jonathan suggests. But do the following as well:
- Subscribe to his blog using email alerts or better yet RSS feeds. If you use Google Reader subscribe through that, as it is measured favorably by Google.
- If you have a Google account or a blogspot blog, become a follower (upper right hand corner of the his blog page).
- If you have a blog, put his blog in your blog role. This will drive up his page ranking at Google, Yahoo and MSN. Ranking drives hits more than anything. Currently, Google is not publishing any ranking information for this blog as it is relatively new. The more inbound links to the home page of the blog the better. Currently, Google is reporting only 5 inbound links to the home page. That is not correct; there certainly are more, but there is lag time in reporting.
- Put blogs that have added him to their blog roles into your blog roles. The math is complicated but it does increase his blog’s visibility. This was the tipping point in getting much good publicity for Dave Walker and negative publicity for J. Mark Brewer.
- Write blog postings with a link to specific postings on his site and if you know them postings on other sites that link to his site. NOTICE ALL THE LINKS ABOUT THE DAVE WALKER/SPCK STORY ABOVE. The link is important; better still if the text of the link includes the title (or part of the title) of his actual posting (see below) rather than simply “here” or “link” as we see so often. Also, try to work “Father Geoff Farrow” into the title and in the content of what you post.
DON’T THINK FOR A MOMENT
. . . that this won’t help. Within ten days the majority of topical searches on Dave Walker and J Mark Brewer were at the top and dominated Google results. The objective was to get attention — then — was to get attention as Brewer was getting ready to file for bankruptcy. It worked. Try “J MARK BREWER, TEXAS ATTORNEY” in Google. I’m right on top, #1, followed closely by all the good guys.
And don’t think for a minute that it won’t help your blog. It will contribute to your hit. That is, if this is an important story to you. And it should be.