If you aren’t familiar with Chuck O’Neal, he is the former pastor who sued former members of his congregation for giving his church negative online reviews. Not surprisingly, he lost that lawsuit because those reviews posted on “defendant Julie Anne Smith’s blog site were made in a public forum and concern an issue of public interest.” Not capable of moving on, O’Neal then created a website to launch his own hate campaign against Julie Anne Smith. After that happened, this happened: “Chuck O’Neal’s ministerial credentials are no longer recognized by his now former credentialing body.”
Fast forward to a week ago. Alex Grenier and Tim Taylor are in a similar situation. Bob Grenier, pastor of Visalia Calvary Church, decided to sue people who accused him of child abuse. A large online community of religious, church, and child abuse survivors banded together to protest the lawsuit via social media outlets last Thursday under the hashtag of #WhoWouldJesusSue.
Then the unthinkable happened (or is it really that unthinkable?). Still unable to move on from losing his lawsuit and his ministerial credentials, Chuck O’Neal wrote two blog posts blasting the social media blitz — “Julie Anne Smith’s Destructive Cyberbully/Slander-blogging Movement” and “Cyber-Lynch Mob ‘Raging’ out of Control.” As we shall reveal soon, O’Neal does not want to acknolwedge us — WWJS — in any way. We assume that means he does not want to be associated with us. So we shall return the favor and not link to his site.
Here’s the gist of O’Neal’s posts: “Julie Anne Smith is at the helm of a new, incredibly destructive, well-coordinated, cyberbully/slander-blogging movement.” Julie Anne is the ringleader. “Julie Anne Smith has emerged as the chief prophetess, voice, and visionary of the cyberbullying group.” So evil is her quest that she plans to “unleash destruction everywhere.” Her followers are “antinomian, egalitarian, liberal, pseudo-christian friends declare Biblical pastoral authority to be intolerable ‘spiritual abuse.'” Her evil is cunning, manipulating her followers “with slogans like, ‘Who would Jesus sue?’ Julie Anne gives instruction to women on how to contact the press with catchy, slanderous, destructive phrases that the press will grab a hold of and run with.”
It’s all quite terrifying. The extent to which people will go to take abuse seriously… Crazy, isn’t it?
But seriously. O’Neal attributes the entire social media blitz to Julie Anne Smith and her site, Spiritual Sounding Board. He also gives a list of Smith’s “antinomian, egalitarian, liberal, pseudo-christian friends”: “thewartburgwatch.com, fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com, calvarychapelabuse.com, etc.”
But here’s the funny part:
Even if you just ignore O’Neal’s unhinged rantings and excessive overuse of adjectives, the fact is — or, well, the question is — um, why isn’t WWJS mentioned even once? Because the fact is — #WhoWouldJesusSue would naturally be the social media blitz created by — spoiler alert! — our site entitled Who Would Jesus Sue?
Chuck O’Neal goes to great lengths to explain to people that all he wants is accuracy and truth. So we here at WWJS decided to go straight to the source of this confusion — O’Neal himself — and clarify that, actually, Julie Anne Smith didn’t create WWJS and she didn’t write the WWJS action plan. WWJS did, of course.
So on February 23, right after midnight, we posted a comment on his site:
To be honest, I’m a little bit bummed that you didn’t even give my group the slightest shout-out in your role call of “the lawless, wild west of cyberbully, slander-blogging lynch mobs.” https://whowouldjesussue.wordpress.com/ is my group’s baby. You should check it out. There’s some good stuff on there. And if you don’t mind, can you please add it to your list of blogs in your first paragraph? We’d very much appreciate it. Thanks! And by the way, please keep mentioning all of our blogs. It brings us traffic and we really appreciate you supporting us that way! Thanks, too, for mentioning #WhoWouldJesusSue. Good to know your contributing to our attempts to trend.
Also, just for the record, it was my blog, not Julie Anne, that came up with “Who Would Jesus Sue?” So I would also appreciate if you could change your article to reflect that. I know you say your blog reflects “the opinions of the author based upon the facts as understood by the author.” And I know you have it out for Julie Anne. So maybe you just didn’t know or you felt it was easier attacking someone you have a vendetta against instead of attacking someone you don’t know who’s publicly calling people out for not taking child abuse accusations seriously. But now you know the facts! So I’d really like it if you did the right thing and properly and accurately attributed “Who Would Jesus Sue?” to my blog instead of Julie Anne. I’m sorry if that takes some of the steam away from this piece of yours, but — truth and accuracy come first, right? Thanks buddy! I look forward to being included in your verbose rants.
O’Neal never responded (we gave him our email address) and he did not approve the comment to appear. So the next morning, about 12 hours later, we posted the same comment again:
Still no response. Still not approve to appear.
By the following day, February 24, O’Neal had personally commented on something else — so he clearly was online, had the opportunity to respond or approve our comment, but chose not to do so. Screenshot:
That was February 24, at 5 am. So on the same day, around 2 pm, we left him another comment (comment split into two pictures):
Chuck, I’m disappointed in you, man. I see you logged on and made a comment today: “February 24, 2013 at 5:47 am.” This means that you logged on and intentionally chose to not acknowledge that both this article, “Julie Anne Smith’s Destructive Cyberbully/Slander-blogging Movement,” as well as your other recent article, “http://www.bgbcsurvivors.org/cyber-lynch-mob/,” are factually inaccurate. I understand that you can’t move forward from your personal attacks against Julie Anne Smith. But I was sincerely hoping that you really do — as you say — champion truth and accuracy. But that you won’t acknowledge that your two articles are inaccurate and untrue, and that you won’t post my comment pointing that out — that disheartens me, buddy.
So you can’t get over the fact that you lost your lawsuit against Julie Anne. Whatever. I wish you could. But maybe you’re not mature enough. But you can at least man up and PROPERLY attribute this whole social media blitz to Who Would Jesus Sue? rather than Julie Anne. That’s the least you could do.
Who Would Jesus Sue? is not “Julie Anne’s lynch mob,” as you say. It is the WWJS “lynch mob.” She did not chart “out a grassroots plan to unleash destruction everywhere.” WWJS charted out that grassroots plan. She is not “leading out an unprecedented media blitz designed to destroy a man and his wife globally.” WWJS is “leading out an unprecedented media blitz.” (While those are inaccurate statements, in my mind, I’ll just let them be and focus on the WWJS involvement.)
This is pretty simple, Chuck. Do you see what we wrote on the bottom of our Call to Action? “Feel free to copy and paste this post onto your own blog to get the word out!” If you Google #WhoWouldJesusSue, you will find this Plan of Action mirrored identically on many different blogs. That’s because we let them.
We are not Julie Anne Smith. WWJS is not Spiritual Sounding Board. Think of us as the religious Anonymous. WWJS is a coalition member of the Minerva Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping escapees of religious abuse and providing resources for healing. We are an inclusive community representing a wide variety of political and religious backgrounds. We use cutting-edge social media techniques to bring awareness to abuse, among other things. We offered our services to draft, organize, and launch this entire media campaign on behalf of Alex Grenier.
We can’t stop you from acting like a little kid who can’t grow up. But we can ask you, for a second time, to not perpetuate flat-out lies about who started WWJS. Truth and accuracy are important, right?
Here’s to hoping you won’t once again choose to hide the truth.
And here’s the original comment:
Every comment we make, Chuck, is recorded. Every comment you don’t post, Chuck, is recorded. It is in your best interest to let the truth be heard.
Still no response. Still no approval of our comments to appear. And still he will not change the completely inaccurate attribution of WWJS to Julie Anne Smith instead of us, WWJS, a coalition member of the Minerva Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping escapees of religious abuse and providing resources for healing. Not the same, Chuck.
So today, 24 hours later at 2 pm again, we left a fourth message:
Maybe third time’s the charm? Well, technically, this is the FOURTH time we’ve made an attempt to ask you to correct the factual inaccuracies in both this article as well as your other article, “Cyber-Lynch Mob ‘Raging’ out of Control.” I don’t see what you’re afraid of, unless you’re just afraid to have blamed the whole WWJS on someone who wasn’t responsible for it?
Or maybe you’re just too busy figuring out new ways to look unhinged. OR, or maybe you’re busy trying to get your Twitter account unsuspended? Man, that sucks! Sorry about that. It’s been, what, almost three days?
Regardless of the reasons, we’d just like to ask you — for the fourth time, but with a third unique post — to please attribute WWJS to Minerva Coalition and change both this and the other article to reflect that fact throughout.
The religious Anonymous
It is now 9 pm on February 25. Chuck O’Neal has yet to contact WWJS, has yet to approve any of our 4 comments, and has continued to refuse to change his factually inaccurate statements. We were honestly hoping for something better from a man who calls himself a pastor.
Truthfully, we do not care about being credited with the #WhoWouldJesusSue campaign. That campaign was done with an earnest desire to stop child abuse and stop a frivolous lawsuit against people also wanting to stop child abuse. But we are disappointed in Chuck O’Neil.
O’Neal has chosen to value a personal vendetta and hate campaign over accuracy and truth.
02/25/2013 10:30 pm update:
We are as giddy as schoolgirls meeting Justin Bieber, because — now that we publicly called out Chuck O’Neal for perpetuating inaccuracies — he decided it is in his best interest to respond:
We’re not sure what “marginalized” means here, since factually we are the most connected member (leader!) of WWJS. We also are not sure what “the most explicit and disgusting accusations” means, since O’Neal previously said Smith was the most “explicit and disgusting” accuser. But it’s possible he’s getting desperate and grabbing at straws. Keep trying, Chuck.