Washington Post’s Sally Quinn Says When it Comes to Hateful Internet Speech, Christians Are the Worst

Sally Quinn

The New York Times published a piece last week called “The Data of Hate.” Much of the data came from Stormfront.org, which Times contributor Seth Stephens-Davidowitz called “America’s most popular online hate site.” It was founded in 1995 by former Ku Klux Klan leader Don Black.

The frightening thing is that 76 percent of Americans on the site are under 30. According to the Times story, Stormfront’s targets break down like this: 39 percent Jews, 33 percent blacks, 13 percent Hispanics, 11 percent Muslims and 3 percent other.

This led me to surmise that many of the haters are white Christians.

I founded OnFaith eight years ago this summer. I was new to the religion world when I started and had no idea what to expect. The fact is that I was too green to anticipate the potential complications that might arise from a pluralistic religion site. I had long heard the old adage that one never discussed religion or politics at dinner, but I was not intimidated. One of my friends asked me if I was afraid of running a religion website because it might be too controversial. I replied that I had covered Washington social life for many years, and nothing was more dangerous than that.

But I hadn’t counted on one thing: the Christians. Yes, the Christians.

Anyone in the public eye — whether writing for newspapers, being in politics, or on television — gets hate mail. There are a lot of kooks out there. Back when people wrote letters, you could spot a kook from the handwriting: thin pen, slanted, and squiggly. On the outside of the envelope were often little notes like “I have electrodes in my teeth.” Inside, everything was underlined in red with lots of exclamation points. I used to wonder if there was a special school for crazy people to learn how to write these letters.

When I started OnFaith, the mail became comments on the Internet — and they were worse than the letters.

The first hate emails I received were horrible. They did not just attack what I wrote — which was usually about spirituality more than religion — but were also vicious ad hominem attacks. I can’t tell you how many people wrote in to say that I was a whore and a slut and so much worse that I can’t even write it here. And these all came from Christians. I was going to hell. I had made a pact with the devil. Jesus and God hated me. One man wrote that he hoped I would get in a car accident, that the gas tank would explode and I would be burned alive. He was a God-fearing Christian, and he ascertained that I obviously was not one.

I got a lot of hate mail from the Rapture crowd. When the Rapture came, all of those who had accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior were going to be taken up to heaven and I would be left behind in a sea of blood.

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SOURCE: Faith Street
Sally Quinn