You should really look at the text

… or maybe you think that any publicity is good publicity — if you are the author of this e-mail that came to me yesterday:

Dear Arnold Zwicky, We would humbly request that you consider adding [site X] as a dating site link on your page [1/20/12, “Christians”]:

We are the largest free Christian dating site in the world and have been around since 2007. We are currently working hard on our memberships and have marketed the latest versions of our Google Play Android app and iOS app to the Christian community. Thank you for your consideration. God Bless, David


My posting did have a (very short) list of “Christian dating sites”, but only to raise a critical eyebrow at the use of Christian in these contexts — to refer very narrowly to “fundangelicals”, fundamentalist or evangelical Protestants  (who I will now systematically refer to as “Christians”, with sneer quotes). I then went on to continue an ongoing critique, often outraged, of the way those who identify themselves in this way use their “Christianity” as a shield for themselves and a weapon against others (especially lgbt people).

To imagine that I had set up a bulletin board for “Christian” dating sites, you would have to be clueless  — read the text! — or else think that any publicity is a good thing, no matter what its context.

But on the main point of that earlier posting, and how I got into that short list of “Christian” dating sites, a quote:

ChristianMingle hints at its restrictive use via the phrase “Good news!” — with the phrase translating Christian gospel or (in archaic language) evangel. The restriction to evangelicals or fundamentalists is implicit on most of the dating and matchmaking sites. A few typical sites:… [a few more similar sites and their self-descriptions]

[Added note: No, I haven’t responded to David’s message, nor do I intend to. A stony silence is my standard response from people who would like to use this blog as a publicity medium. I used to write polite notes explaining that their requests were inappropriate, but that takes time (something I find increasingly precious as I age away) and, more important, my notes almost always triggered singularly unrewarding further exchanges in which the correspondent tried to argue me out of my position.]

One Response to “You should really look at the text”

  1. Roger Phillips Says:

    I’ve seen “fundagelical” before but not “fundangelical”. In choosing between portmanteauing “funda-mental + evan-gelical” and “fund-amental + ev-angelical”. I prefer the former because it rolls more nicely off the tongue and because the split is closer to half-and-half (therefore “fairer” in some sense).

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