There was a strange interchange reported by the American Civil Liberties Union a couple months ago. This past December, the Boston Police Department filed an administrative subpoena for identifying information connected with the Twitter account @p0isAn0N. What catalyzed police attention of @p0isAn0N’s account was simply and only “the compiling of publicly available information from the internet, something anyone could have done, which is not illegal and does not constitute a threat.” Twitter, following its stated policies, informed the user, who sought to challenge the constitutionality of the subpoena in court. The following interchange occurred during the second hearing while the court was considering whether or not it would allow the challenge. The topic at hand was anonymity, the importance of first amendment protected anonymous speech for democracy, and the practicalities of performing anonymous speech in the 21st century.
It’s one thing to profess to having a faith and to have hope for human action as a positive force; it is another to subscribe to a religion that has become highly codified and rigid. The more a religion exercises control against our free will the more we think of it as a cult – as a harmful form of mind-control and manipulation. I suspect that in the long run those faith groups that are more responsive to the lived life of individuals and communities are better able to speak to the people and guide them most effectively in their ethical, critical and creative choices. But the predicaments of doctrine, tradition, the use of Church buildings, and faith as an informant of social action have been thrown into stark relief by recent events in The City of London.