Oregon Church sues blog writer for negative online review?

An Oregon mom decided to review a local church. In the review she described the church as “cult-like”. Cult like makes one envision the Jonestown massacre and the deranged leader Jim Jones. No church wants that kind of ink. The church is suing the writer for $500,000. Read the linked story and share your thoughts.


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  • Spanish Inquisitor  On May 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    That’s great! A review of a church. There should be more of them.

    Defamation is the publication of an untruth to a third party that damages the person spoken about. Truth is a defense to any claim of defamation, so if Smith wrote something factual, that was true, that would not be libelous.

    In addition, opinions are not facts. If it was her opinion that the church was creepy, or a cult, it’s not an untruth, simply her opinion.

    Finally, where the damage? Did church offerings go down as a direct result of her review? Did others leave the church because of it? Seems a bit nebulous.

    Can you imagine a restaurant suing because someone wrote a review such as “the sauce was tasteless, and the steak was over-cooked”?

    They haven’t thrown Christians to the lions in over 2000 years. Methinks someone has a persecution complex.

  • Deacon Don  On May 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I agree that truth is the ultimate defense, but then there are those three magic words that are always so important to remember: “In my opinion.” Without those, some lawyer can paint a target on her, and quite likely on the hosting site, service provider and telecom carrier that make the site ‘possible’ and therefore share in the responsibility. In my opinion (and mine alone incidentally) sending church elders to poke into women’s closets inches toward the creepy a tetch.

    On an associated point, I would in all good faith suggest the good Pastor exercise moderation in declaring that another person’s book will be burned in the fires of hell, lest he who makes the comment be invited to be there to witness the burning. Me, I’m with St. Paul: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” Phil 4:5

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