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Bishop of Georgia on GTS and social media

Bishop of Georgia on GTS and social media

Yesterday, in his regular email communication to the diocese, the Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase speculated on the role social media has played in the on-going events at General Theological Seminary.

After recalling the sexual assault accusations lodged against the Duke lacrosse team, which were later dismissed, Bishop Benhase condemned the role social media had played in this affair–saying social media led to “quick condemnations of the Board of Trustees and prejudgments about the Dean.”

He continued:

While decrying not having contact with the Board, 8 faculty members had their demands posted on social media and on their own website accusingly named “safe seminary.” The Board’s lack of official public communication was proof in some people’s minds of their unwarranted behavior. Many accepted the Dean’s guilt without waiting for an investigation. But those weighing in on social media didn’t have all the information, nor did they have the perspectives of all sides in the conflict. Some offered prayers for everyone involved, but many leapt to conclusions calling for the dean to resign and the Board of Trustees to repent.

I don’t know the whole story and very few of us do. I’m waiting, listening, and learning before reaching any measured judgment. Some of my colleagues in the House of Bishops have rightly requested all involved to seek repentance and reconciliation. Amen. I have no doubt there’s enough sin to go around on all sides. The bloggers, and the blog sites that were their enablers, weren’t included in that request. Those blog sites were just giving people a wide forum to express themselves. And those bloggers were just stating their opinions. \

Bp. Benhase’s reaction stands in stark contrast to that of Dr. Elizabeth Drescher, who earlier theorized that it was this very reaction by social media that prompted the truce between faculty and the Board of Trustees. She argues:

Silence and secrecy have long been weapons wielded wantonly by those in power against those with little access to the means of broad-based communication and collaboration. As the saying goes, history is the story of those who win, but that adage seems to need reworking in the digitally-integrated world: Those whose stories speak most clearly, most truly, and most widely increasingly win … at least eventually.

So then, what do you think? Social media: hero or villan in this instance?


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Yes. Bp. Benhase doesn’t like to be questioned by (or even talk to) the little people.

I’ve come to have lost all respect for the man during his time over our diocese.

John D

Love that the good bishop feels justified( I choose the word carefully) to label bloggers as “enablers”. The times, they are a changing.

John Donnelly

Shawn Strout

Bp. Benhase appears to be confusing content for process. He suggests that if the public had more knowledge of the content of the various claims being made, we might have a different opinion. What he apparently fails to realize is that we do have knowledge of the process. And it is the PROCESS that has been completely dysfunctional and apparently harmful. Most organizational developers and family systems experts would argue that process is far more important to the functioning of any system than is content.


Shawn Strout


on their own website accusingly named “safe seminary”

Oh come on. The eight fired faculty members called it as they saw it. Why shouldn’t they? [Is Bp Benhase just upset the Dean and Trustees didn’t think of it first?]

JC Fisher

Gary Gilbert

The cat is already out of the bag and ecclesiastical authorities no longer have the power they once did. Silence in the era of social media is not the smartest policy.

The bishop in question barely tolerates the blessing of same-sex couples and says that their relationships are completely different from marriages of sex-discordant couples.

More people are opening to a more democratic way of doing things, fortunately.

Gary Paul Gilbert

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