BRIEF BLOG INTRO:
I'm a singer/songwriter and actor from Texas "Living in the Bonus Round" in New York City. That is my way of describing how I feel having cheated death. In a game show, the Bonus Round is where time speeds up and the prizes are better. Seeing your death changes you. Now, I'm consuming life as quickly and as fully as I can, while still taking time to breathe and appreciate every single day as an utter miracle. Last year, I turned 60 and I had a set of goals, all of which came true, including composing -- and performing in -- a Mass, recording a solo album with a few friends and self-released it (selling tens of copies), headlined at a major night club in New York City to two full houses and just played the lead role in the reading play not written by myself. I update a few times a month these days, and I don't spam. So it's easier to keep up with me by following by Email. When this blog began, it was to track my death. I'm told it was the first AIDS blog. You can start at the gruesome beginning if you want. Or just jump in and maybe we can learn some life lessons together. Welcome to the Bonus Round. I'm Steve, The Songwriter.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rick Warren's Employee Involved in Wikipedia War to Rewrite History.

In following the same sex marriage debates here in California, I have read in interest Pastor Rick Warren's stated position on CNN that while he supported Prop 8, the constitutional amendment recently passed to take away from gay people the right to marry in California -- a right we had until this past election, he says he's not a crusader against gay people and that this whole issue was not that important to him.

So I find it interesting that one of his highest level executives started a little Wikipedia war in order to rewrite history just a wee bit -- so much so that it got him banned from the site for three months. Here is it is in fuller detail from a new political blog (The Ignorant Heterosexual) by my friend, Ken McPherson, who's been following the controversy for weeks.

A couple of months ago I looked up “Rick Warren” on Wikipedia to see what the entry said about Warren and Prop 8. I clicked on the discussion page tab and discovered a Wikipedia War that has become my favorite soap opera.

The discussion about how to present Warren’s position regarding Prop 8 begins here:

One editor, Benccc changed a portion of the Warren article to say that Prop 8 "amended the state constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry." It had previously said that Prop 8 "amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages."

Then another editor, CarverM changed Benccc’s edit to read that Prop 8 "amended the state constitution to read, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Benccc went to the article's discussion page and pointed out that the original line and CarverM's edit “omits an essential fact. Thirty states ban same-sex marriage; Prop 8 is unique for having rescinded it. Readers aware of that fact may better understand why Warren's support for Prop 8 was the subject of protests”.

And thus began an epic Wikipedia War that has resulted in Wikipedia officially “locking down” the Rick Warren page with a banner that warns “The neutrality of this article is disputed” and “This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.”

The two sides have been sharply drawn from the beginning, with one side calling for inclusion of controversies surrounding Warren, and the other side trying to strip anything but the most cursory mention of Warren controversies from the article.

Among the contentions made by the Warren Wikipedia Whitewashers:

- Warren did not compare same sex marriage to incest, polygamy and pedophilia during his notorious Beliefnet interview.
- Gay and lesbian people have never had the right to marry in California.
- Controversies surrounding Warren's position on gay marriage are, according to CarverM, "a tempest in a teapot" and unworthy of more discussion than a link to Wikipedia's Proposition 8 page.

After weeks of voluminous and sometimes heated debate, it was uncovered that CarverM is in fact Mark Carver, the International Director of Purpose Driven Ministries.

Here is Carver's bio from one of Warren’s websites : "As executive director for Purpose Driven Church, Mark Carver oversees the ministry of Purpose Driven in every region of the world except North America. His vision is to see a worldwide community of healthy churches working together to fulfill the Great Commission. Toward that end, Carver and his team are developing tools to train pastors worldwide and creating curriculum to support the spiritual health of individual church members."

Unfortunately for Mr. Carver, Wikipedia has a strong policy in regards conflict of interest. Once it was learned he is one of Warren's closest buddies, he was banned from the discussion for three months, along with another Warren Wikipedia Whitewasher who inadvertently revealed he was a member of Saddleback Church.

So, if it's not a big issue for Rick, and he just LOVES his gay friends, what's with the Wiki War by his employees?
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