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Ruth Gledhill on Religious Hate

John on January 31, 2006 at 11:45 am

Ruth Gledhill is a London Times religion columnist. I first became aware of her when she wrote an article about Gregory S. Paul’s study on the social health effects of religion.

Though it is not the focus of her post today, Ms. Gledhill returns to that previous topic in this way:

Recently, I wrote a couple of stories that generated enormous vitriol against me in the blogosphere. One was about a research paper challenging the benevolent effects of religious belief on society…I am not going to incite further religious hatred against myself by linking to the offending blogs, you can find them out there if you look hard enough.

I was attacked without mercy in blogs, mainly in the US. Some of the attacks were astonishing in their vitriol and certainly defamatory…I had clearly, inadvertently, simply by doing my job in a professional manner, incited hatred in these people, and it was clearly religious hatred.

Not remembering any vitriol against Ms. Gledhill (our own post did not mention her at all), I took her advice and went looking for examples of “religious hatred” myself. Here is the result, presented in the form of the comment I left on her blog today.


I was one of the US bloggers who wrote about the Gregory S. Paul study on religion based initially on your reporting of it. My post did not mention you directly since, as you say, you were just doing your job.

So it surprised me today to read that you were attacked without mercy by US blogs over that article. I thought I was aware of much of the US blog response to Mr. Paul’s study and I hadn’t noticed any attacks on you.

You may be familiar with the website Technorati, which tracks over 2 million [That was supposed to be 20 million] sites, including blogs. To refresh my memory, I did a search of your name and read every post related to the Gregory S. Paul study. I was unable to find any examples of defamation or “religous hate” or even mild irritation with you.

I’m sure you did receive some negative feedback (I get it too) but it doesn’t appear to have come from US blogs, at least not that I could find. Could you clarify? Is there a specific blog which was defamatory of you related to the Gregory Paul study?

Will she respond? We’ll see.

Update on 2/1: Ms. Gledhill did indeed respond. See my comments here.

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