Anonymous cowardice

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David Epps

Over the years I have received a number of letters from residents in the community regarding the articles I write for this local newspaper. Some of these are complementary while others are critical.

I write an opinion column so it’s not surprising that people who have differing opinions would write and tell me theirs. I welcome those and often will respond when people do that. The exception is anonymous letters or emails.

When I write my article I put my name to it. By doing so I realize I open myself up to criticism and even censure. There have also been times over the last 45-plus years that I have received unsigned, uncomplimentary letters in my role as a pastor. How should one deal with these things?

Certainly, there’s a great deal to criticize about President Donald Trump. But, for my part, whoever wrote the anonymous editorial that appeared in the New York Times is not a hero, is not brave, and, in fact, is cowardly.

Who wants to read the writings of someone who refuses to own up to their opinions and will not engage in some dialogue?

The same could be said of the so-called “secret document” penned by an unnamed source and brought forth by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) alleging that, decades ago, while a high school student, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh engaged in an incident of sexual misconduct.

The problem in both of these writings, and others like them, is that a person can sling mud from the dark room of anonymity and the allegations may or may not even be true. There can be no questioning, no cross examination, no probing for hidden motives, and no challenging the truth of the allegations. Why should these statements be given any kind of credibility?

There was a time when an unsigned letter or email would trouble me. I would worry over what I might have said, what I might have done, what I might have written, and who I might have offended. I would spend a great deal of emotional energy being upset by such letters.

Not anymore. When I receive an anonymous letter, I simply disregard it. I’ve decided that if the person does not have the intestinal fortitude to back up their comments with their name then I have determined they have nothing to say to me.

Once, over 20 years ago, a series of rumors were circulated about me. One was that I had become an alcoholic. Another was that I was on my fourth wife, which was a surprise to my first and only wife. Yet another was that I had become part of a cult. But the more serious rumor was that I had misappropriated church money.

Now, all of these began at the same time which, to me, was an indication that they came for the same person. The only currency that a pastor really has is his or her reputation. I was horrified.

None of these allegations had a modicum of truth to them, of course. Why someone would engage in such diabolical behavior is beyond my understanding. I was in agony for about a day. Then I determined that there was really nothing I could do about it. If I found out who the source was, I would sue them.

Otherwise, I realized that the people who knew me would know they were lies and those who didn’t would believe what they wanted to anyway. My advice to anyone who is ambushed by these despicable tactics is to ignore them and move on.

I respect those who are courageous and share different opinions and put their identify out there. But I have no time to read the ramblings of cowards. Once, the famous evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, went to the pulpit and found a single sheet of paper. On the paper was written the word, “Fool.”

Mr. Moody announced to the congregation, “In my life that I have received many letters that were unsigned. But this is the first letter I have ever received in which someone signed his name but neglected to write a letter.”

[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA between Newnan and Peachtree City (www.ctk.life). He is the bishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Diocese of the Mid-South which consists of Georgia and Tennessee and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at bishopdavidepps@gmail.com.]

12 COMMENTS

  1. An anonymous person who didn’t like last week’s column in the newspaper wrote in and basically called me a “white racist sexist.” Why? Because I wrote that people who write anonymous attack emails, letters, or articles are cowards. I’m not sure what my article or my race have to do with my being sexist or racist. In fact I don’t know what the article had to do with race or sex. In fact, nothing in the article was about race or sex. Anyway, the letter writer proved my point. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied by people who hide in the shadows and refuse to come in to the light of day.
    David Epps

    • Tweety1951 – to better understand the anonymous person you speak of, just read some synonyms of Strange: bizarre, weird, queer, unaccountable, inexplicable and freakish. You would expect such a person to proclaim alleged truths from the shadows.

  2. Amazingly, Rev. Epps, a male born to white privilege lectures a victim of sexual abuse about the proper manner to handle her abuser. Rev. Epps was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. Now he is giving hitting instruction to others.

    Professor Ford has come forward publicly and is being mistreated exactly as Anita Hill was in 1991. She has received death threats and, if she does testify, will undoubtedly be further abused by Alan Simpson and the other Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She will be accused of every negative motivation imaginable and dragged through the mud so another ideological right-wing jurist can satisfy the Koch brothers and the evangelicals.

    Obviously, Rev. Epps has no qualms about re-abusing a woman who has had to live with these scars for decades. So I will repeat Joseph Welch’s question to Joe McCarthy, “Have you no decency sir?” We know the answer to that one.

    • STF – you do seem to think of yourself to be an expert on sexism and white privilege. Now to try to understand the level of your hypocrisy, I have a couple of questions for you. The first I think I know already; what was the word used to fill in your original birth certificate under sex? Second, what word was used to describe your race? If you score on any one of these ( and I suspect both) you would be just like the Hollywood elite who try to push gun rights, womens rights and loving mankind all the while making money from movies that promote and encourage the very thing they allege to oppose.

    • Stranger than fiction–It’s ALLEGED abuser. In case you have forgotten, this is America where, so far, a person is innocent until PROVEN guilty. Unless they are accused by the Left. If you were on the receiving end, would you wish to confront your accuser? Demand proof? Demand witnesses?If anybody is McCarthy, it’s the people who rush to judgment just as he did. Have YOU no decency sir?

      David Epps

      • I repeat – Anita Hill II sponsored by “White Men with all the Answers.” I trust that you will enjoy the sport of watching the Professor being castigated by all the white guys and put in her place. How dare she leave her station in life to question Charles and David Koch’s Supreme Court nominee!

        Rev. Epps, as you are quite aware since you are from the privileged class , when it is “He said, she said,” HE always wins. He even becomes President.

        • STF, why do you feel the need to play the race card and the sex card? That’s a sorry and tired tactic. I grew up in a lower working class neighborhood in Appalachia, had poor grades in high school, enlisted in the Marine Corps because i was flunking out of college and was about to get drafted, was honorably discharged, went to college on the GI Bill and working part-time minimum wage jobs. I graduated cum laude and later went to graduate school where i graduated with high honors. The only real privileges I had were
          1) good hard working parents,
          2)I was born in America where opportunity is there for ANYBODY, and
          3) I worked hard.
          Throw out all the insults you wish. You can do that when you hide behind a no-name screen name and don’t have to be accountable. It take no skill to be a closet critic.
          David Epps

          • Thank you for the correction. How silly of me to fail to recognize that America is a true meritocracy! You are perfectly accurate. The reason women have never attained the Presidency is because they have never earned it. They rarely become governors, senators, or Congressional representatives because they do not avail themselves of the opportunities that are clearly there for ANYBODY. They are underrepresented as CEOs of major corporations and college presidencies because they just don’t work that hard. They haven’t learned the importance of grabbing men’s crotches and sexually exploiting underage boys. Thanks for clearing that up. Perhaps you could entitle your next homily “. Let’s face it: Women are dumb underachievers.” I’m so pleased that coming from nothing and wasting your early opportunities, you succeeded by the sheer force of your will and perseverance. If only women would quit worrying about their hair, they could be just as successful as are you! Then (and only then) they would have earned the right to be believed when they call out their abusers.

            Truth is always stranger than fiction.