Anglican Vicar Uses Police To Intimidate Blogger

This is a guest post by Seismic Shock.

As some people have noticed, I’ve been rather quiet in blogging about the Reverend Stephen Sizer’s activities of late.

After all, what more can be said of a man forwards emails from Holocaust deniers, shares platforms with Holocaust deniers, and shamelessly flaunts his anti-Zionist theology before Iran’s apocalyptic Holocaust-denying regime? As Iranian pastors are arrested and house churches closed down, why is the Khomeinist regime translating Sizer’s book on Christian Zionism into Farsi? How many more times can I point all this out?

Yet there’s another reason why I’ve been quiet, and whilst I’ve held my tongue and my pen for a while, now is the time to speak.

At 10am on Sunday 29th November 2009, I received a visit from two policemen regarding my activities in running the Seismic Shock blog. (Does exposing a vicar’s associations with extremists make me a criminal?, I wondered initially). A sergeant from the Horsforth Police related to me that he had received complaints via Surrey Police from Rev Sizer and from Dr Anthony McRoy – a lecturer at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology – who both objected to being associated with terrorists and Holocaust deniers.

(Context: Sizer has associated with some very nasty terrorists and Holocaust deniers; McRoy has delivered a paper at a Khomeinist theological conference in Iran comparing Hezbollah’s struggle against Israel via suicide bombing with the Christian’s struggle against sin via the atoning death of Jesus, and describes the world’s most prominent Holocaust denier as an “intelligent, humble, charismatic, and charming” man who “gives quick, extensive and intelligent answers to any question, mixed with genial humour”).

The sergeant made clear that this was merely an informal chat, in which I agreed to delete my original blog (http://seismicshock.blogspot.com/) but maintain my current one (http://seismicshock.wordpress.com). The policeman related to me that his police force had been in contact with the ICT department my previous place of study, and had looked through my files, and that the head of ICT at my university would like to remind me that I should not be using university property in order to associate individuals with terrorists and Holocaust deniers (I am sure other people use university property to make political comments, but nevermind).

With my research on Reverend Sizer’s associations with terrorists and Holocaust deniers making its way into a publication of the Society of Biblical Literature, I was quite content to hold my peace. However, now that Reverend Sizer is now misrepresenting what has happened in my case in order to intimidate others, now is the time to speak up.

A Christian blogger – “Vee” of LivingJourney, who is based in Australia – linked to my blog as a resource for Christians to learn about anti-Semitism in the Church, including “lots of info on Stephen Sizer and Sabeel”.

Rev Sizer left her this comment:

Dear Vee,

You must take a little more care who you brand as anti-semitic otherwise you too will be receiving a caution from the police as the young former student of Leeds did recently. One more reference to me and you will be reported.

Blessings
Stephen

Sure, Stephen Sizer managed to somehow arrange a police visit to me from within the UK, but does Sizer genuinely think he can use police on the other side of the world to this effect?

Why is Reverend Sizer claiming that I received a police caution, when the police stressed I did not receive a caution? Is Sizer deliberately misrepresenting the same police force that he originally used to his advantage?

Who is Reverend Sizer reporting to, and why does Reverend Sizer genuinely feel he has the power to close down debate by threatening police action? Why call the cops rather than answer his critics?

Political and theological disagreements should never be accompanied with threats of litigation or police action, but instead with logic and open debate.

40 Responses to “Anglican Vicar Uses Police To Intimidate Blogger”

  1. 'Max' Says:

    I find it rather worrying that the police – supposedly busy-busy catching terrorists, racists and extremists – saw fit to ‘pay a visit’ to a man a kindly bringing these issues to the public attention.

    One wonders whether they would have been quite so quick off the mark had Sizer not been a clergyman. He was hardly at any personal risk from having his politics (quite reasonably) questioned, was he?

    Would they have given the same priority to a student suffering anti-semitic bullying because he deigned not to spit on the nation of Israel, as per current trend?

    We hope so.

  2. Judeosphere Says:

    Sizer not only relies on the police to intimidate bloggers. He has the temerity to cite theology. He has urged pastors to speak out against malicious bloggers (as defined by Sizer) in the context of the Eighth Commandment, “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

    He further proclaims: “Calumnious blogging is a serious offense against God’s law. Those who engage in it are jeopardizing their immortal souls and the souls of others.”

    http://www.stephensizer.com/2009/03/calumny-and-the-blogosphere/

  3. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Seismic you should present your case to the London based paper “Index on Censorship”.
    They do in some cases defend the freedom of opinion of Islamist hate preachers. I am curious if they are ready to inform their readers about the scandal that British policemen warn a blogger because he wrote the truth about Mr. Sizer.

  4. efrafandays Says:

    John 11:35, Judeosphere.

    The man is a disgrace. Can any of the university staff here give advice on if Seismic can pursue his University for releasing the files?

    • Bill Says:

      If your rules are like ours, if you’re not in the classroom, financial aid office or campus clinic, it likely isn’t confidential. Your non-academic emails, library and web activity may not be protected and may be available on request (in some cases w/o even a warrant). You’d need to check what you signed or implicitly agreed to when you got your ?.ac.uk accounts.

      Of course, this charge smells bogus-a-licious and looks like a S.L.A.P. type action — and dare I say even a false complaint. IANAL, but…

  5. A Shock to the System Says:

    [...] read the entire account at Engage. And, if you’re a blogger, post the link on your [...]

  6. Holocaust Memorial Day: Primo Levi speaks from the grave « Shiraz Socialist Says:

    [...] on Holocaust Day,, I note that Christian anti-semitism is still alive and well. Message to the Rev Stephen Sizer; you are a vile little anti-semite and if [...]

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Oh my, Jim, aka Shiraz Socialist, you are _very_ restrained today about the abominable Sizer! And who on earth thought up the title of reverend for Protestant priests? Sizer is hardly revered by many outside his coterie of antisemitic and antizionist buddies. Do his parishioners know of his views? Does he have parishioners? If so, what Anglican parish is it? And as one of the comments on the Seismic Shock site says, shouldn’t he be reported to his Bishop.

      BTW, I wouldn’t hold my breath about him actually suing anyone: that would cost money, and he would be unlikely to find the Church of England willing to back him on this. Calling in PC Plod, on the other hand, costs him not a penny.

  7. BenSix Says:

    Looks like poor behaviour from Reverend Sizer. Has he ever discussed your allegations, Seismic, or did he go straight for the strong-arm?

    (I don’t agree with your final sentence, by the way. If a private citizen is libelled by a powerful organ of the media, for example, shouldn’t there be a system in place to hold the latter accountable?)

  8. Thumbs down… « Living Journey Says:

    [...] going on and would like to find out all about this Leeds student that Stephen Sizer alludes too see HERE. And  a whole heap of comments HERE from others who have picked up on this story. Others are [...]

  9. Red Maria Says:

    @ Richard Gold.

    Do you know which diocese Sizer is in? I haven’t read the entire story or followed the links but a complaint to the police about your output seems a bit much to me.

    Have you thought about complaining to his bishop?

  10. Plod and Blogs « Shiraz Socialist Says:

    [...] Rosie B, blogging, bloggocks, blogosphere, censorship, crap) Further to Jim’s piece below, Seismic’s story got me into a fury. At 10am on Sunday 29th November 2009, I received a visit from two policemen [...]

  11. zkharya Says:

    sizer prefers to debate christians sympathetic to zionism who are old men and whom he can intimidate with his superior knowledge of technology, as in that videoed christian radio debate on water on his website. The better informed younger sort he prefers to silence. i think he finds the sincerity and rigour of seismic genuinely unsettling, and never thought his views would be subject to the elenchus he reserves soley for israeli jews. His unctious attempt to bully the aussie Vee i found rather repulsive, too.

  12. Joshua Says:

    But what crime are you supposed to have committed?

  13. Red Maria Says:

    Stephen Sizer is the vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water in Surrey, which is in the diocese of Guildford.
    The bishop of Guildford is the Right Reverend Christopher Hill and the suffragen bishop of Dorking is the Right Reverend Ian Brackley.

    Their contact details as well as those of their personal assistants and Archdeacon of Surrey are all here

    And the contact details for the Church of England Newspaper are here and those of the Church Times are here

  14. zkharya Says:

    also funny, leeds uni saying seismic associating sizer and mcroy with holocaust deniers and the like. Surely sizer and mcroy were doing that themselves? And addressing their theologies would be the least a theological department should do. Hilarious was mcroy’s ‘discovery’ that islamic apocalyptic resembles christian: did he remember to say why i e muhammed and his successors borrowed from its traditions and texts? No? I wonder why. Also, he misrepresents Revelation in, i think, an antisemitic way. The saints slain under the alter do not beg revenge on jerusalem but ‘the inhabitants of the earth’. Revelation dates itself to after 96 CE, after the destruction of jerusalem. The tenor of the text is towards vengeance on the greater oppressor: the whore of babylon, Rome. Why misrepresent the text to an iranian shi a muslim audience except to appeal to an anti jewish prejudice, common to mcroy’s christianity and islam, for political purposes? I think that is antisemitism, pure and simple, and seismic was right to remark it. Also, why is someone ignorant of christian apocalyptic teaching islamic at a christian tertiary institute?

  15. Susan Says:

    I wrote an e-mail to Sizer accusing him of antisemitism. He posted part of my e-mail and twisted it to make it seem that I was supporting him. I suppose that he could have called the police on me, but I don’t have a blog. I wrote him back that he has used to me to support a cause I did not believe in and that I still thought he was an antisemite. I never read his response.

  16. Tweets that mention Anglican Vicar Uses Police To Intimidate Blogger « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Engage and OyVaGoy!, David Adler. David Adler said: Anglican vicar uses police to intimidate blogger: http://bit.ly/7YytLo [...]

  17. Ohtheirony Says:

    From p. 8 of Rev Sizer’s 2007 book “Zion’s Christian Soldiers”:

    “The battle over intellectual freedom is waged in universities on both sides of the Atlantic. Organisations such as Campus Watch and the Union of Jewish Students monitor staff and students and put pressure on the authorities to censure them.”

    You couldn’t make it up!!!

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Yes, I know you’re being ironic, but I couldn’t resist the obvious riposte that they obviously did make it up!

      Sorry for that.

    • Bill Says:

      And that’s not even a good tu quoque since censuring is just whinging long enough to fatigue down whatever they want, unacceptable but you need to buy into the fact that maybe you should just shut up for it to work. And while Campus Watch and similar groups (not counting F.I.R.E., which is a totally different animal and one of the good guys) have gotten individual legislators to consider taking up the Academic Bill of Rights but even Red State legislatures are voting them down since they know they won’t be followed and Academic Freedom will likely win out in the courts.

      Sizer is sending in the manners squad with with badges, billy clubs and court orders to bully people who do nothing more than call a spade a shovel with the threat of getting a criminal record (a petty one but still one that can hang over you).

  18. How soon before I am “interviewed” by the police? at Roger Pearse Says:

    [...] but I was idly reading a blog or two while downloading Cramer’s catena, and I stumbled across this, which excited me so much that I felt I had to [...]

  19. BBC in Denial Over Stephen Sizer Says:

    [...] BBC blogger Rory Cellan-Jones has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Revered Stephen Sizer, who filed a police complaint against blogger Seismic Shock. [...]

  20. Blogging and Anonymity « Left Outside Says:

    [...] makes me proud to be a blogger (hat tip Shiraz Socialist) and makes me furious that bloggers are not awarded the protection they are due. At 10am on Sunday 29th November 2009, I received a visit from two policemen regarding my [...]

  21. Ex UCU Says:

    “”The battle over intellectual freedom is waged in universities on both sides of the Atlantic. Organisations such as Campus Watch and the Union of Jewish Students monitor staff and students and put pressure on the authorities to censure them.”

    You couldn’t make it up!!!

    Otherirony,
    I assume you have never seen the UCU activist list – it is common currency there (or was until recently).

  22. Owen Says:

    The police seem a little too willing to engage in these informal chats which are inevitably intimidatory in their effect. The Olympics Delivery Authority appear to have silenced the critical tone of their Media Centre’s long-suffering neighbours at Leabank Square Blog with a combination of an informal visit from the police and a (presumably very expensive and council-tax-paid-for) letter from the libel solicitors Carter Ruck.

    [For the benefit of the ODA’s monitoring squad this comment is not inspired by any communication with Leabank Square – http://leabanksquare.blogspot.com/. I learned about this incident from a comment left at Cafe Turco http://cafeturco.wordpress.com/)

  23. Rich Says:

    It is just as Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll said in the Reynolds Blasphemy Trial in the US in 1887, “Whenever a church is in the minority it clamors for free speech. When it gets in the majority, no. I do not believe the history of the world will show that any orthodox church when in the majority ever had the courage to face the free lips of the world. It sends for a constable.”

  24. Anthony McRoy responds to “SeismicShock” at Roger Pearse Says:

    [...] name Joseph Weissman) caused me to post here, and in the discussion at Index on Censorship, here, and here.  Seismic’s blog targeted mainly Stephen Sizer in his blog; but he also attacked [...]

  25. Twitter, Rev. Sizer And Be Reported. « ModernityBlog Says:

    [...] has also proven that Rev. Sizer’s desire to intimidate bloggers has [...]

  26. modernityblog Says:

    Seismic Shock the Video is out.

    http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/seismic-shock-the-video/

    Please do, embed it and pass it on
    Cheers :)

  27. I’m Seismic Shock « Left Outside Says:

    [...] can read what happened to Seismic Shock here. As ModBlog says please embed this video on your own blog, if you want to spread the news of Rev [...]

  28. Brian Robinson Says:

    Joan Smith: Iran’s barbarity that must be resisted
    Accounts of systematic beatings and rape are almost too harrowing to read. But weirdly, Ahmadinejad’s regime continues to have apologists — The Independent 8 September 2010

    “[A]ccording to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian women are “the freest in the world”, a claim that speaks volumes about the nature of his regime. … [t]hreats [to prisoners] of imminent execution — “such terror tactics are characteristic of the regime”

    “Weirdly, Ahmadinejad’s regime continues to have apologists. They claim that Iran is a democracy, ignoring the fact that an unelected Council of Guardians has the power to veto all legislation and disqualify election candidates from reformist parties; in 2005, more than a thousand candidates were barred from standing. They even encourage Ahmadinejad to stand up to “bullying” over Iran’s nuclear programme, unconcerned by the prospect of this rogue regime obtaining nuclear weapons. (I’m not a fan of Tony Blair, but the fact that he’s worried about Iran’s nuclear aspirations isn’t a reason why the rest of us should regard them with equanimity.)”

    http://bit.ly/9MpCeb


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