I was looking at another Catholic blog (I won't say which) and I was amused to see its comments policy:
Unacceptable comments include but are not limited to:
1. Insulting me or another commentor
2. Denying the existence of God
3. Insulting, mocking, or blaspheming Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Saints, or any holy men and women of the Church of God.
4. Posting obscene or impure images or words on this blog
5. Advertising (email such comments to me directly)
6. Writing a comment about something completely unrelated to the post you are commenting on
7. Linking to a video, article, webpage, etc. that I deem anti-Catholic or inappropriate
Note: This policy is subject to change without notice.
It was the last part that made me smile. Does he really need to leave himself any extra leeway?
My comments policy is rather less draconian. If it won't get me prosecuted, I'll let it through-- pretty much.
Some of my personal favourites:
who gives a f*** what sentimental irish queers say or think, shalaylay-- cat. or not
stay in spud land. over here, you wouldn't last a week
A short and sweet appraisal from a lady named Alison, in response to a post on abortion:
You are a moron!
Some input from a fellow with the apt surname Froth:
Have you ever noticed that none of the usual big-time talkers of big-time religion ever talk or write about Consciousness, or Energy, the Self-Radiant Feeling-Energy of Consciousness?
I replied: "Yes, with considerable gratitude".
Once a libertarian left a very trenchant comment, disagreeing with a post I'd written criticizing libertarianism. I responded energetically, but something stopped me from really letting rip-- I even deleted some of the more sarcastic touches. Then I was surprised when he emailed me directly, saying some nice things about my other posts, and we had a pleasant exchange of mails. I was grateful I'd held back.
I've never really had any grief from atheists or secularists or liberals in the comments box, doubtless because my humble blog is beneath their radar. But there are a few other discussions in other parts of cyberspace about what an idiot I am-- which of course, I read with much glee. (One fellow suggested, a propos of a letter I wrote the newspaper, that he suspected editors sometimes published letters just to embarrass the writers.)
My favourite comment of all time was not a nasty one at all, but this extremely nice one from Molly Carlson, in response to a self-written poem I had the temerity to post:
"I've been meaning, ever since you put this up, to say what a delight it is to stumble across good, rhyming poetry that is solid enough to stick with one for weeks! I very much enjoyed the vibrancy of this piece, particularly the joyful imagery of the flies."
I doubt Molly has any idea at all how much such a sweet comment (and indeed subsequent ones) meant to me! I spent about fifteen years of my life, from when I was a young teenager, thinking of myself as a poet first and foremost. This included untold hours toiling over verses, learning the truth of Yeats's words:
I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these...
There is nothing as heart-breaking, as definitive, as ultimate as the world's lack of interest in the efforts as a would-be poet. It goes way, way beyond ordinary indifference. I don't think there's any pursuit in the world where enthusiasm and effort is met with such resounding refusal to take the slightest interest. Politics, door-to-door salesmanship and social work is one long honeymoon in comparison. I did win a few local prizes and have a few poems published, but never had what I really hoped for most of all-- someone (who wasn't a member of my family) saying "Hey, I loved your poem! It touched me!". So Molly's comment was really something I'd been waiting for through almost half a lifetime.
And there have, of course, been many other kind comments that meant a great deal to me.
So, even though I've had a disappointing lack of abuse from atheist, I can't complain.