A few months ago (March 5), I wrote a blog post about the situation at Wine Press Publishing. They’re a big self-publisher of religious books, and their founder and former president alleges they’ve been taken over by a cult called Sound Doctrine Church. I’d read about the story online, and I made a comment on Facebook about it all — and was promptly served with a threatening letter from Wine Press, suggesting I was going to be sued, prosecuted, and presumably keel-hauled for having basically said, “Wow… I didn’t know this was going on.” They claimed I was a co-conspirator, and had their lawyer try to intimidate me with heavy-handed rhetoric.
Their lawyer’s name, by the way, is Dumas. (Feel free to pronounce that however you want.)
Well, several people have written to ask what the follow-up is, and what it was like when I ran into them at the ICRS book show. The fact is, I’ve stayed away from the topic on this blog. I mean, it’s not really my fight, I just happen to not like being barked at by a Dumas. Still, I noticed that the Brain Trust at Wine Press must have read my post, since they decided to write a couple responses on their church blog. (That’s right… I wrote a blog post about Wine Press, a publishing company claiming to NOT be a church,
and their defense was posted on the church’s
website.) On it, they took pains to detail what a “conspiracy” is, citing as their source that bastion of wisdom, Wikipedia. They also claimed that I was “lying about the facts,” though I notice they didn’t actually cite any lies, and concluded by saying I was “directly aiding… supporting, and contributing” to the people who oppose them. (You can read the whole thing here: http://hardtruth.sdoctrine.org/realfacts/
It makes for interesting reading. I particularly like the parts where they quote all those nifty Bible verses about “not gossiping.” Those are helpful because, if you wander through the site, it seems to exist for one reason — to trash the reputation of their former owner, Athena Dean. I’m not sure if revealing past mistakes and personal decisions rises to the level of gossip, but the site is so biased and filled with religious phoniness it’s laugh-out-loud funny. Ms Dean is not a close friend of mine (I think we last spoke a couple years ago), and I don’t have any reason to take her side, but the fact that she’s being slammed by a “church” just bugs me. Of course, the fact they’d send Dumas after me for making a comment on Facebook does also. That said, I still think the verses are a nice touch — it gives sort of a cool veneer of religiosity to things.
Anyway, on the church blog post they quote some personal emails
I received, which is fascinating to me, since these people have put up blog posts in the past criticizing others for doing exactly that. (You can find an example here — http://tinyurl.com/6vevasz, with lots more helpful verses!
) I guess citing personal communications between myself and the Dumas they had write to me is okay for Wine Press, since all those passages about “being confidential” and “not gossiping” probably don’t apply to a religious group. And notice that while the Wine Press sites don’t allow anyone to comment on their stuff, in the post above they’re quick to criticize others for not allowing comments. [Addendum: Well, the site noted was apparently taken down. Huh. Color me surprise. -Ed.]
I’m not sure if Dumas was behind that or not. But they were there, at ICRS. I had to keep walking by their booth, since it was located in the middle of several publishing houses, and I’ve been told the Boss there has come out to confront the ungodly in the past. I was more or less hoping he’d excommunicate me or something, so I could post the recording. Alas, all I got was the stink eye. And they seem to be doing a rousing business, even in the face of all the accusations.
Still, there’s one very sad footnote about the goings-on at Wine Press and Sound Doctrine Church: I was going to ask one of their senior people about all of this — the guy who sent me cranky notes, who is apparently the Major Apologist for the church, and someone who was once described to me by a former member of their church as “an evil troll.” I thought I’d ask him about the situation, since he’s an insider in the church and also serves as the Executive Officer for the publishing house. Sadly, he’s unavailable to answer my questions… having been just arrested a couple weeks ago. For rape. Of a child.
Hey, Dumas, do you have any verses for that?