Yesterday Cranmer raised some intriguing issues surrounding the Catholic Church’s application to control the proposed new Top Level Domain ‘.catholic’.
But by granting contested theological and philosophical terms to one single authority ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is inadvertently arbitrating between competing interpretations and conflicting histories in order to determine an official global orthodoxy.
What would Shi’a Muslims feel if the Sunnis were to apply for and be granted global control of ‘.Islam’, thereby determining forever the orthodox composition of the Ummah? What would Roman Catholics feel if the Orthodox were granted ‘.Church’? Significantly, Msgr. Tighe said that such concerns had been expressed to ICANN, and the corporation has been warned of possible conflicts, ‘particularly involving religious groups that do not have any clear or strong central leadership’. In consideration of their own application, he said: “We decided we were best suited to apply for ‘.catholic’.
I enjoyed Cranmer’s post, as I often do, and the controversies raised, but I treated it more as an interesting intellectual exercise, rather than taking it too seriously.
I feel differently now.
One part of Cranmer’s post that I missed entirely was this:
Two applicants have asked for ‘.church’
Yesterday it came to light that an Evangelical US megachurch going by the name of LifeChurch.tv is vying for control of the new Top Level Domain ‘.church’.
LifeChurch.tv – or Life Covenant Church, Inc. as their known in their application – have produced a website called dotChurch in which they say:
.church domains will be open to all faiths and religious beliefs.
But then again they say:
Churches, denominations, and organizations serving churches will be eligible for .church domains.
So, which one is it? Perhaps I’m misreading. Take a look and let me know.
And what criteria will be used to determine who is eligible? What will constitute a ‘faith’ or a ‘religious belief”?
They say of themselves:
As an established leader of innovation within the worldwide church, LifeChurch.tv is uniquely positioned to establish the .church domain. LifeChurch.tv has a demonstrated history of cooperating and partnering with a diverse range of churches and ministries, and seeks to continue serving churches everywhere through careful stewardship of this new domain
I wonder what they mean by ‘careful stewardship’?
In an USAToday article LifeChurch Executive Pastor Bobby Gruenewald is cited as saying:
the goal is not to profit from controlling the domain with fees for listing rights but to make Internet outreach easier and more accessible.
Internet outreach for whom; to whom? Will they be happy to promote Islamic outreach?
We’re not trying to define beliefs or doctrine that people would have to agree upon. This is not an effort to make it exclusive to any type of belief.
Is anyone else confused and a tad doubtful?
As for the second applicant for the domain name, they’re called Holly Fileds LLC, who have made applications for many generic domains and are a private group. A cursory Internet search reveals absolutely nothing about them.
Basically this is all going to boil down to who can raise the most money, which is not very heartening.
And to say this is not about cash is bunkum.
What a massive can of worms…..