An analysis published by LDS Church Examiner Greg West on January 3rd, 2011 reveals that not only is there institutionalized anti-Mormon bigotry on Free Republic, but West even believes a full-scale anti-Mormon purge from the board is coming (for the record, it should be noted that Greg West was banned from Free Republic). From December 2008 through February 2010, West documented 702 discussions about Mormonism on Free Republic; here were his findings:
-- 144 of them or 21 percent were favorable towards the Church. However, the bulk of these consisted primarily of "devotional" or "LDS Caucus" discussions where site rules prohibit debates or hostile expressions by non-caucus members.
-- 51 neutral discussions were found for a total of 7 percent. These were generally discussions where mention of Mormons and Mormonism were incidental, such as a political discussion about Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck.
-- 507 discussions that were initiated by known anti-Mormons with the intention of bashing Mormons and their religion. That's 72 percent.
What is more disturbing to Greg West, who is also the editor of the Society for the Prevention of Anti-Mormonism website, is that it appears Jim Robinson has progressed from merely tolerating anti-Mormonism on his site to directly interfering with discussions to promote anti-Mormon bias activity. Robinson has previously let it be known that he is unfavorably disposed towards Mormonism:
"I’ll put it this way. I don’t believe a single word written by Joseph Smith or his followers when it departs from the Word of God as recorded in the Holy Bible and I’m not thrilled about people coming here to preach some false gospel from the pages of Free Republic."
In response to a question as to whether he was trying to drive Mormons away from Free Republic, Robinson was quoted as follows:
"Not at all. Just having a hard time accepting some of their threads (like this one for example) that I find extremely offensive. I’m at the point that I’m not going to allow any protected LDS/Mormon Caucus threads on FR. You can’t post offensive stuff like this and expect Christians not to object to it. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to suspend or ban or deny any Christian from objecting to what he believes is the false prophecy of Joseph Smith. Whether Mormons will feel welcome here after this or not is completely up to them individually."
Greg West's critique has now become a discussion thread on Free Republic. Further research revealed that Jim Robinson previously addressed this issue in this March 29th, 2009 discussion thread. At the time, he wrote "...Mormons have and always have had free reign to post their threads on FR just as all other religious groups have enjoyed. Free Republic defends the right to freedom of religion and has always welcomed religious discussion and always will. And Mormons have always been welcome here. I have absolutely nothing against Mormons". This implies he's only recently become more hostile toward Mormons.
Jim Robinson has a reputation for being arbitrary about who he bans. He's known to ban members for nitnoid reasons. Of course, it being his site, it's his First Amendment right to control access; I support that right unequivocally and unconditionally. It is also my equally unequivocal and unconditional right to expose and expound upon deficiencies noted at his website. Furthermore, Free Republic is notorious for constantly begging for donations and pledges, even worse than PBS does. They've got a ridiculous 2011 Q1 Freepathon in progress right now. As a matter of fact, the majority of prominent conservative sites seem addicted to begging for money; many of them spend more time begging for money than they do expounding upon the issues. As a matter of fact, it's actually the shameless money-begging that turns me off on Free Republic more than anything else.
Free Republic bills itself as "America's exclusive site for God, Family, Country, Life & Liberty constitutional conservative activists". What's ironic is that the Mormons against whom he is biased also share those views, for the most part. Once a respectable website, Free Republic is degenerating into little more than a right-wing version of Daily Kos. The fact that FR is conservative can no longer be considered a saving grace when they cater to negative biases and stereotypes about conservatives.
Free Republic is not completely without socially-redeeming value; they've just revealed another outbreak of political correctness with the editing of Mark Twain to remove racial slurs. But until Jim Robinson cleans up the site and ratchets down the money-begging to less hysterical levels, I cannot recommend that anyone register to post on the site.