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ERLC launches Web community, includes forum


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With overall Internet usage rising from 58 percent of U.S. citizens five years ago to more than 73 percent today according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is laying out plans for a Web-based community.

The ERLC launched June 11. The site features an expansive forum section where registered users can post entries and respond to others’ comments. The site also has its own version of a “wiki” – fashioned after the popular online user-generated Wikipedia encyclopedia – addressing topics that might be of interest to visitors.

Like a real community, is driven and directed almost completely by users. The site benefits from the advent of Web 2.0, a second generation of the Internet that features applications allowing non-technical users to employ the Web as a means to express themselves and participate in virtual town squares throughout cyberspace.

While the site is fully moderated, it is not designed to be an exclusively “Christian site,” noted Harold Harper, the ERLC’s executive vice president. While anticipating that Christians will be heavily involved in the site, there is no “test of faith” before one can post a comment, he said.