These are the politics of exclusion in a society that does not have anything like the free speech ideal that many of us hold dear. Since John does not get equal time and space for a rebuttal, why should we lament when the attack has been silenced? If it saves John from getting excommunicated, then I am happy it never saw the light of day. Why should we rejoice in John being a martyr for the cause of free speech in an ecclesiastical society that has none to begin with?
I see no reason why John, and others, will not be able to reply, even on the FAIR blog. I know it's not exactly the most friendly place for people like John (nor MDDB), but MDB isn't exactly the most friendly place for apologists, either. They have all the free speech they want here, but they're always vastly out-numbered, and consequently most of them have given up. So it works both ways. To say, or think, that John will be denied an opportunity to reply, doesn't wash with me. What are they going to do? Say "sorry but you're not allowed to reply here?" So how will his free speech be denied?
I think it would be a very serious mistake to excommunicate John, and if he must be excommunicated because of a FAIR/FARMS "hit piece", it's only going to open a greater flood of members leaving, IMO. Maybe that's what they want, to sort the "wheat from the tares"? If so, then so be it. It'll probably a good thing both ways, and instead of waiting for the Lord and his angels to do the sorting of the wheat and tares, the Church authorities can do it for him, with a "little" help from FAIR.
In my opinion John is one of the fairest and most balanced observers commenting on Mormonism today, and has given both
apologists and critics a fair go on Mormon Stories. His own "journey" has been inspiring to many who've struggled with the controversies, and while some may have left the Church because of that (one reason he earlier stopped doing MS), I believe many others have actually had their faith boosted.
So I say bring on the "hit piece" and let's scrutinise it. I'm sure it won't go unnoticed here on Mormon Discussions!