Thursday, September 27, 2007

Update From the Moscow Front

The cities of Moscow–Pullman are served by an electronic bulletin board called Vision 2020, which hosts emails from all sorts of folks making the usual announcements attendant upon a community. Additionally, Vision 2020 is a forum for the community to discuss local issues, including controversial subjects such as Christ Church, which has been a continuous scandal since October 2003, when the world learned that Douglas Wilson co-wrote a booklet to approve of the Southern institution of slavery.

And it’s fair to say that for the last four years, Vision 2020 seldom sees a week without a couple posts from upset citizens distressed over Douglas Wilson’s words or deeds, if not entire threads devoted to one particular scandal or another. It’s also fair to say that Wilson has had only about three non-Christ Church members who have actively defended him on the list, which does not count his multiple pseudonyms that he has deployed to defend his reputation.

Today, one of Wilson’s staunchest defenders posted the following letter on Vision 2020. It is well worth reading:

Faithful Readers,

I am now about to do something that is hard for anyone, but especially hard for an old soldier like myself. I admit that I have been wrong in some of the opinions that I have previously expressed on this forum.

Over the past several weeks I have been on an extended vacation during which I have visited many fellow officers with whom I have served during my career of thirty plus years in the military. Those with whom I visited are all, like myself, conservatives, and think of ourselves as libertarians. The defense of the freedoms guaranteed by our unequaled U.S. Constitution was a main reason for many of us to choose careers in the military.

Make no mistake. Do not be tempted to make any misinterpretation. In what I am about to say I having no intention of lessening my belief in freedom of speech, religion, press, etc. These freedoms make our great country truly unique. One need only look at the countries of our enemies to see how different they are from us in this regard.

Freedom of speech and the press are our main means to seek the truth in the complex world we live in. Anyone who expresses a belief of any kind does not enjoy any immunity from comment on the truthfulness or inanity of such expression. To allow immunity in any way would be to emasculate the pursuit of truth.

To make my point tersely: I have previously been a staunch supporter on this forum of Christ Church and its various personages and their actions. While I still strongly support their right to their beliefs and to the expression of their beliefs, I no longer am able support those beliefs themselves or the actions which are begot by such beliefs.

I have previously believed that Christ Church was a Godly institution which was trying to honestly bring goodness and Godliness into the world. I do not believe this anymore.

I confess to two things that helped bring about this change of perspective.

First, every fellow retired officer with whom I visited on my vacation believed as libertarians in the separation of church and state. The history of the world as we know it tells us of the disastrous inhumanity, cruelty, intolerance, suppression of personal liberty, and injustice that occurs when one or another set of religious beliefs are advocated and enforced by a government. But we need not depend on history for this lesson: newsreaders today can see the horrible results on personal liberty by the religious tyranny enforced by many mid-eastern and eastern nations regardless of the name or nature of their particular religion.

My officer friends put it this way. “There greatest threat to personal liberty today are those organized religious movements who seek to impose their particular strictures on our freedom of thought, expression, and actions via political and governmental intervention in our lives.” Those kind of actions by the government in England were the motivation for the founding of our country. Let us not forget that, ever.

This is hard for me to say. I have been wrong about homosexual practices and homosexual marriages or civil unions. While I personally find homosexual relations distasteful to contemplate, I see now the choice of partners and pleasures is a matter of personal liberty guaranteed by the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as stated in our Declaration of Independence. I see now that I have no more right to dictate another’s gender preference and the concomitant unions that might follow than I have to dictate what nail polish color someone might chose, whether such choice of color offends me or not.

Second, my officer friends, who know naught of Christ Church, urged me to re-evaluate the statements of those opposed — to try to find out for myself if those running Christ Church are honest and well-intentioned, and to see if they seek to impose strictures based on their particular religious interpretations on the rest of us that would lessen our personal liberty.

I have done so.

I have found the statements of Christ Church as found in various of their writings show them to be dangerous theocrats who, among other greatly limiting things, seek to impose eventually the most harsh measures on all of us who do not share their beliefs.

Especially disturbing to a libertarian is their intention to impose the death penalty on those they consider heretical — anyone who would criticize their particular religious tenets. This is America. Not Saudi Arabia or Iran. The denial of the right to question any belief is the most dangerous and arbitrary stricture a government can impose on its citizens. It is the denial to continue to seek the truth, wherever it might lead.

(God, this old soldier hates to say this since he has been so critical of some of Christ Christ’s critics, and hates to admit that he has been hoodwinked due largely to his own ignorance and lack of diligence. . .) I have found that Christ Christ is neither a godly nor a benevolent institution. Their leader and many of their upper echelon are now in my informed opinion, liars, hypocrites, manipulators, blood-suckers from their congregation, and exceedingly unchristian, intentionally veering quite far from the basic, plain moral teachings of Christ found in the most historically accurate parts of the New Testament.

To the extent that my previous posts have defended Christ Church’s right to hold and to defend their beliefs, I offer no apology. They, and all of us, have that right. It is called freedom.

To the extent that any of my previous posts have defended any particular tenet or theological aberration of Christ Church, or any of the many despicable actions that such have begotten, I humbly apologize for my previous ignorance, lack of critical thought and investigation, and for my unjustifiably overbearing attitude.

Kerry Becker

Thank you, Kerry, it takes courage and honor to admit error, especially after so many years; but as John Bunyan said, “A man lying down need fear no fall,” and you, at any rate, have shown your willingness to stay humble. Hopefully, the men behind the Federal Vision can learn from your example.

4 comments:

Austin Storm said...

Huh? "Especially disturbing to a libertarian is their intention to impose the death penalty on those they consider heretical — anyone who would criticize their particular religious tenets."

I'm afraid this is completely and utterly false. Since you live in Moscow/Pullman, do you honestly believe this is the case? One of your big issues seems to be honest. Do you honestly believe that we want to kill heretics? Have you heard the sermon "The Sin of Homophobia" or the lecture "Was John Calvin an Intolerista?"

Mark T. said...

Thank you, Austin, for the comment. Since Kerry did not cite his source, I surmise that he had “Your Eye Shall Not Pity” in mind when he wrote his letter. I realize that you may disagree, however, you cannot deny that Wilson and Dickison affirmed the death penalty for OT crimes, which would include such sins as heresy, unless they simply wanted to discriminate against homosexuals. I have not heard the sermons you mention, nor do I care to listen to them because I am convinced that words are a tool that your pastor uses to address the moment, rather than communicate the truth, which Kerry noted when he wrote, “I have found that Christ Christ is neither a godly nor a benevolent institution. Their leader and many of their upper echelon are now in my informed opinion, liars, hypocrites, manipulators, blood-suckers from their congregation, and exceedingly unchristian, intentionally veering quite far from the basic, plain moral teachings of Christ found in the most historically accurate parts of the New Testament.” I appreciate your position because the difficulty for someone like you is trying to rationalize the overwhelming testimony of the local community and the national church that Douglas Wilson is a dishonest man with your continued support of him in violation of common sense and (hopefully) your conscience. I know many former kirkers who paid dearly because they refused to walk that high wire, and you will be no different should you join them. Nevertheless, I encourage you to make an objective examination of the facts as Kerry Becker did and as Scripture commands, and act accordingly.

SamuelConner said...

Hi Mark,

I'm reading the entire Foedero Schism archive backwards from the beginning. There is so much here that I was surprised to find that the 'blog began only a little more than 5 months ago.

A question: Kerry Becker does not seem to have been deeply indoctrinated by CC. Do you have any knowledge of how his comment was received by DW or by CC? I assume that he must have withdrawn from CC.

Thanks for your work.

May God encourage, aid and preserve you,

Sam

Mark T. said...

Kerry Becker is not a former member of the Kult. He was a stout veteran who believed that the Kult had a bad rap and that people were unfair. In fact he was such a stout supporter that I suspected him of being one of Wilson’s pseudonymous personalities, except that he only fit one part of the pattern. We don’t know how Wilson interpreted it, but I am certain Kerry’s observations hit Wilson’s wall of denial and bounced off, and the folks in the Kult are so conditioned to this kind of criticism that they don’t even recognize it when they see it. They’re used to it and they expect it. No big deal.

I think that Rose Huskey made some brilliant observations on Vision 2020 in response to Kerry.