Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wilsonistas Gone Wild! ! ! !

A couple of days ago we witnessed Pastor Douglas Wilson’s flying monkey boys pollute the Internet with comments in defense of their Fearless Leader. For the record, this was not the first time it happened; witness Patrick Poole — that man “who acts with integrity.”

Thursday, February 16, 2006
Wilsonistas Gone Wild! ! ! !
Following up on my post from yesterday, “The Mendacious Mullah of Moscow,” I’ve received a torrent of hate mail — all of which curiously originates from residents of Moscow, Idaho. The letters all follow along the same lines, making me wonder if there isn’t some “insert the adjective” webmail form letter over at The letters generally run as follows:

Dear Reformed Reprobate,

Greetings in Christ! I am a member at Christ Church/I’m a student at New St. Andrews/I’m on staff at Logos Schools/I’m married to one of the Great Leader’s children, and I wanted you to know how much I would love to put the serrated edge against your throat for daring to question the wisdom of our Great Leader, but as a fellow brother/sister in Christ, I will refrain from doing so (at least at the moment, you presbyterian pig). Our Great Leader vanquishes his foes merely by the word of his power and pen, so where do you get off saying negative things without having submitted yourself to the higher knowledge that proceeds from our Great Leader’s mouth and keyboard?

I just read on our Great Leader’s blog his recent instructions not to speak, hear, or think, let alone blog, about anything with reference to the Great Leader’s liquor distributor, friend, and future CREC colleague, R.C. Sproul, Jr.; and if it’s on his blog, I believe it and that settles it. If fact, I didn’t even permit myself to think about it as I was just writing about it. How dare you consider yourself a Christian and believe that you too can blog on the same topics as the Great Leader!

But you take your spiritual rebellion even one step further and blaspheme our Great Leader by challenging the infallibility of his version of events in the matter that I’m not even allowed to remember. And how can you claim to know any truth living so far away from the Moscow Mecca? Our Great Leader only speaks truth, only thinks truth, and IS truth, you wretched revisionist! If you have doubts, you should register your doubts with the Great Leader’s Judicial Committee, who will legitimate anything our Great Leader says, including verifying any unsigned documents he might provide as evidence to rebut your witness, in order to quickly dispel your heretical notions about the Great Leader’s unquestioned truthfulness.

If that doesn’t convince you, your only recourse is to register an official complaint with the Cult of Personality Committee of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Cults, who’s first task will be to examine if you first followed Matthew 18 before you dared to question the Great Leader’s veracity. And they will show you no mercy, you covenant-breaking non-paedo-communionist!

It is people like you that sow seeds of doubt amongst the weaker brothers and sisters of the True Kirk and feed the evil that dare not be named (Dr. Terry Morin — ed.). Since you posted your blog article after our weekly Wednesday afternoon imprecatory prayer session, we will have to wait another week before we pray down the Great Leader’s Righteous Justice upon you for your scurrilous sacrilege. My sincerest hope in life is that you rot in eternal fires of Blog and Mablog for your crimes, or are at least satirized as a macaroni dish in the forthcoming issue of Credenda/Agenda. But even that terrible fate will not compare to the eternal horror should the Great Leader set his steely gaze and his poisoned pen upon you. Prepare to meet your fate, reprobate!

Peace in Christ and death to all infidels,


Again, this is generally how the hate mail runs, so I admit to taking some literary license here. But anyone who has ever been on the working end of a Wilsonista jihad will know that I’m not that far off the mark. While the Great Leader is quite fond of repeatedly noting the “fellowship of the grievance,” aka the Vast Anti-Doug Conspiracy, this is far from a strictly anti-Wilson sect.

It was last year that I began noticing whenever anything that could even be slightly construed as negative was said on the Internet about the Sultan of Subjectivity that the same cast of characters would magically appear out of thin air to fiercely attack not just any criticism of Wilson, but savage the critics themselves.

The best example I can remember was the hatchet-job that the Great Leader engineered against Knox Seminary professor Cal Beisner in a WorldMagBlog discussion last April (this is lengthy, but please bear with me).

At issue was a brief article published by WORLD (follow the link and go down to “Doug Wilson and Slavery”) concerning the Southern Slavery As It Was plagiarism flap. Wilson immediately showed up on the scene in the comment section (Comment #7) to rake WORLD over for daring to mention the flap and for not abiding by his interpretation of the facts. In his opening comment, he attacked the credibility of WORLD because they chose to quote someone he didn’t like. Here’s his opening post in its entirety:

I have gone back and forth on whether to say anything, but it seems to me that this is an venue where we can have a courteous discussion about this, particularly since comments were invited. That said, the article was extremely disappointing. World magazine weighed into a local controversy when they simply didn’t have the background on it (despite having plenty of time). For local Christians here in Moscow, it is hard to swallow when our fellow believers at World quote someone who lives in the Ward Churchill universe as some kind of authority. I did not take this story as any kind of attack on us, but as a news story it failed, at a number of points. Disappointing. I don’t want to have to start reading all World articles with the nagging thought in the back of my mind — do they do this kind of thing in their other reporting? I hope not. Doug Wilson (Comment #7)

Did you catch that sleight of hand? Anyone in academia is compared to Ward Churchill. WORLD quotes someone in academia, so he is concerned about the quality of all their reporting. How’s that for charity? But this was just the beginning.

In short order, Nate Wilson showed up (Comment #30) to attack someone who questioned his father’s very generous definition of plagiarism. By the time the Great Leader made his next significant statement (Comment #55), the “Suffering Servant” messiah complex was in full bloom. The Wilsonistas had already laid the rhetorical groundwork for that:

I’d say pastor Wilson is operating right in the footsteps of the Christ. And if you had your way, I’ll bet there’s a nice bald hill somewhere on the Palouse, where you would end his life just as the Pharisees ended those of the Christ that he follows! (Comment #49)

Anyone attacking Wilson was now a Pharisee re-crucifying Christ! But hold on; I’m not even getting started yet!

No sooner had someone cited the New St. Andrews catalog on plagiarism (Comment #63), then the Great Leader was back armed with a fable to explain it all away (Comment #69). Ignore the man behind the curtain! When everyone did not take the bait, he claimed to call it quits (Comment #80).

After that, Cal Beisner arrived (Comments #101 & 103) citing an ANTITHESIS article that Wilson had written, “Wrestling with Wesley,” where Wilson charged John Wesley with plagiarism for treating texts in exactly the same manner as Wilson/Wilkins had handled the disputed portions of SSAIW, which, he was desperate to explain, was really carelessness, not plagiarism at all. Cal later cited another instance (Comment #132) where scores of students had been expelled and had degrees revoked for the same kind of text lifting that had occurred with SSAIW.

In all fairness, Cal’s comments were not an attack on Wilson and the charity and friendship he has exhibited towards Wilson is well known. If anything, Cal had been the most reasonable voice in the Auburn Avenue wars and went out of his way to give Wilson, et al. a fair hearing by raising the funding and chairing the the Auburn Avenue Colloquium to give those men ample opportunity to explain their views. Additionally, Cal had a book published a while ago by Canon Press, Evangelical Heathenism. With credentials like that, it is difficult to cast him into the category of the “fellowship of the grievance” or an “intolerista.”

The plot thickened when Cal made the following statement with reference to Wilson’s book:

Let me make my position clear: SSAIW is historical trash, as demonstrated by a number of written critiques (including McKenzie’s — which, along with Wilson’s response and McKenzie’s rejoinder, I have read). It also makes the stupid error of equating Southern black chattel slavery, which, founded on manstealing, was sinful, with the types of slavery (bonded servanthood, slavery to pay debts, slavery as punishment for crime, or slavery as alternative to death in warfare) countenanced (under carefully regulated conditions) in the Bible. But by lack of training in historical research, or by mistakes in logic, or both, one may argue in substance what Wilkins and Wilson argued while not being vulnerable to serious moral censure. Plagiarism, for someone who, like Wilson, had demonstrated that he knew better (in his essay on Wesley and the policies of NSA), is another matter. (Comment #139)

Whether it was Cal’s comment, or the appearance of the evil that dare not be named (Dr. Terry Morin — Comment #121), that provoked the following attack on Cal, no one may ever know:

Hello, I couldn’t help it. I tried putting myself in time-out until I calmed down, but I got loose when I wasn’t looking, and so here I come, cannon balling into the fracas.

The real disappointment is Cal Beisner, who ought to know better. How tedious to see him be so dishonest with the facts. He is manipulating his definitions to smear Doug. Either that, or he has absolutely no sense of proportion or wisdom. I have sat on a number of disciplinary hearing committees for plagiarism, and there is a big difference between someone who has plagiarized and someone who has made a major gaffe in their citations. One is carelessness and the other is deceit. I am completely baffled by Beisner, a college instructor, and his refusal to make this distinction. What a scary thought to be the student of a man who won’t acknowledge the difference. Or is there another motivation in trying to get a plagiarism charge to stick against Doug?

Does anybody else think it is odd that all the hullabaloo is aimed at Doug, when the portions of the work that are being featured in our various tirades were all actually Wilkins’ sections? Is it maybe because the point is not plagiarism, but actually the chance to go after Wilson? Here’s an interesting parallel: Rose Huskey (who posted above) has made herself a little cottage industry here in Moscow out of bringing charges against anything that Doug Wilson touches. And she regularly insists that it has nothing to do with her hatred for Doug Wilson; it is the principle of the law that she is concerned about. But she has been provided with a number of other local churches which are violating the same law (as she reads it) and to the same degree, yet she turns them the blind eye. Beisner’s singling out of Wilson smacks of a similar zeal for righteousness.

Very principled.

By the way, I don’t think there is any need to go after Wilkins. He has handled the whole thing quite admirably and is a very honorable man. Wilkins has the sort of wisdom to make the distinctions that Beisner is missing. I only bring him in to point out the inconsistency of the men with the Doug-complex. (Comment #150)

Cal is “dishonest with the facts”; he was “manipulating his definitions to smear Doug”; he had “no sense of proportion or wisdom”; he couldn’t discern the distinction between carelessness and deceit; he had a “Doug-complex.” The Wilsonista jihad was on.

What made this comment so interesting, apart from its vicious and condescending spirit, is that it bore a very familiar name: Douglas Wilson. The email address it bore, however, was also familiar to those who take note of the Kirk Krusaders: This email belongs to Ben Merkle, Wilson’s son-in-law. Remember, Wilson had said that he was taking his leave of the discussion. What could possibly be going on? Surely some machination of the Vast Anti-Doug Conspiracy was afoot and up to no good!

Immediately, one of Diotrephes Doug’s devoted disciples and regular Blog and Mablog commentors, Valerie, began attacking the commentator who pointed out the bizarre scenario unfolding before the readers, attempting to provide an explanation as to how such could have “accidentally” happened. In short order, Wilson himself reappeared out of thin air to explain it all:

This really is Doug Wilson, and I know I said I wasn’t going to post anymore. Events overtook me. Anyhow, Ben Merkle, my son-in-law, posted from our computer at our home, and through an unfortunate computer deal, the post that he wrote from here showed up over my name. Anyhow, I would like to take this opportunity to accuse Ben of plagiarism, and demand a full apology. (Comment #157)

Yep, no coordinated attacks on Cal Beisner from the very heart of Moscow Mecca to be found here! Just a keystone cops series of events! Following his father-in-law’s laughable lead, Merkle chimed in:

Yipes. The earlier post, which begins with “Hello, I couldn’t help it” was written by me, Ben Merkle. I was visiting at Doug and Nancy’s when I typed it. I managed to get in my email address, but somehow missed that Doug’s name had automatically appeared in the name slot. It was me. I take full credit for it. I hang my head way way low.

Wait. Hold on a second. Darn it, it happened again! Doug Wilson’s name hanging up there taking credit for somebody else’s work. Plagiarist! Holocaust denier! Horse thief! (Comment #160)

Can you hear the nervousness in their laughter increasing? Wilson had to keep the laughter going:

No, wait. It was his writing, and my name, so I was the one guilty of plagiarism on this one. Is that right? We need a determination from the line judge. Seriously, that was not a set-up. Not done on purpose. Pure accident and computer glitch. But still, my name showed up under Ben’s writing. Should I confess to plagiarism? Given some of the argumentation above, why not? (Comment #161)

Ha ha! Chuckle, chuckle! But no apology for the clearly coordinated backstab to Cal Beisner. Demand all the charity you want — this was a planned hit.

Professional Wilson apologist Tim Bayly (follow the link to his blog and check out the posts in recent weeks by he and his brother, David, shouting down any criticsm of Wilson and Sproul, Jr.) showed up to cover-up the hatchet job with a Wilson lovefest:

My brother, David, and I want to state publicly our support for Christ Church, her pastors and elders. You may read our fuller comments on our blog found here.

May God bless Pastor Doug Wilson as he confesses our most holy Faith. (Comment #177)

Wilson is confessing “our most holy Faith,” so his opponents must not be. Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Cult (CREC) members quickly gathered to join the happy chorus (Comments #222 & 223) to make sure that any discussion of the bungled attack on Beisner was quickly shoved out of sight. But the attacks on all members of the Vast Anti-Doug Conspiracy continued over at Blog and Mablog for more than a week afterwards:
  • “Boethius Counting His Toes” — where he describes his critics on WorldMagBlog as “a weird coalition of lesbians, evangelicals, secularists, anti-Auburn avenue folks, and pro-abortionists.”
  • “Son of Can’t Tell the Players” — where he spins the discussion and Beisner’s comments by stating that “Cal joined up with overt enemies of Christ and His gospel, trying to make the same point they were making, with no apparent sense of who his friends and enemies actually were”; yeah, real charitable. . .
  • “My Relationship with WORLD — where he admits to browbeating WORLD publisher, Joel Belz, before the WORLD reporters even interviewed him to avoid having to address the plagiarism issue; also note the ritual denunciation of “intoleristas,” etc.
  • “Me and Steve” — where he wrings the admission of sloppiness out of Steve Wilkins that he refuses to give regarding the plagiarism in their SSAIW book.
  • “Gettysburg Do-Over” — where he revisits the criticisms from the WorldMagBlog discussion in an environment that HE controls.
  • “Biblical Absolutism” — addressing Beisner, Wilson says that his interpretation is the only one truly faithful to Scripture.
  • “Kick It Up a Notch” — where he thanks his supporters for doing his dirty work during the WorldMagBlog brawl and takes his rightful place upon the Credenda/Agenda cross to suffer for the sins of the “intoleristas.”
If you’ve followed me thus far, I hope that I’ve identified the malicious methodology of the Great Leader and his followers: de l’attack, encore de l’attack, et toujours de l’attack; et Le Mullah est sauve!

When you see it spelled out like this in blow-by-blow detail as I’ve laid out examining the coordinated attack on Cal Beisner, the abusive patterns are easier to see. It truly is heartbreakingly tragic. Really. The blind, unquestioning faith that the Wilsonistas place in their Great Leader makes it all acceptable. So I have been hardly surprised by the hate mail I’ve been getting from the Wilsonistas. This is the behavior they are taught is normal; any attack on Wilson is by anti-Christs or those who are only “objectively” Christian, but have aligned themselves with the forces of pure evil. Even better, they have the whole theology and ecclesiastical system to back it all up. Much like The Matrix.

I have some further thoughts and responses to some of issues raised in the hate mail that I want to respond to, but the hour is late (or early, as the case may be) and I’m going to take my leave to get some overdue rest. Stay tuned!

Thank you.


Publius said...

I just visited the BaylyBlog. First sentence of the first entry starts: "Several years ago, I was talking with Doug Wilson about race relations..." Thud! While I strongly disagree with the Doug-as-an-evil-white-racist theory, that was unintentionally hilarious.

Mark T. said...

Doug may not be a racist, however, if we believe his writings, we cannot say the same of the Son of God:

“Jesus was not above using ethnic humor to make His point either. . . (Mt. 15:22–28; Mk. 7:27). . . Put in terms that we might be more familiar with, Jesus was white, and the disciples were white, and this black woman comes up seeking healing, for her daughter. . . She comes up and beseeches Christ for healing. It’s not right, He says, to give perfectly good white folk food to ‘niggers.’ . . If this understanding is right, then Jesus was using a racial insult to make a point. If it is not correct, then He was simply using a racial insult.” (Douglas Wilson, A Serrated Edge [Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003] 43, 44)