Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nastiness Disguised as Humor

Still laying more groundwork for an upcoming post: today I want you to witness a public email exchange between three members of Christ Church, Moscow, and one member of the community, which took place on the local listserv Vision 20/20 during the Southern Slavery scandal of 2003–2004.

To set the context, the Fearless Leader had just sent an invitation to the community to join him at the Kenworthy Theatre for his “This is my town” hall meeting. As previously noted, the Kult called the town hall meeting after their two quarter-page ads (here and here) failed miserably to win anyone to the cause of Southern slavery or the Christian gospel. If I said they went over like the proverbial lead balloon, I’d be lying. It was more like the Hindenburg’s arrival in Jersey.

So Wilson adopted a more dramatic tack. The town fool rented the town’s historic stage to star in a play that he titled “On the Recent Christ Church Controversy,” and since Wilson had already offended pretty much as many people as possible, most of the participants on Vision 20/20 didn’t respond well to his invitation.

Enter a woman named Debi Robinson-Smith, who replied to the invite by quoting from the Kult’s two ads and drawing the most reasonable conclusion that a non-Christian could infer. The Fearless Leader’s answered her (and others); then she replied to him once again.

Enter the Operations Manager for Canon Press, Lucy Zoe Jones (sister of Doug Jones), who contacted Ms. Smith by off-list email, and you have to notice her manipulative approach by misquoting Ms. Smith and attributing words to her that she never wrote.

Enter Nathan Wilson, son of the Fearless Leader and at that time professor at New Saint Andrews, who took off-list umbrage at Ms. Smith’s response to Lucy Zoe Jones.

And remember, these are the folks who were supposedly trying to rehabilitate their public image after the month-long quarter-page fiascoes. The emails speak for themselves; you have to read them:

----- Original Message -----
From: “Debi Smith”
To: “Vision2020”
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 10:39 PM
Subject: [Vision2020] Letter of Regret

Actually, I don’t really regret not attending the Doug and pony show. I don’t regret not poking sticks at snakes either.

In the Conclusion section of Doug Jones’ adorable little monograph The Biblical Offense of [Racism], he says:

“The Biblical worldview can justifiably condemn racist attitudes and actions because such are contrary to the Word of God. Many non-Christians claim to oppose racism, but they cannot justify their condemnation. Their worldview precludes placing any significance or value on human life.”

And in their (in my humble opinion poorly written) diatribes disguised as information, the all-male Board of Christ Church has branded me and mine as fakers, humorless, joyless, and encouragers of racism and violence.

Why on earth would I expend the energy to listen to these self-congratulatory delusionaries say anything? I’m pretty clear that they reject out of hand any one who doesn’t follow their credo, and have no intention of being anywhere near the Kenworthy that night.

I vote to join Joan and other like-minded folks in a more gainful and joyous gathering at the nearest food and drink establishment not owned by anyone connected with the dougies. . . .

Just call me a happy a fun-loving unrepentant feminist humanist Pagan (and beautiful in my non-submission!!!).

Debi Robinson-Smith


----- Original Message -----

From: “Douglas”
To: “Vision2020”
Sent: Friday, December 05, 2003 12:29 PM
Subject: [Vision2020] Fwd: Town hall meeting

Visionaries,

Allow me to continue to extend a cordial invitation to our town hall meeting. December 11, 7 pm, at the Kenworthy. We hope to answer every question we can, on the spot, and with opportunity for follow-up questions. We will be able to do this without the intervention of print media gumming up the works. Actually, that was not fair. The Argonaut and the Trib have done a really decent job in this hubbub. But back to the town hall meeting, if you have a question, or an objection, please bring it. We will address them as best we can, and as cordially as we can.

In his great book Orthodoxy, Chesterton once said, “This began to be alarming. It looked not so much as if Christianity was bad enough to include any vices, but rather as if any stick was good enough to beat Christianity with.”

The aptness of this observation, as well as the crying need for Rose to change her plans and come to our town hall meeting, is seen in the following:

Credenda Agenda, which I think of as your baby, carries an article in the current issue under the heading Femina, which positively encourages godly women to expect a divine reward if they rat out their dissenting husbands to the pastor and elders of the church. (This reporting is essential if their husbands are fools, making a stink about the church or, are unrepentant about questioning the decisions of church leadership. And that is different from life under Chairman Mao or Comrade Stalin how? And how desperate are you guys anyhow?)

First, Rose simply made up the stuff about making a stink “about the church,” and questioning “decisions of church leadership.” That was not in the column at all. Perhaps Rose has taken a course in research study methods from Quinlan and Ramsey. Oops. I really am trying to live up to certain exacting scholarship standards I just found out about recently — make that Rinlan and Quamsey.

But here is the real issue:

“You Christians teach that wives should submit to their husbands, right?”

“Right.”

“What if a husband is beating his wife? Then what should she do?”

At this point, this becomes a choose [sic] your own adventure novel. Suppose the (horrible) answer were:

“Nothing. She should be submissive, and just take it.”

At this point the Tolerance Police would set to caterwauling about how such Christians hate women. And that caterwauling would not obscure the fact that, on this question, they would happen to be right. A blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. No human authority on earth is absolute, and each legitimate authority must defer to other legitimate authorities according to their respective spheres. This involves family government, church government and civil government. There are times, Rose, when a woman should call the cops. There are times when she should call her pastor or elders. I am sorry you do not appear to think so. It appears that feminism is still evolving.

So if the answer were no, as it was in the Femina column she mentions, and the wife urged to take her problem with an abusive husband to the elders, the caterwauling ascends yet again. Chairman Mao! Stalin! Returning to the quote from Chesterton, it begins to looks as though Christ Church were not bad enough to encompass any evil, but rather that any rock is good enough to throw at us.

One of the advantages of a town hall meeting is that is should make abundantly clear what our differences actually are (and they are significant), but it should also make clear that kicking puppies is not part of our liturgy. So for those whose minds are already made up, and who do not want to be confused with any facts, I hope you enjoy whatever alternative activity you select. I would recommend sitting cross-legged on the floor, fingers in ears, while singing the national anthem at a medium level. “Ohhh, say can you SEEEE . . .” Then, the day after the meeting, you can post to this forum to let us all know that you found our arguments and answers singularly unconvincing, and that you will see us at the SUB.

Bill London asked Roy Atwood about his quoted comment that “this booklet was not published as a scholarly work.” I’ll let Roy address whether the Daily News got the quote right (imagine . . . its [sic] easy if you try), and, if so, what he meant by it. But please allow my take on it for a minute. Our booklet was obviously not a scholarly work by local professional historians because we spelled all the names right, quoted our sources accurately, did not make up facts to suit ourselves, did not post our work on a government web site illegally, and we are willing to engage in debate with those who challenge our work. Consequently, we admit with shame that our booklet did not meet the Exacting Standards established by the Quinlan/Ramsey piece (“copyrighted 2003, no thinking about this work without permission from the authors!”).

Debi Robinson-Smith takes umbrage at the point we made re: “fakers, humorless, joyless, and encouragers of racism and violence.” But we were not maintaining that every last secularist is humorless, etc. We do believe that the logic of secularism tends that way, and that multitudes of secularists have followed this logic out as evidenced by the general howling in this controversy. Exceptions? Sure — Jim Fisher of the Trib. Carl and Andreas on this list, et al. But we reiterate that the fundamentalism of the left is not very attractive, rejoices in pettiness, hesitates not when it comes to circulating a lie (and when caught in a lie, simply moves on to the next one), and likes to initiate pogroms in the name of inclusive diversity. Have the deadly earnest “Not in Our Town” folks picked out an appropriate colored shape for us to have to pin on our clothes yet? I suggest a big “I” for Intolerant.

We would love to see any of you at the town hall meeting. Really. Melynda, hope your kids get better. Hope you can make it.

Cordially,

Douglas Wilson


----- Original Message -----
From: “Debi Smith”
To: “Vision2020”
Sent: Sunday, December 07, 2003 8:06 AM
Subject: [Vision2020] Summons to Town Hall

Thanks again for the repeated invite, Doug. I still decline. I do not believe you have anything new to add — yes, my mind is firmly closed in regards to any additional defense you might have, or “answers” to any questions you might be asked. I may be a “liberal” (whatever that means), but I am capable of recognizing the difference between a discussion and another Wilson Rant. I’ve seen you in action before, and am simply not interested in a repeat of the refrain “Jesus loves Doug, this I know because his bible tells him so”.

Those of us who are circulating the Not In Our Town sign-up sheet are from a variety of groups and interests, all of whom find your intolerance for those not of your persuasion both stupid and annoying. I do owe you a note of thanks, however. Through your creative revision of history you have inadvertently introduced me to a whole new set of friends. While you have been busily scrambling to explain yourself in every newspaper on the Palouse, I have been enjoying the company of Christians of many stripes, Buddhists, Wiccans, Pagans, Lesbians, Gays, Historians, Feminist Women of Color, Birkenstock-Wearing Old Hippies, and Balding Homer Simpson Look-Alikes.

I’m having great time, and all without your narrow Biblical interpretations, your “standards”, and especially without your “comedy”. I’m finding the company of these folks full of laughter, intelligent conversation, creativity, and joy.

So, thanks for being the narrow, rigid, lock-stepping bunch you are — it introduced me to a delightful crowd!

By the way, your personal selection of the letter “I” to mark your group is not a bad idea. I’m not in favor of this type of singling-out behavior, but whatever blows your skirt up! It might be handy to be able to identify, through the letter “I” for “idiotic”, your entire group.

Avoiding you like the plague, having lots of laughs (partly at your expense),

Debi Robinson-Smith


Ms. Smith,

I don’t know you, never spoken with you, and can’t remember why you hate me. You’re certainly free to *hate* all things Wilson; however, I find it rather strange that you would hate an entire group of people without even a discussion. To me, it smacks of ignorance.

I’m not fond of the KKK because of their hatred of people of color, their ignorance, their bitterness, and because they lump people together based on the color of their skin. I don’t hate them. I pity them and I take every opportunity to educate them. It’s difficult because they tend to be ignorant and small minded. And like you . . . their mind is solidly closed. Could you perhaps tell me how you differ from them in your hatred of all things Wilson . . . including me? I don’t intend to wear an “I” to satisfy your hatred of me. If you wouldn’t mind walking around with a sheet on, it would help so I could keep the kids away from you. I’d rather they didn’t learn your brand of hate.

I’m not fond of hypocrites either.

Lucy Zoe Jones


----- Original Message -----
From: “Debi Smith”
To: “Lucy Zoe”; “Vision2020”
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 12:47 PM
Subject: [Vision2020] Re: What’s the difference?

Lucy, I don’t know you, care what your beliefs are, or hate you. You were not even on my radar until you chose to contact me personally — I would never do that to you without an invitation (which you have now given me). If you review my posts, you will see I have not used the dreaded “H” word — I don’t even hate Doug. I dislike the things he stands for, I dislike his tactics, and I dislike that folks like you feel it necessary to contact me on his behalf. Nowhere in my posts did I indicate that I would force you to wear the letter “I”. That was Doug’s suggestion. A careful reading of posts would make your tirade more credible and accurate. Try to do that prior to e-mailing me again. In fact, don’t e-mail me personally, and I won’t e-mail you. Let’s keep the discussion on the V2020 list — we have nothing private to say to one another. But, thanks for the “heads up” regarding how you feel about those who dissent with Doug.

Debi Robinson-Smith



You’re taking an offline email public? Slick work.

NDW



----- Original Message -----
From: “Debi Smith”
To: “Nate Wilson”; “Vision2020”
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 1:43 PM
Subject: Re: OFFLINE: Re: [Vision2020] Re: What’s the difference?

You bet I did, Nate, and am doing it again with yours. From past experience with folks who disagree with my public and open sentiments, it is best to nip in the bud the harassment that can take place when folks decide to respond outside the discussion forum. Yes, we have been asked in the past (and asked one another) to take our religious discussions off-line. Seems to me, however, that Doug Wilson and his followers have assisted in keeping this discussion open and on-line. Something about goose, gander, and sauce comes to mind. . . . I don’t want to talk to any of Doug’s folks privately, and we have nothing to say to one another without witnesses. Please pass it on — I’m publicly stating here that if you don’t want unsolicited personal posts you send to me appearing in V2020, don’t send ’em. I promise to only respond publicly, having nothing to say to you that I don’t want others to hear.

Cordially,

Debi



Debi,

I’m really not sure who else to turn to. I know you’ve said you can’t keep a secret, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I’m desperate. Every morning I get up and drag myself to a breakfast of slippy eggs. My wife will not stop making me slippy eggs. She insists that I don’t really want eggs that are fully cooked and that slippy eggs wake me right up. I know my own mind darn it. I think. If I have to eat another slippy egg, I think I might, well, I think I might not eat them again, and then she’ll leave me. Do you know a good marital counsellor? Would you be willing to counsel us? I know that’s a lot to ask, and you never invited me to send you this letter, but I’m at the end of my tether. Could you at least tell me where the nearest needle exchange is?

NDW



----- Original Message -----
From: “Debi Smith”
To: “Nate Wilson”; “Vision2020”
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 3:49 PM
Subject: [Vision2020] Re: Nate Wilson’s offline reply to What’s the difference?

As you can see, the promise to publicly post Nate’s unsolicited personal messages has been ineffective. I’m somewhat surprised at the nastiness disguised as humor, but it re-enforces for me what these folks are about.

Debi R-S

Indeed.

Thank you.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Now the works of the flesh are OBVIOUS," Paul says in Galatians 5:19. Thank you for continuing to document, in this post and others, the years and years of "sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like" (vs. 19-21) coming out of Doug Wilson's "church."

The humiliating thing is that any non-Christian can see these OBVIOUS works of the flesh (as the Vision 20/20 forum reveals to those of us in other parts of the country) coming out of the cult in Moscow, while many so-called Reformed and Presbyterian Christians do not, or, better, CHOOSE not to. "No on is blinder than he who WILL NOT SEE."

The REQUIREMENT that elders "MUST BE well thought of by outsiders" (1Tim 3:7) is not only missing from the Kirk Bible, but must be missing from the Bible of anyone who actually thinks Doug Wilson et al are godly elders of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is OBVIOUS that he and they are not. "The works of the flesh are OBVIOUS."

Mark T. said...

Anon,

You make a good point — it’s OBVIOUS. And you spurred me to look up Paul’s word in Galatians: Man, you’re dead on:

“Phaneros, apparent (literally or figuratively); publicly, externally: abroad, appear, known, manifest, open [+-ly], outward ([+-ly]).”

There’s no hiding it. It’s OBVIOUS.

Well said.

Anonymous said...

It is also "obvious" that I misspelled "no one." Sorry about that.

Not sure you've anywhere documented "witchcraft" or "orgies" (nor have you claimed to, unless I'm forgetting something), but the rest of Paul's list has been documented somewhere or other on this site.

Mark T. said...

I believe I’ve referred to orgies of hate and I intend to document a Kult execution from beginning to end, to establish Wilson’s cunning, calculating, malevolent heart. Regarding witchcraft, we’re struggling with the best way to introduce this one without looking too far out there. But there’s no doubt that Wilson practices sorcery, and I got this one from a former Kult member who studied under Dr. Walter Martin.

It goes like this: One former member told me that Wilson once told him that he (Wilson) believes in the power of word symbols and word imagery, i.e. the power of suggestion, and one day during a casual conversation with Walter Martin’s former student, I mentioned this as an aside. He immediately seized it and said, “That’s sorcery.” Of course, I had never thought about it but his observation got my attention. We spoke about it at great length and I was able to produce a number of documents that showed Wilson using vivid imagery to describe persons against whom he had a vendetta. At that point it became clear that, for lack of a better word, he was casting spells. He was trying to shape these persons through his word images. In fact, I know of one account where he pressed suicide on a young woman through suggestion. Thankfully she fled from him (it’s a remarkable story).

I know that by writing this I sound nuts to some people, but Paul didn’t lump sorcery in there with the other works of the flesh by accident, and as you noted, we’ve nailed the other works down solid.

Anonymous said...

You don't sound nuts to me--Paul's catagories are meant to be trans-cultural. Sure sounds like witchcraft (generally speaking) to me.

Mark T. said...

I just remembered this: Wilson told that same person that he and his wife utter imprecatory prayers in bed every night before they fall asleep (man, talk about evil).

I always believed that the whole imprecatory thing was a form of conditioning — a way to condition Kult members to hate their enemies — but I never thought to connect it to Wilson’s sorcery. Suddenly Wilson’s imprecations take on another meaning.

He really is a psychopath.

Jonathan said...

Wow, Nate really comes across as rather slimey. When I first read his letter it sounded like a vieled threat. Something you'd expect a mobster to say. Now that's a son you can be proud of.

wesley said...

If you "Google" Steve Schlissel and the word "Spellbinder" there is still an old reference to a charge that was made years ago listed on the Spanish version of the old Contra-Mundum site. The PDF will not come up with my version of Acrobat; it may have been made with a much older version, but I remember this charge being made years ago.

Several of us have listened to Wilkins' old tapes and his use of repetitive sounds. For years we had discussed how, when we asked people about statements he had just made during a sermon, they claimed to have not heard what was said. That's why I purchased so many tapes. When I asked what they thought about a particularly provocative statement right outside the church or afterwards at lunch, church members would say, "He did not say that!" I believe his use of sonorous repetition is a type of chanting and one of the effects is that people become partially anesthetized. They still appear to be awake, they just are not critically examining what he is putting in their head. Their logic is disengaged. There are several here in this area of the opinion that this technique was studied and perfected. It is too powerful to be a random occurrence

Mark T. said...

Hi Jonathan,

Don’t you think he came off “slippy” rather than “slimy”?

Mark T. said...

Wesley,

I wouldn’t put anything past Wilkins; I believe he’s as evil as Wilson; and it’s not possible for me to think less of him. However, I must offer one caveat: I think he’s too stupid to pull that one off. At best, I would suppose that he half-droned himself to sleep during his sermons because they lacked so much content. Then again, I’m just shootin’ from the hip and should rely on your judgment. Bottom line: I would not put anything past him.