Sunday, June 29, 2008

The End of the Trinity Fest Part 1: First Blast

The untimely and unheralded demise of the Christ Church Trinity Fest marks such a critical point in the slow, continuous, and inevitable fall of the Kirk that we must take time aside from our two ongoing series (“Make Them Say They’re Sorry” & “The Kult Police State”) to consider it in further detail. I call it critical because in the Fearless Leader’s mind the Trinity Fest represented much more than an ordinary summer carnival. Sure, he originally billed it as an act of humble faith, but as we shall see, he believed the Trinity Fest was proof of the Kult’s faithful worship of God and it was proof that God was working in the Kult in wonderful ways. He advertised the Trinity Fest as a platform to “celebrate” in the midst of his “culture wars.” He promoted it as “a table in the presence of [his/their] enemies.” And as the ad in C/A put it, the Trinity Fest gave him a chance to make people “like him even less” (at least he achieved one goal).

It follows, therefore, that when the Trinity Fest went belly up, maybe his humble faith was not so great and maybe God was not working in the Kult in wonderful ways — at least to the extent that he pointed to the TF as proof of these things. It follows that perhaps God did not take pleasure in their celebrations or their culture wars, and that He had not prepared a table for the Kult in the midst of their enemies. I understand the Fearless Leader won’t see things this way — he’s hardened his heart and fixed his course — there’s no turning back for him. To be sure, I am certain that, like Madonna, he will find another look — he’ll repackage himself in order to remarket himself to the evangelical and Reformed church. Like a virgin. But for now, the Trinity Fest is dead and I want to spend some time reflecting on its short-lived life.

You may or may not know this, but the Trinity Fest is the direct descendant of the Christ Church History Conference, which they held every February in Moscow. Things went sideways, however, during the Southern Slavery scandal of 2003–04, which presumably became the cause of action for the Fearless Leader to reinvent his event. Nevertheless, if my math is correct, Christ Church, Moscow, held its first annual History Conference in 1996, which is not especially noteworthy except for one fact: that year Wilson and Wilkins (I have no idea if George Grant participated) addressed the subject of slavery in the antebellum South and published a monograph to commemorate their historical findings. They titled it Southern Slavery As It Was. I know this because five years ago, during the Southern Slavery scandal, my UPS driver told me he attended the history conference that triggered the controversy. Here’s a direct quote from that conversation: “I couldn’t believe the stuff they were saying and thought to myself, ‘This one’s going to come back to bite them.’” Then he put his head down and chuckled, “I guess it bit them.”

So for C/A’s inaugural “History Conference,” Wilson and Wilkins sterilized one of the most horrific points of American history — the unbiblical subjugation of an entire race of mankind — to portray the most anti-Christian culture of American history — the antebellum South — as the most noble society the world has ever seen. In other words, Wilson & Wilkins established their revisionist agenda during their first conference and I can’t think of a more delusional way for anyone to begin teaching history. Interestingly enough, however, Beelzeblog indirectly accounted for his knack at revising history in his blog post that announced the first annual Trinity Fest:

History is story telling. Faithful history is faithful story telling. And it is amazing how many little errors and emphases can go wrong in just the course of one generation. . . . This being the case, then where do we get off having a history conference every year? If I am not exactly sure what I was doing in 1959, then why would I undertake to talk about events in the 18th century? But for a decade now, we have had an annual history conference in February. None of the speakers at this conference are trained historians. And this coming year, the history conference will be moved to August, rolled into a bigger event called the Trinity Festival, and we will do it all again. What are we doing? We are telling stories, and the reason we are doing so is that we believe that God requires it of us.

History depends on the dedicated historians and archivists who sort, assemble, and work through the mountains of material available to them. And when they have done their work, they present to the layman . . . mountains of material. Not only does it appear that we need specialists to deal with the raw material, we also need specialists to sort out the finished products. . . . Historical laymen should read broadly enough to make sure they are not reading some truncated account or other, but neither should they be embarrassed by the necessity of popularizing the material. . . . Everyone who undertakes this kind of task is in way over his head, and this includes the trained historians. And we cannot protect ourselves by means of our own prowess.

This means that we walk by faith, faith in the God who orders all history to His own perfect ends. . . We are not omnicient [sic], and so we must trust the God who is.

One other element has to be mentioned. Just as we trust Him, we also read the story with our loyalties intact. In other words, we cannot love God without loving those whom we believe to be His sons and daughters, and our brothers and sisters. I read the story of Latimer and Ridley while identifying with them. I am pulling for John Knox, and not for Mary, Queen of Scots. We are a people, and so we must tell the stories of our people to our children. We are not given the option of being silent. And to step out in faith like this is not hubris, but rather humility. (“History for Everyman”; October 9, 2004)

Before we consider Wilson’s methodology, please note his candid admission that he’s not a trained historian, which would be a remarkable statement if not for the clever sleight of hand that accompanied it. Observe: First, he paid tribute to “the dedicated historians and archivists who sort, assemble, and work through the mountains of material available to them.” But then he pretends as though historians don’t deal with conclusive evidence but only pile “material” that the present to laymen: “And when they have done their work, they present to the layman . . . mountains of material.” This in turn allowed Wilson to create a special category for himself — the layman — to sort through the material, which is where he identified himself as a “specialist”: “Not only does it appear that we need specialists to deal with the raw material, we also need specialists to sort out the finished products.” Notice that his specialty requires him to “sort out the finished products” of trained historians, and notice also that he places the difficulties of his specialty on the same par as that of a trained historian: “Everyone who undertakes this kind of task is in way over his head, and this includes the trained historians. And we cannot protect ourselves by means of our own prowess.” And with a wave of the hand Douglas Wilson dismisses the science of history to justify his brainless revisionism. Voila!

This brings us to his self-taught method for studying history. According to this post it’s a three-point process:
  1. “History is story telling. Faithful history is faithful story telling.”

  2. “Historical laymen should read broadly enough to make sure they are not reading some truncated account or other, but neither should they be embarrassed by the necessity of popularizing the material.”

  3. “. . . we also read the story with our loyalties intact. . . we cannot love God without loving those whom we believe to be His sons and daughters, and our brothers and sisters. I read the story . . . while identifying with them. I am pulling for . . . and not for . . .”
The Fearless Leader’s three-step process explains a lot. In fact, as this series develops we shall see that his methodology is really a subset of his psychosis — his mental detachment from reality — but for now we want to concentrate on the so-called specialist’s discipline as it applies to history.

First, he says, “History is story telling. Faithful history is faithful story telling.” This is true. The noun “story” derives from the Latin historia so in its most elementary sense history is story telling. It’s the modifier “faithful” that should concern us, as we shall see.

Second, he says, “Historical laymen should read broadly enough to make sure they are not reading some truncated account or other, but neither should they be embarrassed by the necessity of popularizing the material.” This is true as well. There’s certainly a place for popularized accounts of history. Not everyone has the time or the budget to read The Story of Civilization.

But now we come to the third and most troubling step in his methodology where he writes, “We also read the story with our loyalties intact,” and he defines “loyalties” as “loving those whom we believe to be His [God’s] sons and daughters, and our brothers and sisters.” Moreover, he defines “loving” as “identifying with” and “pulling for” them. He says, “I am pulling for John Knox, and not for Mary, Queen of Scots.” But he never specifies exactly how his “pulling” affects his “story telling,” i.e. his version of history. Moreover, he never explains when he starts “pulling”; is it before or after he’s done his research? Or does his “pulling” influence his research? Even worse, does he believe that by “pulling” for one person against another he may alter the past? And I’m curious what litmus test he uses to determine a historical person’s status before God. For example, Mary I of Scotland was baptized, which means that, according to the objectivity of the covenant, she was/is a child of God. So why would he pull for Knox over Mary? I suppose that technically he answers this question when he refers to “loving those whom we believe to be His sons and daughters,” etc. The “we” means him — Beelzeblog — which means it’s not so much the objectivity of the covenant as the arbitrariness of the Fearless Leader, because there’s nothing objective about this. Regardless, I believe these are important considerations for anyone who might rely on Wilson’s story telling.

You can see a good example of the Fearless Leader keeping his “loyalties intact,” or “pulling,” for someone in his biography of the aforementioned reformer, For Kirk and Covenant: the Stalwart Courage of John Knox. When discussing Knox’s best-known written work, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, Wilson never noted that Knox wrote the book anonymously, which historic fact obviousl rubs Beelzeblog the wrong way. After all, the last thing he’d want to affirm about Knox is that he was ashamed of his baptized name, or that he was an anonymous coward making anonymous accusations, or that he was so ashamed of his accusations that he wouldn’t even sign his name to them, or that he was a dead rat behind the fridge, or that he may have left a soiled prophylactic in Wilson’s mailbox, etc. But you can’t tell the story of Knox without mentioning this historic fact. Anonymity played a role in the Reformation whether the Fearless Leader likes it or not (I wonder what that monstrous woman Edna Wilmington would say). To be sure, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women was a prototype of the fully documented anonymous attack blog, though I’m not sure if Knox fully documented his blast. I am sure, however, that if Knox had had access to the Internet he would have uploaded a website to excoriate that monstrous regiment of women — Bloody Mary and her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. And the bottom line is that the Fearless Leader “pulled” for Knox and expunged this well-known fact from Knox’s story. In other words, he recreated Knox after his own image.[1]

We see another example of the Fearless Leader “pulling” for Knox in the same biography when he described the reformer’s 19-month captivity in the French galleys. In order to sympathize with Knox, Wilson leaped a full century out of Knox’s lifetime to find a vivid description of the galley slave’s horrors:

Warren Lewis, brother of C.S. Lewis, makes the point bluntly. “Until the coming of the concentration camp, the galley held an undisputed preeminence as the darkest blot on Western civilization; a galley, said the poetic observer shudderingly, would cast a shadow in the blackest midnight.” (FN: W.H. Lewis, Essays Presented to Charles Williams [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1947], 136.)

Lewis was writing of life in the galleys a century after Knox rowed in them, but from all accounts, the time Knox spent there was a time of horror just as it was for his Huguenot brothers 100 years later.

Life on board when the galley was at sea was a sort of Hell’s picnic, for there was really no accommodation for anyone. For the convicts, there was, of course, no question of sleep . . . Cooking facilities were primitive, and, as no one ever washed, the ship crawled with vermin from stem to stern. From below came the constant clank of chains, the crack of whips on bare flesh, screams of pain, and savage growls. At each oar all five men must rise as one at each stroke, push the eighteen-feet oar forward, dip it in the water, and pull with all their force, dropping into a sitting position at the end of each stroke. “One would not think,” says a Huguenot convict, “that it was possible to keep it up for half an hour, and yet I have rowed full out for twenty-four hours without pausing for a single moment.” (FN: Ibid., 141–2. Quote uses “feet” instead of the American “foot” for length description.)

Constant rowing did not bring about the despair of the galley slaves. Had it been, they would all have died in short order. Nevertheless, the whole time, including the respite provided by winter, had to have been the most severe trial. Knox speaks of it as a time of “torment.” Years after, he spoke of the “sobs of his heart” and how he was “sore troubled by corporal infirmity.” (FN: Henry Cowan, John Knox, 83–4.) For those who have not experienced such things, all such words should be taken as understatement.

Knox was for two years a galerien in the French galleys, a very common and expendable form of cheap fuel. (Douglas Wilson, For Kirk and Covenant: the Stalwart Courage of John Knox [Nashville, TN: Highland Books, 2000] 33, 34)

I have no doubt that Knox suffered immensely in the French galley. My point is the great distance Wilson traveled in order to lionize Knox’s imprisonment, his “most severe trial.” Wilson never had the decency to tell his readers when he was “pulling” for Knox, though he alluded to his yank job toward the end of the book:

But in discussing history, a moment comes when one has to make a decision, a judgment call. In studying the War Between the States, was the South right? Or wrong? In studying the American War for Independence, did Romans 13 require the colonists to submit to the usurpations of Parliament? Or not? In writing this book, I must either appreciate Knox or attack him. He lived his life in such a way as to leave a biographer no other option. (Douglas Wilson, For Kirk and Covenant: the Stalwart Courage of John Knox [Nashville, TN: Highland Books, 2000] 220)

“In writing this book, I must either appreciate Knox or attack him. He lived his life in such a way as to leave a biographer no other option.” What kind of twaddle is this? Where’s the crime with presenting the facts, warts and all, and offering a historical assessment? Why must he reduce the life of Knox to a false dilemma? History may be “story telling” but that does not mean that “story telling” is history and in Wilson’s case we never know when he grounds his stories in history and when he grounds them in his imagination. But they sure are entertaining.

And don’t forget that we’ve seen the whole “loyalty” thing before. That’s the word he uses to describe the virtue of ignoring the reprehensible behavior of his friends so that they may maintain a unified front in their war against the Christian church. It goes something like, “Faithful are the loyalties of friend” because “loyal” friends don’t “wound” one another.

But if you look carefully there’s something else going on with the word “loyalty.” In the second sentence of the post, Wilson wrote: “Faithful history is faithful story telling,” and by “faithful” he really means “loyal.” He’s blurring the distinction between “faithful story telling” and “loyalties-intact story telling,” or if he’s not blurring he’s definitely melding the distinction. Obviously, he doesn’t make this direct connection (why would he admit the obvious if it would thoroughly undo his already-tattered credibility?) but it certainly closes the loop and it’s consistent with his moral values. How else do you resolve the obvious conflict of interest that emerges between “faithful” as in “truthful” and “loyal” as in “love for God obligates me to pull for them”? This accounts for his bizarre revisionism — in the end he’s demonstrating loyalty to his pets and to his sympathies and, like everything else, Wilson’s approach to history is a self-serving exercise unrelated to truth or accuracy.

If you don’t think that there’s something wrong with Wilson’s “loyalties intact” bias, then compare it with the loyalties of a real historian. Dr. Scott Clark recently made this observation vis-à-vis the discipline of history:

As a historian I realize a little more each day how hard it is to know the truth, even when that is the goal. My vocation as a historian is to “tell the truth about the past as best I can.” That’s a lot harder than it sounds. Sometimes the truth about a given question doesn’t seem to want to be found. If that’s the case when documents are to hand, how much harder is it to tell the truth in the midst of conflict when emotions are running high and when there is hurt and frustration on all sides? (“A Word to Students in the Midst of Controversy”)

As a historian, Dr. Clark is committed “to tell the truth about the past,” contra Wilson who is committed to “loving those whom we [he] believe to be His [God’s] sons and daughters, and our brothers and sisters,” which is code language for shading the truth to make them appear better. Love for the truth moves Dr. Clark’s history; loyalty to a perverted, unbiblical love moves Wilson’s. This brings us back to the first annual History Conference.

How in the world could Wilson and his fellow incompetent gush so much about the antebellum South? Beelzeblog answered this for us. In their minds they were keeping their “loyalties intact.” They were loving those whom they believed to be God’s sons and daughters. They were pulling for those saintly slave masters who bought and sold human beings like they were trading cattle, and they were pulling against the ungodly North who persecuted those God-fearing slave-traders. Therefore they wrote,

Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence. There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world. The credit for this must go to the predominance of Christianity. The gospel enabled men who were distinct in nearly every way, to live and work together, to be friends and often intimates. This happened to such an extent that moderns indoctrinated on “civil rights” propaganda would be thunderstruck to know the half of it. (Wilson & Wilkins, Southern Slavery As It Was [Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1996] 22)

Behold the fruit of unfaithful story telling, the fruit of misguided loyalty. And I’m sure that from 1996 to 2002, they had a pretty good show during their History Conferences. But God is not mocked and in 2003–2004 Christ Church, Moscow, began reaping what it sowed. In the words of one former Kult member, “That was the beginning of the end” (he would know). And it didn’t matter if they moved the event to summer and changed its name to honor the godhead. The Fearless Leader used his stage to deceive those in his care, and he did it in the name of the gospel. Pastor Doug Wilson erred, however, not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God. The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ proclaims “liberty to the captives” and “sets at liberty those who are oppressed.” It doesn’t misinform the masses under the guise of “faithful story telling.” It doesn’t justify cruelty to make light of human suffering, whether the suffering of galley slaves or Southern slaves. And if you don’t believe me, just ask John Knox.

Thank you.

[1] I thumbed through the book yesterday morning and saw that there’s lots of that going on; Wilson constantly imputed to Knox his own self-perceived personality traits without as much as a shred of evidence. The second half of the book is essentially an autobiography of Wilson’s perception of himself with a few anecdotes about Knox to support it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dave Glasebrook

Dear Mr. Glasebrook,

At least once, perhaps twice, I offered you front-page attention if you can correct or disprove any of my posts. You, however, ignored my invitations and chose to harass other men for reasons I cannot explain. Therefore, I sincerely ask you to leave them alone. Please keep the toxic waste in Moscow.

If you want to engage me I will be more than happy to answer your concerns as long as you respect the conditions I delineated to you, which appears to be a stumbling block. And in light of your 2090-word treatise (of which I read about 200 words), I now add another condition to the terms. You are only allowed to address one point at a time. This will keep the distinctions cleaner.

If you can produce evidence that demonstrates a factual error on my part, I will be glad to correct the error and apologize for it, which is much more than your leadership has ever done. If, however, you cannot produce evidence that contradicts me, then I echo the words of the Managing Editor for the Spokesman Review, “We are not going to engage any further in this conversation.”

Thank you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Some Schools Have Real Standards

Columbia U. Fires Teachers College Professor Accused of Rampant Plagiarism
Columbia University’s Teachers College announced today that it planned to fire Madonna G. Constantine, a tenured professor, for plagiarism. The announcement, which came in a memorandum delivered to faculty members, said Ms. Constantine would be suspended immediately and would be dismissed, subject to a review by a faculty committee.

A law firm hired by the university to conduct an investigation reported in February that Ms. Constantine, a professor of psychology and education, had committed more than two dozen instances of plagiarism. Ms. Constantine has vehemently denied the accusations and has, in turn, accused others of plagiarizing her work. She has also accused colleagues of envy and racism.

Last October, Ms. Constantine said a noose was placed outside her office door. The New York City Police Department’s hate-crime unit investigated the incident, but months later still had no suspects. — Thomas Bartlett

We’re still trying to confirm rumors that New Saint Andrews College has recruited Ms. Constantine to fill an empty faculty position. Her moral flexibility combined with her deft ability to reverse the charge while simultaneously playing the victim makes her a virtual lock at the burgeoning school, despite lingering questions about her skill at revising history.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fascinating Development

This is a fascinating development in the treatment of cancer:

Cancer patient recovers after injection of immune cells
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

A cancer patient has made a full recovery after being injected with billions of his own immune cells in the first case of its kind, doctors have disclosed.

The 52-year-old, who was suffering from advanced skin cancer, was free from tumours within eight weeks of undergoing the procedure.

After two years he is still free from the disease which had spread to his lymph nodes and one of his lungs.

Doctors took cells from the man’s own defence system that were found to attack the cancer cells best, cloned them and injected back into his body, in a process known as “immunotherapy”.

Experts said that the case could mark a landmark in the treatment of cancer.

It raises hopes of a possible new way of fighting the disease, which claims 150,000 lives in Britain every year.

Ed Yong, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s very exciting to see a cancer patient being successfully treated using immune cells cloned from his own body. While it’s always good news when anyone with cancer gets the all clear, this treatment will need to be tested in large clinical trials to work out how widely it could be used.”

However, the treatment could prove extremely expensive and scientists say that more research is needed to prove its effectiveness.

Genetically altered white blood cells have been used before to treat cancer patients but this is the first study to show that simply growing vast numbers of the few immune cells in the body to attack a cancer can be safe and effective.

Normally there are too few of the cells in a patient’s body to effectively fight cancer.

Dr Cassian Yee, who led the team at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, said: “For this patient we were successful, but we would need to confirm the effectiveness of therapy in a larger study.”

The work raises hopes that this approach could not only offer a more effective treatment for skin cancer, or melanoma, which kills around 2,000 people in Britain alone, but be applied to other cancers too.

The patient was one of nine with metastatic melanoma, that is skin cancer that has spread, who were being treated in a recently completed clinical trial to test bigger and bigger doses of their own white blood cells.

Larger, more elaborate, trials are now under way.

Almost 9,000 new cases of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are diagnosed every year in Britain, and nearly 2,000 patients die from the disease.

Prof Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: “This is another interesting demonstration of the huge power of the immune system to fight some types of cancer.

“Although the technique is complex and difficult to use for all but a few patients, the principle that someone’s own immune cells can be expanded and made to work in this way is very encouraging for the work that Cancer Research UK and others are carrying out.”

Immunotherapy, in which a patients own immune cells are used to treat cancer, is a growing area of research that aims to develop less-toxic treatments than standard chemotherapy and radiation.

Because cancer occurs when the body’s own cells grow out of control, the immune system only responds weakly.

The ability of the body’s own defences to tackle cancer in this case is all the more remarkable because most deadly feature of the disease is its ability to colonise other parts of the body, when it becomes much more difficult to treat.

A dramatic example of immunotherapy was reported two years ago by one pioneer of the field, Dr Steven Rosenberg of the US National Cancer Institute, who eradicated cancer from two dying men using genetically modified versions of their own cells.

Both Mark Origer and “Thomas M” were suffering from advanced melanoma but the hope is that such methods could be customised to attack other common cancers, notably breast, colon and lung.

Dr Rosenberg told The Daily Telegraph the new work is an “interesting study that helps to confirm the effectiveness of cell transfer immunotherapy for treating cancer patients. We have now treated 93 patients with metastatic melanoma using their own anti-tumour cells with response rates up to 72 per cent. Mark Origer remains disease free now over three years after treatment.”

Thank you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Justice Delayed

U.S. panel upholds deportation of Nazi guard
By Randall Mikkelsen

WASHINGTON, June 16 (Reuters) — A U.S. appeals panel has upheld an order to deport an 83-year-old Wisconsin man accused of serving as a Nazi SS guard whose duty was to finish off dying Jews in a two-day mass execution in Poland that killed more than 40,000, the U.S. Justice Department said on Monday.

The department said the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the January, 2007 order to deport Josias Kumpf, 83, to Germany, Austria or his native Serbia.

“Josias Kumpf participated in a 1943 Nazi operation that resulted in the murder of thousands of innocent victims. His culpability in this atrocity does not diminish with the passage of time,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich.

The department said Kumpf had admitted to participating in what the Nazis called “Operation Harvest Festival” in November 1943. About 42,000 Jews were killed over two days in the mass execution at three prison camps in German-occupied Poland.

Kumpf, who had joined the Nazi SS Death’s Head guard in 1942, was serving at the Trawniki slave-labor camp at the time of the massacres, the department said.

“Kumpf stood guard as approximately 8,000 Jewish prisoners, including approximately 400 children, were shot and killed in pits at Trawniki,” the department said. “According to Kumpf, his assignment was to watch for victims who were still ‘halfway alive’ or ‘convulsing.’ If any of the prisoners attempted to escape, he stated, his job was to ‘shoot them to kill.’”

The massacre was “one of the most infamous crimes of the Holocaust,” said Eli Rosenbaum, head of the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations.

The Justice Department said Kumpf had immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1956 and became a U.S. citizen in 1964. The special investigations office and the U.S. attorney for eastern Wisconsin sued in 2003 to strip Kumpf of his citizenship and won the case in 2005.

The office was founded in 1979 and has won cases against 107 participants in Nazi war crimes, the department said.

The United States has stripped the citizenship of 16 former Trawniki guards, the U.S. Holocaust Museum says on its Web site. (Editing by David Wiessler)

Thank you.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Labor of Love

Summer’s here and in my off time I’ve been helping my neighbor build a retaining wall in his backyard, which has cut into my designated time for fully documented anonymous attack blogging. The wall is slow going because we’re using fairly large stones (roughly 75 to 150 pounds each) and it takes about three hours before my dogs start barking, but it looks good. All of this is to say that I missed documenting the anniversary of this important date (June 9, 2005) when an unidentified person sent A Labor of Love to the Internet.

A Labor of Love was written by a Christian who wrote with the assumption that Douglas Wilson is regenerate, which assumption I do not grant. Moreover, I am not aware of anyone who has attempted to produce evidence to support the claim. Nevertheless, it’s a good read for several reasons, let me name just one: A Labor of Love represents the testimony of one more witness in a long line of witnesses who testified to the extreme polarizing affect of Douglas Wilson on the local community. As usual Beelzeblog blamed Emmanuel Goldstein for writing A Labor of Love (he did not), which was his way of saying that since Emmanuel Goldstein is a non-human who deserves to die (according to the Fearless Leader’s unwritten but well-established decree), everyone must ignore everything he says. But I digress.

As you read this, please keep one fact in mind: This letter was published about three months after Douglas Wilson learned that a serial pedophile had raped several lambs from his flock for the last 18 months. In other words, this letter was published 3 months after Wilson learned that God’s judgment had fallen on the depraved culture of Christ Church, Moscow, at least according to Douglas Wilson’s standard, and members of the Kult still did not know about Sitler’s abominations. Furthermore, this letter was published while Wilson was in the middle of his zoning controversy. City Council had just ruled that the Zoning Code prohibited New Saint Andrews College from using downtown Moscow, which put Wilson’s takeover plans at serious risk (Council eventually amended the code to allow NSA by Conditional Use Permit). Lastly, as you read this please note that Wilson was in the middle of an extremely strong PR push to market his first annual but now-defunct Trinity Fest as the zenith of Christian culture, which marketing did not mention his serial pedophile or his convicted child molester, Jamin Wight, whose predations took place at the same time as Steven Sitler’s. Perhaps he should have named it the Trinity Fester.

Take a few minutes to read A Labor of Love.

Thank you.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


I received this comment yesterday:

David Gadbois said. . .


I just received an e-mail from Christ Church indicating that Trinity Fest has been cancelled, since the low registrations indicated that it would not be “financially viable.”

The e-mail speculates that this is because of the economic downturn. While this is no doubt a factor, they seem blind to the fact that they have marginalized themselves because of their promotion of Federal Vision theology.

I had attended Trinity Fest a few years back. It was a genuinely fun thing to do. I can’t say anything bad about it.

But I, and I suspect many others, would not attend it now because they show no sign of backing off of the FV kookiness. I’m sure it wasn’t part of the plan, but Wilson has gone from having broad appeal in the Reformed world (articles in Tabletalk) and even the broader evangelical world (the Family Series books). But by now he has whittled down his audience to theonomic, post-mill Federal Visionists. A very small market indeed.

I don’t know which TF DG attended, but I know that locally, the TF was no less controversial than its predecessor, the History Conference, and the vast majority of locals did not receive it as well as DG. It was an unmitigated disaster for the downtown businesses and it’s clear that the Kult leaders went out of their way to personally offend the downtown businesses that they hurt financially, so as to rub the loss in their faces. I can’t say how pleased I am to hear this and if you’re out there Dave G., I would love to see and post the whole email (including the “To” and “From,” I can remove your name).

And as long as we’re on the Kult’s financial woes, I welcome an insider’s explanation for why so many Kult members have suddenly began taking seconds on their mortgages. We’ve calculated a couple of million dollars in loans spread out among roughly 15 different families in a one-year window (the average note is $250,000). It could be a coincidence, but my instincts tell me that Beelzeblog has discovered another way to fleece the flock. We protect our sources and the way we see it, if you share inside information with us, you’re well on your way to escaping and we will help you as much as possible. Think of our services as an underground railroad.

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Make Them Say They’re Sorry — Part 1

Yes, Doug
Last week we examined an email written by Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, to the president of the University of Idaho, which essentially threatened the UI with a defamation suit if they did not remove two UI historians’ book review of his book Southern Slavery As It Was from their website and replace it with an apology. We have no way of knowing whether or not the Fearless Leader ran his email past the Christ Church elders for approval before he sent it or whether they heard about, just as the rest of us, when it hit Vision 20/20 (more legible version here). I suppose that’s a moot question, however, because all evidence indicates that if he had sought the Kult elders’ permission to send the email, they would have bobbed their heads up and down like Bobble Head dolls, saying, “Yes, Doug, whatever you say,” which talent was the only prerequisite for their appointment to office. The same applies to his attorney, who should have dissolved their professional relationship the moment he read the email, though we can rest certain that Wilson didn’t give him permission.

The reason for the Fearless Leader’s distress with the UI is somewhat troublesome and raises serious questions about his competence, or honesty. The Southern Slavery scandal erupted because he originally owned the thesis of his booklet SSAIW as a subject that gave him no shame. Indeed, he invited the Daily News into his home to discuss the slaves’ life of plenty. He even smiled for the camera knowing he just made the front page. It simply never occurred to him that his breezy take on the subject would horrify normal human beings who don’t live in his alternate universe of reality. Consequently, when horror swept the Palouse, the Fearless Leader adopted the high road and transformed himself into peace-loving abolitionist who wrote SSAIW to repudiate warfare (i.e. the Civil War) as a means of abolition. Indeed, his transformation was so radical and so complete that he began taking offense at anyone who suggested that SSAIW was a biblical defense of slavery in the antebellum South, contra his original position of shamelessness. And just like that, in the twinkling of an eye — or more likely the wink of the eye — Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, reversed roles and cast himself as the victim of a well-organized slander campaign.

And in this respect, Wilson’s response to the Southern Slavery scandal of 2003–2004 is identical to his response to the Federal Vision controversy. In 2003, after he transformed himself, he claimed that everyone misquoted him, took his words out of context, and slandered him. Never mind that these persons were award-winning authorities on the subject of Southern slavery from the University of Maryland, Duke University, the University of California Berkeley, and Stanford University. Jump ahead three years: After seven Reformed denominations, multiple micro-presbyteries, several Reformed seminaries, and every heavyweight theologian in the Reformed church repudiated the Federal Vision as non-confessional, Wilson and his well-trained clones claimed that all of these institutions and persons misrepresented them. It’s the same MO, different controversy — play stupid and act as though no one understands you.

But don’t take my word for it; read this fully documented front-page story from the Moscow–Pullman Daily News for some of the most scintillating blurbs you’ll never see on the back of any Canon Press title. Or if you prefer, you can take a short cut by reading Dr. Cal Beisner’s assessment of SSAIW, which he posted to the WORLD Mag Blog in 2005 during the plagiarism scandal:

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. (Comment #139, April 25, 2005)

“Historical trash” — I don’t think you need a Ph.D. to understand that sound bite, though Dr. Beisner earned his Ph.D. from the real Saint Andrews University, not the new one. And since he invoked Dr. McKenzie, here’s his letter to WORLD Magazine:

Far more serious
In fairness to Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins (“Doug Wilson and slavery,” April 30), the two dozen occurrences of plagiarism in their controversial booklet on Southern slavery were obviously unintentional — evidence of sloppiness rather than deceit. Far more serious are the booklet’s other errors. Its numerous logical errors, factual mistakes, misreading of evidence, and ad hominem attacks falsely model what it means to love God with our minds and its unsubstantiated defense of Southern slavery as a “pleasant . . . experience for the majority” will constitute a stumbling block of monumental proportions for many sincere seekers.
Robert Tracy McKenzie; Seattle, Wash.

Obviously Dr. McKenzie erred on the side of charity regarding the question of plagiarism. I am certain that if he had the benefit of our fully documented anonymous attack sister blog, Fœdero Plagiary, he would have been less understanding. But this is beside the point. The point is that, to a man, every single historian who reviewed SSAIW dismissed it as the invention of a couple of hacks who had no interest in illuminating history and, despite this overwhelming testimony from this wide array of academics, Doug Wilson maintained that all of these scholars misunderstood and misrepresented him. In fact, at one point he called them “liars”:

Rather, when 1,200 signed a petition against what was represented to them by liars as my views on slavery, homosexuality and women . . . (“More Red Statey Extremism”; October 21, 2005, emphasis original)

This remarkable claim gives us a glimpse into Wilson’s brain. In one sweeping statement he confidently asserted that unnamed “liars” deceived 1,200 persons into signing the “Not In Our Town” petition. In other words, he maintained that none of the signatories actually read SSAIW to know firsthand his position on “slavery, homosexuality and women.” Rather, invisible “liars” deceived them into signing the petition. Please notice, however, that in addition to not identifying the so-called “liars,” he neglected to identify any lies. As always, he merely asserted it.

This brings us back to the Fearless Leader’s email to the president of the University of Idaho. You really need to put yourself in President Michael’s shoes to comprehend fully Wilson’s demand. Two history professors from the UI wrote a book review of SSAIW that echoed the sentiments of every scholastic authority on antebellum slavery who read SSAIW and the UI’s Office of Diversity and Human Rights posted the book review to its UI website as a public service. In the words of Chick Hern, “No harm, no foul.” But suddenly, out of nowhere, you receive a blistering email from one of the book’s authors threatening you with a defamation suit as well as demanding that you remove the book review from your website and replace it with an apology. In fact, his email states that this was his second request for an apology. Mind you, the substance of the book review bore witness with the unanimous testimony of every other historian who reviewed SSAIW. What would you do?

If you think about it, this is an excellent example of Wilson imposing his worldview on others: “Agree with me, or else. And say you’re sorry too.” I’m not sure what he wanted the apology to say, but I surmise he expected something such as this:

We have removed Drs. Quinlan’s and Ramsey’s book review of SSAIW from our website because we have discovered that Douglas Wilson’s and Steven “Machen” Wilkins’ research of antebellum slave life has uncovered previously unknown facts about slavery and the hitherto unanimous voice of history on this subject has been terribly mistaken. The slaves led lives of plenty and their masters were benevolent men who wanted the very best for their human property. We are genuinely thankful for these men’s marvelous ground-breaking effort and look forward to introducing their text into our curriculum. Therefore, we sincerely apologize to Messieurs Douglas Wilson and Steven “Machen” Wilkins for whatever harm we may have caused by posting the erroneous book review on our site and we wish them the very best as they pursue their studies of American history.

And if you think this is an exaggeration, then think again because Wilson and Wilkins frontloaded their booklet with the claim that it is a sin to believe the truth about American history as opposed to their revision of it:

An accurate representation of the nature of Southern slavery has yet to be widely disseminated. And as a consequence, there has been a great deal of falsehood paraded about in the pretense of truth. The South has been stigmatized and slandered, and generations have been misled over the true nature of the “peculiar institution” and, as a consequence, they have not understood the true nature of the South in general. We must know the truth about slavery. . . Where there is sin, let us freely confess and forsake it. But because we have resolved to abandon sin, this must include the sin of believing a lie. (Douglas Wilson and Steven Wilkins, SSAIW [Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1996] 8, emphasis original)

This one paragraph painted the Fearless Leader and his cohort into a corner because according to them, you commit the “sin of believing a lie” if you disagree with their fairytale version of Southern history. Of course, this is typical manipulation from the Fearless Leader — seize the moral high ground and hold others to account to your position, but in this case he had no high ground and everyone could see that he was the only person lying. Consequently, I don’t doubt that when the UI legal office saw Wilson’s email they instructed the UI president to ignore him, because that’s exactly what he did. Generally speaking, adults disregard children when they throw tantrums, which brings us to the Fearless Leader’s letter to Governor Kempthorne. Here is a transcribed version of the letter; our next post shall examine its contents:

Governor Dirk Kempthorne
Office of the Governor
700 West Jefferson, 2nd Floor
PO Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0034

December 30, 2003

Dear Governor Kempthorne,

Greetings from the north, and I hope that this letter finds you well. I wish my tone could be as light as the one of a few years ago in which I returned your necktie from the Logos auction, but the seriousness of recent events has precluded that.

I am writing you with an important request. A controversy has been boiling here in Moscow for the last several months, a good deal of it resting on the back of inaccurate and defamatory material that is being circulated against us and our ministries here in Moscow. Some of this is the result of the incompetence of the Daily News, but the driving force behind the controversy is coming from certain offices at the University of Idaho.

What it boils down to is that the diversity police are after us. We have sponsored an annual history conference here in Moscow for a number of years, a conference that has brought in hundreds of people from all over the country. The average attendance at this conference is about 800 people. The Daily News reported (erroneously) that the conference this year was going to be on slavery, which started the public outcry. But since that time, much of the defamatory gasoline that has been keeping the slanderous fire alive has come from the UI.

In particular, Raul Sanchez of the Office of Diversity and Human Rights has used his office’s web site to help circulate defamatory material against us. I have included with this letter a copy of a letter I sent to President Michael and Provost Pitcher a week or so ago on that issue. The incendiary essay referred to in my letter is by Drs. Quinlan and Ramsey, both of them on the faculty of the history department at the UI. This last weekend, Dr. Graden, another history professor, wrote an op-ed piece for the Daily News in which he accused us of creating a climate which would lead to the murder of gays and the burning of synagogues.(!)

The actual circumstances are the reverse of this. The businesses of some of our people have been vandalized, and the attacks on us are growing increasingly brazen. UI professors are using time in class to incite students against us, and consequently, since the response of the UI administration has been positively anemic (e.g. allowing Raul Sanchez to use his UI web site to circulate defamatory material), I am very concerned about what may happen this February at our conference. If there is violence or harassment of any kind (and there has already been quite a bit), it would not be difficult at all to show how the UI nurtured the climate in which this developed.

In the best of times, I would find it problematic for individuals at a publicly funded university to use their position to attack Christian ministries for their failure to be secularists. But in the current climate, for anyone up there at the University of Enron to set themselves up as moral arbiters is a bit thick.

As you no doubt know, liberals and progressives love diversity until they actually start getting some. In writing this letter, I am not asking that anyone’s legitimate freedom of opinion or expression be restricted in any way. But I am asking that the UI be removed as the base from which they launch their mortar rounds. I am also asking that the Office of Diversity apologize to us and to the public for this gross misuse of the resources of a public university.

This should go without saying, but I want to assure you that we have nothing whatever to do with racism, white supremacy, white separatism, or any other disease coming out of the fever swamps of the right wing. I do not want to weary you with any details here, but we would be happy to answer any questions you might have in this regard.

As I said at the beginning, I wish the occasion for this letter was something else. But there it is. I appreciate any attention you can give to this matter.


Douglas Wilson

cc: Gary Michael, Brian Pitcher, Blake Hall, Raul Sanchez

Thank you.


The Washington Post has an excellent article dissecting Barack Obama’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party’s primaries. And in case you’re tempted to fall for Obama’s rhetoric, check out Pamela Gellar’s blog, Atlas Shrugs. Her style reminds me of a certain anonymous attack blogger: she understands that a hostile religion has bad intentions for those who oppose it; she’s a very direct writer; and she’s funny. She gets hits too. In fact, her blog recently placed 174th of all blogs and 42nd in political blogs.

Thank you.