Doug Wilson Sticks His Nose in the Wood
Doug Wilson has decided to put in a word or two about Ministry Watchman’s story about Phillips and Jen Epstein; he calls this next installment of his “justice” primer “Braying Contests.”
As usual, Doug Wilson is shameless. I wonder what life would be like without Doug Wilson publicly lying. Hmmm. It would be more pleasant perhaps. In this very post exhorting folks about what to do about “web slander” Wilson slanders me with respect to the post I put up last night. And then Wilson continues to refuse to let the accused [me] defend himself in the same environment where the accusations were furthered; and Wilson would never dare providing a link to Pooh’s Think.
First, if a charge has any surface plausibility (or possible “traction”) at all, do not let it go unanswered. The Scriptures are full of vigorous replies to various saucy coppersmiths. But it is not necessary to spend the rest of your life doing this, answering every detail, because the kind of heart that does this sort of thing is good at spinning out details, frequently ex nihilo, and then you have hopped on the little squirrel cage run. But if you answer the central charges forcefully, cogently, and scripturally, then this gives any fair-minded individuals who hear about it all that they need. “Okay, this is clearly a Proverbs 18:17 situation.” This is what Doug Phillips’ church recently did — and a well done to them, incidentally — and the result is that strife has now broken out between the Sunni and Shia factions of the web insurgency. To change the metaphor, when cannibals run out of missionaries, they sometimes start looking at one another sideways through squinty eyes. And this is not, incidentally, a sign of disinterested objectivity. A cannibal should not expect to be praised for his impartiality in this.
Wilson is lying here and he certainly knows it. This is another example of waiting patiently for the clear facts to disappear over the horizon of time and then lung forward with an entire re-writing of history. Interestingly, Doug Wilson had to deal with Terry Morin years later only because he started arrogantly blogging away about his own revisionist history of what happened back in 1993. The facts located in the archives of Pooh’s Think, particularly if you look at the first few months, are thick and clear. Not only did Doug Wilson or the elders refuse to answer concerns, questions, and then charges that where certainly plausible, one of my primary allegations was the fact that Wilson refused to answer my concerns and challenges! This was one of the primary problems. Doug Wilson refused to act the way Doug Phillips’ church has.
Wilson instead initiated a gruesome campaign of attacking my person, my reputation, and my social life in Christ Church—and more. Mere questions about Terry Morin were answered with harassment and intimidation; even though I was a Credenda Agenda writer, a member of Christ Church, and a more mature Grayfriar student in good standing, all of my concerns and challenges—concerns and challenges shared in common with broader society—were rejected and my efforts where simply mocked. When I finally asked Doug Jones if I could meet with the elders about Doug Wilson’s slander against Brian McLaren he first did not reply at all. When I followed up he explained that he thought I was joking. So on and so forth; the many details of the story where recorded in the Wood as that story unfolded. Only once did Christ Church offer a written response to Terry Morin during all this, which was later followed by a public statement about the public pedophilia outrage; the latter statement was more for the purpose of attacking me than providing the public with a rigorous explanation of the facts. The few formal responses from the “elders” was nothing but subterfuge and a continued strong communication that they have nothing to hear from me and that they will not cogently and forcefully answer their opponents – which is now roughly equivalent to the broader society of America.
What Doug Phillips has done is precisely what Doug Wilson has refused to do. We could only hope that Doug Wilson would want to answer “central charges forcefully, cogently, and scripturally.” What we get instead is a police report against Jen Epstein after Doug Phillips alleges to have found a used condom in his mail box. I don’t recall that being a central issue, and that is not what I would consider a forceful and cogent reply to allegations. Same goes for Wilson’s many vague allusions to me on his blog, his public statements about my mental health, his staged lynching over misquoted material taken from a censured statement of mine, his insinuation that I’m up very early and up late, late, late, at night blogging about him, his underground assault on my character within Christ Church, his encouraging of another member of the congregation to harass me with 18 emails in two days and filing a law suit against me, his contentment with his recent NSA hire shunning my small children, his complete refusal to offer any pastoral guidance to the small band of highly irrational and aggressive loyalists who publicly conduct themselves in what is now a notorious unchristian manner. But whatever you do, don’t look me in the eye and forcefully and cogently answer my arguments, evidence, primary documents, and challenges.
Wilson’s concluding advice is remarkable:
Don’t refuse to answer when they have some sort of microphone of their own. And when you answer, give an answer that is sufficient for any honest reader, and don’t trouble yourself over the dishonest readers.
It has been an entire year, and it has been Wilson’s wild refusal to answer sufficiently for any honest reader that has even allowed me to have the kind of microphone I now do. As I explained to Frank Vance:
My primary concern is to remain judicial at each stage of the game, for the protection of everyone. . . . I have no intentions on having fun turning on anybody in all this. If Wilson would offer a shred of sanity, humility, and honesty, I would have attempted to defend him more than I have at times. . . . I was and still am fully convinced that the bulk of my last post was fully consistent with the principles of equity that have motivated Pooh’s Think and that it was my duty to offer such a post – it was precisely the same thing that drove my risky defense of you with Tim Dick. Nothing has changed. I did not defend you because it helped “persuade” people to think more highly of my own circumstance.
Wilson of course knows this is true and he knows that this truth does not, once again, help his public imagine from the point of view of the intelligent observer. My determination to critique the Watchman’s latest story is certainly motivated out of a concern for equity and maintaining a reputation of just argument and reporting, not because I have run out of corrupt men to challenge (if only!). If you recall, any questioning about Leithart’s disagreement over postmodernism was met with the libelous attack from Wilson (against Kevin Johnson for example) that this was just an attempt to turn Leithart and Wilson against one another. Consistent with Wilson’s walking his talk, we now get this eager prophecy:
the result is that strife has now broken out between the Sunni and Shia factions of the web insurgency. To change the metaphor, when cannibals run out of missionaries, they sometimes start looking at one another sideways through squinty eyes. And this is not, incidentally, a sign of disinterested objectivity. A cannibal should not expect to be praised for his impartiality in this.
And all this is thick with irony too. Wilson thinks Phillips did a great job at answering allegations. But you might recall that Ministry Watchman just covered a story about Doug Wilson right before covering Phillips’ story! And what was Wilson’s reply to that? We have a rigorous series dedicated to this same story continuing right now replete with substantiated allegations against Doug Wilson. And yet where are the forceful and cogent replies from Wilson? The testimony in this new story is credible and damning, and yet you can hear a needle drop over at Anselm house after each installment here in the Wood.
And it would be good to know what it is about my last post that Wilson disagrees with. I’m curious what about it Wilson finds so slanderous and cannibal like. Wilson apparently fully agrees with my conclusion, and yet he must ridicule my desire to post this very conclusion. But that’s just Wilson, and another reason why we continue to write.