Can’t Tell the Players Without a Scorecard

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I have referred before to the very odd coalition that has formed in opposition to the various ministries of Christ Church. My calling it a coalition is not just based on the fact that people happen to be opposing the same entity (making them cobelligerents). The coalition, in a number of places, is a functioning coalition, but one that has to be listed under S for strange bedfellows. The avowed purposes that different people have for belonging to this coalition vary (obviously), but they have no problem working in concert together, some very closely and others loosely. The motives vary also, and appear to range from petty fussiness to ideological madness.

Nick Gier is a retired philosophy professor from the University of Idaho. He was my undergraduate advisor when I first started my undergraduate studies in philosophy at the UI in 1975. We have clashed numerous times over the years, including one formal debate on abortion. He is very much a part of leftist academia.

Rose Huskey is one of the women who has filed complaints (harassment complaints) against Christ Church’s Anselm House and the New St. Andrews building in downtown Moscow. Saundra Lund is her cohort. In addition, these two women have just recently filed similar complaints against the ministries of Community Christian Ministries located at the Nuart theater and Logos School. All four entities share the fact that I serve on their boards. Other non-profits in town in an identical position (i.e. most of them) have been spared the treatment.

Terry Morin was an elder in Christ Church a number of years ago (then Community Evangelical Fellowship). Our unhappy parting of the ways occurred in the early nineties as a result of me becoming a paedobaptist. He currently serves as a deacon in a local evangelical church, and signed his name to a full page “Not In Our Town” ad that was directed at Christ Church. I am afraid he has remembered his departure from our church somewhat creatively. He claimed that his reason for signing the “Not in Our Town” petition is that Christ Church had (in a newspaper ad during the slavery fracas) identifed its position on slavery with the gospel, which he could not tolerate. But curiously, the ad in question had condemned slavery as an institution. And equally curious, in the original issue of Credenda (4/6) that dealt with our Southern apologetic, I contributed the main article that later showed up in the Southern Slavery booklet. Terry contributed a fine article to that same issue, in which he said, “To the credit of Southern Christianity, its aspirations, the ends to which it bent its religion, were for the most part biblical.” I still agree with that. And in that issue, I wrote, “some Christians balk at having a sympathetic view of the South because they know that racism is evil. This is a very important point to emphasize. Like abolitionism, all forms of race hatred, or racial vainglory, are forms of rebellion against God.” Still agree with that too. Anyhow, Terry is in the grip of an epistemological confusion related somehow to the baptism of babies, and it has driven him into some strange associations. To use (with full credit!) a line that he used in one of his very fine articles, speaking of a very similar phenomenon, “You can almost hear the dirt hit the coffin.”

Historians Ramsey, Quinlan, and Graden, all at the UI, were participants in the Southern Slavery booklet flap, and Ramsey just recently posted recent comments on World magazine’s blog. Meanwhile Dr. Quinlan has taught a course in which the students ingest the porno-violence of the Marquis de Sade, and Dr. Graden is a cheerleader for Stalin and Ho Chi Minh. You see slavery in this Georgia was bad. Slavery in that Georgia was good.

Charlie Nolan is the publisher of J.C. Ryle’s wonderful book, Holiness. In the midst of other closely guarded pursuits, he was one of those who made the zoning complaint against New St. Andrews College. The college won that decision, and Charlie and two others have appealed.

Joe Morecraft is a Reformed pastor in Atlanta. His denomination (the RPCUS) was the one that gave us the heresy-trial-on-the-cheap that resulted in the Auburn Avenue fracas. That was apparently insufficient because in the midst of our “slavery conference” flap, when I was being accused of being a neo-Confederate (and which I denied, on the grounds that I was actually a paleo-Confederate, and there is a difference), Joe wrote a letter to our local paper letting everyone know that many years before he had seen Confederate memorabilia in my office. The point was not the content of what he said — shoot, I have pictures of several Confederate generals in my office now. The point is that he joined in that particular fray on the side of our Intoleristas. Theonomy has come a long way, baby.

John Robbins is the Clarkian writer who greased the cyber-skids to help circulate the RPCUS charges. His concerns appear to be entirely doctrinal, but his weird bedfellow moment is that he is enthusiastically anti-theonomist, and the charges against us that he vigorously circulated originated in theonomic circles.

Then there is Anonymous, who is a busy little fellow. He has vandalized Christmas lights at New St. Andrews, secretly filed a complaint against Atlas School for alleged zoning violations, made a complaint to the Attorney-General’s office of Idaho (alleging perjury on my part in our tax-exempt application hearing), and spits regularly on the door of my daughter’s flower shop.

I didn’t get them all, but you get the picture. So then we find poor old me, on the bottom of the most eclectic dogpile you have ever seen. The contents of this dogpile are made up of a Stalinist, some lesbians, gay rights activists, academics of the Ward Churchill stripe, an evangelical baptist, a Reformed theonomist, a Reformed anti-theonomist, critics of the federal vision, abortion rights activists, and diversity bureaucrats at the university. And when World began their discussion of their “plagiarism” story, almost all of these folks, or their representatives, showed up to participate in the, um, ensuing discussion. And I am not really under the dogpile. I slipped out, shinned up a tree, and am now busy throwing pine cones.

You need a scorecard to identify all the players. But you shouldn’t need a scorecard to know what kind of game this is.

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