Let me begin by noting that Bill London is not now (nor has he ever been) on the Christ Church payroll. Neither I personally, or any of my relatives, or agents hired by me, have been paying Bill ready money in order to get him to write what he has been writing about us in the newspaper. As much as it helps us, and as obvious as it is to neutral observers that this kind of thing makes the intoleristas look really bad, it is not the case that we are employing him to do all this.
I admit that it looks bad. Bill is openly quoting my brother Evan in this, his most recent column, and doing so favorably, and this is a much closer connection to me than that interesting argument advanced by Nick Gier (I forget the details, but it was something like my cousin was born in Omaha, which Timothy McVeigh drove through once, and Timothy McVeigh also attended a conference where Richard Butler spoke, and Richard Butler . . . I forget the rest, but it connects to me somehow — oh, yeah, my cousin). I could have left a paper bag at Evan’s house with the cash in it, and then Bill could have picked it up, and then gone to turn in his column at the paper arguing that chalking “Hitler Youth” on the sidewalk outside a Christian liberal arts college was the kind of robust free expression that made America great.
But an argument against this is that I don’t have enough money to get Bill to do something like this. Think of what his line of argument commits him to. Synagogues often have public sidewalks that go by them, and Bill is now on the record as saying that if someone chalked “Christkillers” on the sidewalk outside the synagogue that is just fine with him. He would object, however, if the anti-Semites used paint. This would cause damage to the concrete, damage to the people inside not being a matter of concern to him. Let me quote Bill’s argument verbatim, substituting a few key words. “First, the ‘Christkillers’ message was not vandalism. There was no damage to property. The words were written in chalk. Furthermore, the words were not even on synagogue property. The message was left on the public sidewalk . . .” I don’t have enough money to get Bill to argue in public like this. And yet, there he is, doing it. For free.