One of our local adversaries writes for New West, and she has given us a dog’s breakfast of an article here. Rather than engage with her assertions and misinformation over all (i.e. the total effect), or with her ghoulish willingness to trample over victims and their families so long as it enables her to get a shot in at Christ Church, I will set myself a somewhat different task. The first comment on that blog article asks rhetorically and somewhat triumphantly — “what factual error has Joan made?” And so I will simply content myself with a list of her factual errors (excluding any factual errors about other controversies, like the issue of zoning and boarding houses).
So here they are.
1. Joan says, “In April of 2005, two months before Steven’s arrest, Sitler’s home church in Colville, Washington, Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, informed Doug Wilson of their knowledge of Sitler’s offenses.” What actually happened was that as soon as I found out, I told Steven Sitler’s parents that they need to inform their pastor, which they did. Immediately after this, I called their pastor, Jack Bradley, who is a friend of mine, to fill him in as well. So we did not find out from Steven’s home church; it was the other way around. Joan’s factual error number one. There are seven more.
2. Joan says, “Doug Wilson . . . claims on his blog that he notified a meeting of the Christ Church Heads of Households in November or December of 2005.” What I actually did was notify them in writing at the parish level Heads of Households meeting in November, and then again at the church-wide Heads of Households meeting in December. This second verbal report is noted in the official minutes of that meeting. So I don’t claim I did this “in November or December, gosh, I don’t remember exactly.” Rather, there is written documentation and proof that I reported on the situation in detail in both November and December.
3. Joan says that I wrote a letter to the judge “requesting leniency,” followed by a selective quote which, had it been all I said, might have made her point. But for some mysterious reason, Joan did not quote the part of the letter that said, “I am grateful Steven was caught, and am grateful he has been brought to account for these actions so early in his life. I am grateful that he will be sentenced for his behavior, and that there will be hard consequences for him in real time.” Emphasis added so that Joan Opyr, cub reporter, might find it.
4. Joan said, “Doug Wilson seems to believe [he] should welcome the return of Steven Sitler not as a criminal; not as a serial pedophile; not as a dangerous man, but as a repentant sinner.” False alternative, and she is attributing views to me which I repudiate. I believe that if Steven is returned to our community, he should be welcomed as a criminal and serial pedophile and a dangerous man, as well as a sinner who professes repentance. If there is no forgiveness of sin in Christ (including horrific sin like this), then I should give up the pastorate and get a useful job with UPS or something. When terrible sinners cry out for the grace of God found in Christ, it is not a minister’s job to say “sorry, all out,”
5. Joan attributed a Lewiston Morning Tribune story to the Daily News. But David Johnson writes for the Trib.
6. Joan says, “Steven Sitler confessed his crimes to his pastor in Colville, and he confessed them to Doug Wilson. The Colville pastor chose to warn the members of his congregation immediately; the Moscow pastor did not.” Might this have had something to do with the fact that Steven Sitler was there in Colville awaiting trial? The OPC there communicated effectively and well with their congregation, as did we, as it became necessary for each of us. And we worked together with the OPC throughout this troubling case. And it is important to note (again), that the legal authorities were involved in the whole thing immediately.
7. Joan says, “Doug Wilson allowed members of his church to find out about Steven and Jamin Wight in the worst possible way: through gossip, through rumor, through inaccuracy and innuendo.” One is tempted to add, “that is to say, through reading New West.” But although it would be cute, it would be inaccurate. This is because our congregation found out about this whole situation from us, at the November and December HOH meetings, 6-7 months before Joan and her friends started their public campaign to intimidate all future victims’ families who might be hesitant about reporting a crime like this. “Just remember,” they are saying in effect, “nothing so terrible can happen to your family that we would not be willing to turn it into a public controversy.” Note to self. I need to make a run down to CostCo. I am almost out of cynicism about these people, and I had a big fifty pound bag too.
8. Joan asks, “Why no mention of Jamin Wight?” But there was mention of the Jamin Wight situation, noted in the minutes of the same December HOH meeting noted earlier. Factual error number 8.
Just one other thing. I have an article suggestion for Joan, one that should go over well at New West some time in the future. Why don’t you write something on when you think the age of sexual consent should be, and why? Quote fulsomely from gay and lesbian literature. Integrate with the current and widespread views of ethical relativism, particularly sexual relativism. And good luck.