The Tucson Massacre And My Response To Wilson

I mentioned in the previous post that I had heard directly from Douglas Wilson, who says in his initial email and its follow-up that I “badly handled” the situation in Tucson by saying that people like him and Courtney bore some responsibility for the carnage yesterday. I don’t have Wilson’s permission to reprint his email, but here’s my response to his contention that I “badly handled” things with what he calls my “slander” of him and his fellow Christ Church elder:

(KEM to Douglas Wilson, private correspondence, Jan. 8, 2011):
And do you believe that your 10-point “Resistance To Tyranny” which, in this violent and volatile political climate, included not one word of caution regarding violence against its subject, your President, was badly handled?

Do you believe that you and Dale have “badly handled” discussion of a man whose Psalm- and cartoon-predicted assassination and whose race, death and birth have been the focus of much of yours and Dale’s rhetorical spew, and sometimes humor, in the last couple of years? Was your posting of an obviously re-issued birth certificate of Obama’s — the same re-issued, not original, birth certificate you and I and every Little Leaguer in the country has to produce — with dark commentary that it was pretty clearly, you know, suspicious-looking, at all badly handled? Did you contribute light and salt, peace and truth, to the racist and ugly discussion surrounding Obama’s citizenship?

Regarding those you dislike and see as enemies, and for whose harm you pray, have you contributed anything at all to their well-being? Or are you content simply to veer between insult, malice, and mockery and calls for “resistance” against the supposed “tyranny” of those you find odious and suspicious? The weapons of your personal warfare, Doug, may not be guns and knives — but I don’t see evidence in your public ministry that those weapons you employ are of the Spirit, either. Frankly, your words are toxic and the manner in which you employ them reckless. If you presume that your positive words will bear fruit, do you not see that your uglier, more malicious ones will, too? Jared Lee Loughner likely has never listened to you. But he obviously listened to those who poisoned his mind and provoked his wrath, and, lamentably, many hundreds of people do listen to you. I shudder to think that there’s a Loughner somewhere in whose heart your words bear horrible fruit.

Does nothing give you pause? Do you ever reflect on your tone? More to the point, do you ever intend to begin to behave as a minister of the Gospel?

“Tyranny” and “resistance” are examples of the kind of language spoken by Christians across the nation that inflames unstable and armed people like Loughner, and Dale’s hideous taste in anti-Obama humor makes, in the minds of those who listen to you, hatred of the President and other of your targets less than sinful, perhaps even indicative of the virtue of the serrated edge. (Note: Wilson’s book “The Serrated Edge” is a diminutive tome on the importance of the Christian’s use of cutting sarcasm, mocking irony, and scathing wit in debating one’s enemies, of whom there are, in Wilson world, a distressingly stark number). I’m sure you noticed that I absolved you of accountability for what this man did. What I said, and what I mean, is that you and every other mocker, hater, inciter, and provocateur bear responsibility for the dangerous climate engulfing us now. That you speak as you do in the name of Christ is horrifying to me.

Here’s something else you should know: I have prayed endlessly and mightily, for as long as I’ve known of you, for yours and Dale’s repentance, and I’ve prayed now for the shooter in this tragedy. I do not want him to be sentenced to death, and I will pray that even though he did something despicable, he, too, would be touched by the grace that you and I receive in Christ Jesus — unto salvation, and unto healing and restoration. It grieves me beyond what I can tell you that I feel the need to pray the same result for you and those who mimic and follow you.

As always, I am more than willing to sit down and talk to you. I won’t, however, stop holding you to the standard appropriate for a minister of the Gospel. I hold myself to that same standard, and if the Holy Spirit of Christ convicts me that I’ve sinned in what I said, you can be assured that I’ll publicly, personally, and promptly apologize and repent. Until then, I stand by my words.

One Response to “The Tucson Massacre And My Response To Wilson”

  1. Ashwin says:

    At least you are talking to him. Or at the very least responding viciously to him. Better than nothing I suppose.

    But I do agree with him that you have handled this badly. Mr. Wilson is your neighbour. He deserves better than this.

    And what is most disturbing about all this is that your response was so banal, so predictable. It was almost as though a programmed robot were writing – not a thinking person.

    Please get a grip.

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