Monday, August 20, 2007

James White's Hypocritical Sense of Humor

Just for the record . . .

Lately the big blog controversy has been over the good bishop's "funny" comparison of Catholics to Muslim terrorists. Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin protested and his blog post generated a (record?) 795 responses (!!) as of this writing. Here are White's funny-as-all-get-out satirical doctored "photos" (ha ha ha he he ho ho):

Rcfatwa

(Francis Beckwith is a recent "revert" to the Catholic Church whom White has been personally trashing and treating unethically in addition to his expected theological critiques)

Rccharity

Really hilarious stuff, ain't it?

This brings to my mind some of the more notorious of Bishop White's past attempts at "humor." I've been the target, myself, of two visual caricatures done by the Bishop White's artist, Angel Contreras. Here is the first one, in which I am portrayed as a sadistic, hateful practitioner of voodoo:

The image “http://www.aomin.org/Images%20and%20Sounds/jpeg/DAtoon.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

(copyright 2004)
[source page and post / photograph URL]

What I find most interesting here is the insinuation that I was lying about the counter-caricature simply being a piece of harmless fun (which of course it was). All we did was spoof White's own caricature of himself with all the "darts" of his opponents missing his smirking face.

Ours had the Catholic dart hit him squarely in the forehead. But White had a hissy fit because we actually showed blood. That was over the line for him.

Now, many of my own readers also objected (funny how you never hear of White's followers and sycophants objecting to any of his questionable attempts at smear-humor; I guess in their eyes he is always right about everything and never wrong about anything). I apologized for the offense caused and removed my counter-caricature after all of one whole day. And that is because I recognize (as I expressed then) that humor and satire is highly subjective and a matter of taste to a large extent. Reasonable people can disagree that some humor goes too far and is truly offensive. Praise God that we are not all exactly the same. That would be a very boring world.

This is why it is beyond odd that White has never, to my knowledge, apologized for any of his vicious hit pieces against opponents, including the present ones with the Islamist terrorists supposedly being analogous to Catholics who defend Francis Beckwith against White's and other anti-Catholics' smears and despicable ad hominem attacks. He apparently doesn't recognize the possibility that some instances of humor can be truly offensive (even objectively so to a large extent, I would argue).

All that seems to matter to White is the nature of the opponent's belief-system. If that opponent happens to be Catholic, then all is fair game; anything goes. And that is because (for him) Catholics are unregenerate, totally depraved, idolatrous, pagan non-Christians (with converts and apologists like myself even lower down the scale and into the slime because we are "traitors" and "false teachers"). Therefore, the usual rules of charity and benefit of the doubt are cast to the wind.

It's okay to lie about those wrongly considered to be evil "theological liars" themselves. We can't possibly have an honest, sincere theological disagreement. We must be thoroughly wicked and evil and obstinate because we disagree with White's Reformed Baptist theological worldview. Yet we don't dare classify this idiotic and hyper-uncharitable cynicism as "anti-Catholic". One can only suffer so much of such profoundly stupid folly.

Using the caricature of myself as an example to illustrate my point, then, look carefully at what White does: in his mind, my caricature couldn't possibly have been done in fun. It had to be a case of hateful spite and malice. White has, many times, shown forth a considerable amount of paranoia about his theological opponents, and implied that they literally hate him. Needless to say, I don't hate him or anyone else. Even White himself later admitted that if we had done the caricature with a simple dart on his forehead, without the blood, that it "might" have been funny.

But he couldn't get past the blood. As I said, reasonable, good people can disagree on that. I have no problem with such honest disagreement at all (which is part of the reason I removed it and why my friend did a "bloodless" version). But White takes it one step further by making out that the presence of this element proves that I am a liar when I state outright that it was "all in fun."

He always does this, no matter what form of humor is done regarding him. For heaven's sake: I couldn't even stretch out his photo or make another look like a negative without his being offended. One might observe that this is what proud and arrogant people do. They can't laugh at themselves. What's more harmless or innocent than a stretched-out photo? How is that "hateful" or vengeful or anything of the sort? Just because I don't kiss White's feet and accept his every word like a baby bird being fed by its mother, I must therefore "hate" him? There is clearly, unquestionably a double standard at work here.

But let White satirize Catholics and all these relevant ethical considerations go to the wayside. I pointed out at the time he protested our counter-caricature, how he had already posted a caricature of Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid being stroned as an idolater who would have worshiped the Golden Calf. He replied by saying that Madrid "looked good" in the caricature (completely missing the ethical and comparative point that I was making):

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[March 2004; source page]

Good and effective and proper satire (as I have noted many times) involves truth-telling, not outright lies about opponents. Note how White's versions of satire shamelessly lie and distort the truth of the matters that they touch upon. I was portrayed as a liar and hateful person (neither of which were true at all). White couldn't comprehend that any satire done about him could be done with anything but a hateful, base motivation (which is, after all -- remember -- the very doctrine of total depravity that Calvinists accept).

Likewise, defenders of Dr. Beckwith (who has himself acted charitably, ethically, and with nothing but class all through his ordeal of being personally attacked because he felt duty-bound to return to the Catholic Church) couldn't possibly have a good motivation; they must be analogous to terrorists who blow up babies and saw people's heads off. How funny . . . And Pat Madrid, as a Catholic, and (worse yet) an apologist who actually defends Catholic beliefs, can't possibly believe what he does in good conscience (even if entirely mistaken, from an opposing viewpoint).

No; he must be rationalizing about the nature of Catholic worship and our clear distinction between adoration of God and veneration of saintly creatures. He must be an idolater. Nothing else can be true because White's warped, twisted anti-Catholic framework and lack of understanding of Catholic theology simply doesn't permit it. It is unthinkable. And so, in effect, anyone who is a Catholic and goes to Mass is committing the equivalent of worship of the Golden Calf. This is at least consistent with what old man Calvin himself said (as well as Luther). If nothing else can be said for White, it can be said that he is far more in line with Calvin's
beliefs about Catholics than the so-called "Reformed Catholics" who pretend that Calvin was not thoroughly anti-Catholic himself. But since Calvin was dead-wrong about that, so is White and other anti-Catholics today.

White finds all this humor of his and his caricaturist hilariously funny. I think he should ask himself: why does he have to lie and distort the truth about his theological opponents in order to be "funny"? Wouldn't a truth-based approach to humor suit him better, as well befits any Christian man committed to the true and the ethical as opposed to false and unethical and uncharitable things?

For more on White's humor, see a former article of mine on the topic.

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