Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sam Weddington Speaks Out

Sam WeddingtonLast Thursday I posted my theological refections on a discussion I had in Charlotte Courthouse with a man I called “The Rev”. He and I had talked about Jamaat ul-Fuqra and the compound at Red House, as well the road bearing an official county name that honors the Pakistani terrorist Sheikh Gilani.

After I saw the videotapes of the news programs, I learned that “The Rev” was in fact Sam Weddington. Yesterday he came over to Gates of Vienna and left the following comment on my post:

Hello. This is the “Rev”, or Sam Weddington whom you seek to discredit in this blog. Just wanted to let you know that I was referencing Psalm 137:9. I could go on with the list, but I won’t waste your time. Also, by the way, I am well read on Martin Luther. I would simply point out that Luther was also an Anti-Semite, and as such, he had little to say that was positive about other faiths (thus, we are “Reformed, yet still reforming” Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda; Luther wrote the pamphlet “On the Jews and their lies” in 1543, an almost proto-nazi handbook). In the end, we will all choose to believe what lies in our heart of hearts. I stand with Christ’s teachings to love one another, and to pray even for my enemies. I wish you all a good day, and I pray without ceasing for you.

— The “Rev”, Sam Weddington

The Martin Luther reference was to my Friday post. I declined to point out that his argument is one that I call “discrediting the source” — that is, rather than address the substance of what Luther said, it impugns his character. If Martin Luther’s character is suspect, does that make his writings on Islam prima facie incorrect?

Anyway, here’s what I said to Sam in response:

Sam,

Glad to have you here.

In what way did I seek to “discredit” you? Have I misquoted you, or misrepresented your views, or changed the meaning in any significant way of what you said that night?

If so, please give me the details, and I will update my account.

If not, then I think you are in conversation with people who simply disagree with you.

Sam came back the next day to leave a second comment:
- - - - - - - - - -
Sam WeddingtonWhen I refer to “discredit”, what I meant was that, judging from the article and the response to it, me and my theological position is being dismissed and discredited and nothing more than an extension of liberal Protestant theology and Christian pacifism. I will commend you for quoting our conversation correctly. However, what I really took issue with was your assertion: “…with room for peaceful Muslims here and terrorists there….” You know, as well as I do, that in our discussion I maintained that I do not believe that the people who live in Red House have any connection with terrorism. You may think that I am picking at words, but it is in the detail of words that meaning and resolution can be found. I have done research on this community and others. I realize that there was a couple arrested at this community a few years ago on gun charges. However, it takes more than a handgun charge to make one a terrorist. I would just point out that I have had people under my pastoral care that have run afoul of the law as well. In the end, what I believe is that the people of this community genuinely seek to live their lives peacefully. While some may seek shelter there under false pretenses, this does not adequately represent the truth of the community’s religious commitment. I would also point out to those who would respond to those who would charge me with “pie in the sky” liberalism and pacifism that I am not a pacifist. In fact, I count myself one who very much believes that the secular, civil order is needed to maintain control over the evil tendency towards disorder and destruction that lies in the hearts of people living in human society (i.e. to give short leash to the “sinfulness” of human beings in the city of man, to borrow from St. Augustine from whom Luther borrowed his two cities metaphor). However, it is my belief that the secular order’s power to maintain order and establish laws is predicated upon God’s law of justice and compassion, and as such, all such use of force must be exercised with an eye towards equity, fairness, and the establishment of truth. It is to this end that I support the members of this community to whom I credit the attempt to live their lives in accord with their own religious conscience and under the rule of law of the “city” in which they find themselves. Thank you and I will still be praying for you.

I felt that his second comment deserved a longer and more detailed reply. Below you will find his words in regular font, with my responses in italics.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

When I refer to “discredit”, what I meant was that, judging from the article and the response to it, me [sic] and my theological position is being dismissed and discredited and nothing more than an extension of liberal Protestant theology and Christian pacifism.

A logical extension of your position would be pacifism, since a refusal to look at overwhelming evidence of a violent ideology and its violent history would indicate a predisposition towards pacifism.

But I’ll concede the possibility that you do not intend pacifism in what you have been saying, despite the lack of evidence to back up your assertion.

I will commend you for quoting our conversation correctly. However, what I really took issue with was your assertion: “…with room for peaceful Muslims here and terrorists there….” You know, as well as I do, that in our discussion I maintained that I do not believe that the people who live in Red House have any connection with terrorism.

You did indeed maintain that position. You also refused even to hear any of the evidence indicating that other people — people whom you have not met, people who are committed members of the Muslims of America and Jamaat ul-Fuqra — have conspired to commit violent acts, have committed murder, and continue to engage in other violent unlawful activities to this day.

There is copious evidence to support these facts, much of it found in official government reports. I can make these data available to you, if you so desire, either as URLs, in digital documents, or as printed material, with sources cited.

Your contention is that I had no right to make judgements about the Muslims of America without having met any of your friends from Red House.

I have also judged the Third Reich without ever having met a single Nazi. The same thing is true of the Killing Fields of Cambodia, or the Rwandan Genocide. For each of these subjects there is ample and reliable documentation.

I accept that some people at the Red House compound are simply sincere practitioners of Islam, and know nothing of terrorist activities. That much is clear from various sources on the topic.

However, I will repeat my contention: people
you have never met, including Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Gilani, are using the Red House compound as a front for a violent terrorist organization, and the people that you have met are either innocent and sincere dupes, or skilled and cynical manipulators.

The evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”


You may think that I am picking at words, but it is in the detail of words that meaning and resolution can be found. I have done research on this community and others. I realize that there was a couple arrested at this community a few years ago on gun charges. However, it takes more than a handgun charge to make one a terrorist.

This is a disingenuous argument. You are “picking at words”. These were no mere “handgun” charges; the case was about stockpiling automatic weapons.

From
Defense Watch:

“The Red House, Va., compound was under surveillance by law enforcement prior to the 9/11 attacks for stockpiling weapons. Three members of the compound, including leader Vincente Pierre and his wife Tracy Upshur, were later arrested for illegal arms purchases.”

Those “illegal arms” were
not Saturday night specials.

I would just point out that I have had people under my pastoral care that have run afoul of the law as well. In the end, what I believe is that the people of this community genuinely seek to live their lives peacefully. While some may seek shelter there under false pretenses, this does not adequately represent the truth of the community’s religious commitment.

Nobody “sought shelter there under false pretenses”. Fugitive felons escaping the crackdown in Colorado fled to Red House as a safe house, with the full knowledge and approval of the group’s leadership. Leaders from Pakistan make regular visits to Red House; they are well aware of what goes on there.

The FBI considers it likely that John Allen Muhammad, the Beltway Sniper, holed up in Red House for a brief period, although I think it is more probable that he went to the Meherrin compound.


I would also point out to those who would respond to those who would charge me with “pie in the sky” liberalism and pacifism that I am not a pacifist. In fact, I count myself one who very much believes that the secular, civil order is needed to maintain control over the evil tendency towards disorder and destruction that lies in the hearts of people living in human society (i.e. to give short leash to the “sinfulness” of human beings in the city of man, to borrow from St. Augustine from whom Luther borrowed his two cities metaphor).

If you are sincere in this wish, then it is incumbent upon you to consider evidence in addition to that which you learn first-hand from your acquaintances in Red House. Jamaat ul-Fuqra has been engaging in violence and criminality in this country for nearly three decades.

Simply to ignore and wave away the mountains of testimony about what has been done by Jamaat ul-Fuqra, including at the Red House compound, is to be derelict in any obligation to defend yourself, your country, and the Christian faith.


However, it is my belief that the secular order’s power to maintain order and establish laws is predicated upon God’s law of justice and compassion, and as such, all such use of force must be exercised with an eye towards equity, fairness, and the establishment of truth.

As I said above, if you rely solely upon the testimony of the people at Red House, you may discern a fragment of the truth, but the truth in its entirety will elude you.

It is to this end that I support the members of this community to whom I credit the attempt to live their lives in accord with their own religious conscience and under the rule of law of the “city” in which they find themselves. Thank you and I will still be praying for you.

As a wise theologian once said, “Prayer is what we do while we are waiting for something to happen.”

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

That man is confused. Since when does "religious commitment" equate to "commitment to peace" when you're talking about Islam? In fact, I'd bet "religious commitment", to a Muslim, means *greater* commitment to Jihad. This is reminiscent of a poster on another blog who expressed shock that a "pious Muslim man" would sexually harass a female coworker. What that grossly misinformed person didn't get is that if she's an infidel, and I believe she was, it would be perfectly pious for him to *rape* his coworker, then force her to convert to Islam and marry him. It is US law, not Islamic religious imperative, that stops him.

Cindi said...

And the good 'Rev.' is holier than thou, Baron, and don't you forget it.

/sarc off

heroyalwhyness said...

The rev stated :
""However, it takes more than a handgun charge to make one a terrorist.. . ."

Glad to see the Baron reminded the rev about John Allen Muhammed . . .the beltway sniper.

You see, rev, the victims of this beltway sniper would beg to differ.

September 5, 2002, 10:30 pm: Paul LaRuffa, a 55-year-old pizzeria owner, is shot six times at close range while locking up his pizzeria in Clinton in Prince George's County, Maryland.

September 21: Claudine Parker, a liquor store clerk in Montgomery, Alabama, is shot and killed during a robbery. Her coworker Kellie Adams is also injured.

October 2: 6:05 pm: The first Beltway-area sniper shooting occurs on October 2 in Wheaton in Montgomery County. The first victim is James Martin, a 55-year-old program analyst who dies in the parking lot of a Shoppers Food Warehouse grocery store.

* October 3: The next wave of shootings occurs in a 15-hour period.
o 7:41 am: James L. Buchanan, a 39-year-old landscaper known as "Sonny," is shot dead in Montgomery County near Rockville, Maryland. Buchanan is shot while mowing the grass at the Fitzgerald Auto Mall.
o 8:12 am: 54-year-old part-time taxi driver Premkumar Walekar is killed in Aspen Hill in Montgomery County while pumping gasoline into his taxi at a Mobil station at Aspen Hill Road and Connecticut Avenue.
o 8:37 am: Sarah Ramos, a 34-year-old babysitter and housekeeper, is killed while reading a book on a bench shortly after she exits a bus. Ramos was shot at the Leisure World Shopping Center in Aspen Hill.
o 9:58 am: 25-year-old Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera is killed while vacuuming her Dodge Caravan at a Shell station in Kensington, Maryland.
o 9:15 pm: Pascal Charlot, a 72-year-old retired carpenter, is shot while walking on Georgia Avenue at Kalmia Road, in Washington, D.C. He dies less than an hour later.

* October 4, 2:30 pm: 43-year-old Caroline Seawell is wounded in the parking lot of a Michaels craft store at Spotsylvania Mall in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, just outside the city of Fredericksburg, while she is loading purchases into her minivan.

* October 7, 8:09 am: Iran Brown, a 13-year-old boy, is wounded as he arrives at Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie, Maryland, in Prince George's County. (Brown's name was at first concealed from the public, but has since been revealed.)

* October 9 8:18 pm: 53-year-old Dean Harold Meyers is shot dead while pumping gasoline at a station in Prince William County, Virginia, near the city of Manassas.

* October 11 9:30 am: 53-year-old Kenneth Bridges dies while pumping fuel at an Exxon station off Interstate 95 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, near Fredericksburg.

* October 14 9:15 pm: 47-year-old Linda Franklin, an FBI intelligence analyst who was a resident of Arlington County, Virginia, is shot dead at about 9:15 p.m. after she finishes shopping at a Home Depot in Fairfax County, Virginia, just outside Falls Church. The police receive a supposedly very good lead after the October 14 shooting, but it is later determined that the witness was inside at the time and was lying. The witness was arrested for interfering with the investigation.

* October 19 8:00 pm: 37-year-old Jeffrey Hopper is shot in a parking lot near the Ponderosa steakhouse in Ashland, Virginia, about 90 miles south of Washington near Interstate 95. Authorities discover a 4-page letter from the shooter in the woods.

* October 21: Richmond-area police arrest two men, one with a white van, outside a gas station. The men turn out to be illegal immigrants with no connection to the shooter and they are remanded to the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

* October 22, 5:56 am: Bus driver Conrad Johnson is shot dead while standing on the steps of his bus in Aspen Hill. Chief Moose releases part of the content of one of the shooter's communications, in which he declares, "Your children are not safe, anywhere, at any time."



The attacks were carried out with a stolen Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic .223 caliber rifle equipped with a red-dot sight at ranges of between 50 and over 100 yards.

james higham said...

This is the standard defense - I know lots of people who are not terrorists, therefore there are no terrorists and thus you impugn their good name. Ignore it, Baron.

By the way, I've tagged you over at my site. Sorry!

Phanarath said...

I would not normally write about these things. But I pray sometimes myself. Also for other people. Mostly just for clarity. Sometimes when I am angry I am being made calm, unless I pray to remain angry.

Only a few times I have told someone that I had prayed for them, and then only after the thing I prayed for had happened. Usually I don't talk about it. But this man; Sam Weddington, seems be to wearing his Religion on the outside. And when he say he will pray, it seems to me, like a curse.

As if there is something ungodly about the Baron, that needs praying for. Maybe others look at this differently, but I find it rude, to say something like that at the end of an argument. I think it would be more polite and respectful to shout some bad words.

Baron Bodissey said...

James --

Dympha found the tag already! You will hear from us...

Baron Bodissey said...

Phanarath --

I appreciate your sentiments.

Zerosumgame said...

While the Reverend was indeed right about Luther being a proto-Nazi, I would venture that the good reverend himself is of the religious left and supports Hamas, Hezbollah, and Fatah as freedom fighters, while opposing Israel's security wall.

In other words, I would bet he supports todays Islamonazis in their quest to exterminate the Zionist Jews (even if in his naivete he does not see that) even as he denounces Martin Luther for advocating the same.

In short, he is a hypocrite.

Profitsbeard said...

The Rev. reminds me of those religious characters in sci-fi movies who are always trying to reason with aliens... just before they are vaporized for the naive fantastists that they are.

Read the Koran, Rev. Read the Hadiths.

Mohammad was a rapacious pedophile warlord who approved of the murder of a woman poet because she teased him with satirical verses.

And Muslims have complete contempt for Christians as heretical dupes.

But they'll gladly exploit the naivete of "useful idiots", who don't do their fundamental religious homework, and who blithely think that pretending that we are all the same, and that everyone wants "peace", is sufficient.

I'd like to hear the mocking laughter that goes on in the Muslim compound right after the Rev. leaves their company.