Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Ignorance of John Whiteside

John Whiteside is an obscure liberal blogger from the Houston blogging scene who runs By the Bayou. Recently he was picked up by the left-leaning newspaper Houston Chronicle, the only newspaper in America's 4th largest metropolitan market, to run a blog on the Chron.com website named aptly enough, Blue Bayou. What makes Mr. Whiteside receive my attention is his ignorance of our beautiful Catholic faith. Since Mr. Whiteside decided to exercise his First Amendment rights, I to will exercises this God-given right bestowed upon this great nation. For the record, the Houston Chronicle does state that Blue Bayou author John Whiteside is a reader offering his own perspective on a subject that interests him. The posts and opinions are his own and are not edited by the Chronicle. He is solely responsible for the content of this blog. As are mine. Recently John Edwards, no relation to yours truly, hired on two anti-Catholic bloggers to be members of his campaign. This created an uproar within Catholic circles, as it should have, about the anti-Catholic statements and past of these two Judas'. Well, Mr. Whiteside decided to jump into this brouhaha and give his uninformed and uneducated opinions of this matter. Mr. Whiteside in his high profile blog in the Houston Chronicle makes five (5) assertions, the first two being incorrect. His first assertion on his blog is as so: Criticizing the Catholic Church or its beliefs is not "anti-Catholic bigotry." Mr. Whiteside believes that criticizing Catholicism is not bigotry. So criticizing Jews and Muslims are not off limits as well. Such as denying the Holocaust or accusing Mohammad of raping non-Muslims. Let's see how far this goes, yet Mr. Whiteside's 'logic' seems to say that anything attacking the Catholic Church is fair game. He accuses the Church as acting as a political action committee. Because the Catholic Church teaches timeless truths in Catechesis and during Mass, among many places, he thinks that the Church is ok for criticism. He fails to find a line between the teachings of the Church and political activism. His 'anger' is not justified by this skew line of thinking. Thus he is correctly named as 'ignorant' and uninformed. His bigotry is pretty apparent. His second assertion is as so: The Catholic League speaks for a fairly small number of American Catholics. The Catholic League is the largest Catholic civil rights organization in the United States. Because several of his alleged 'Catholic friends' state that the Catholic League is a "bunch of scary lunatics," is not investigative reporting nor accurate reporting for that matter. Granted that Mr. Whiteside is not a reporter, due to the high profile of the Houston Chronicle, he gets added attention to his bigoted diatribes towards the Catholic Church, he should be a bit more responsible about his blogging. His other three (3) assertions are non-sequitors to this posting, though he should take heed to his own assertion about 'rude' and 'crappy' reporting. It's the pot calling the kettle black. Finally Mr. Whiteside should just keep his mouth shut when wandering into hot religious issues where he has zero knowledge in and contributes to the 'rude' and 'crappy' reporting he so loathes. May God have mercy on his soul. To read Mr. Whiteside's diatribe against Catholicism click here. To view his other blog click here.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, Tito, why don't you respond to him ...?

Nice post Tito, this recent flap with the Edwards bloggers is shining the light of the public on the left-wing blogsphere which is not only anti-Catholic, but downright coarse, vulgar, and malicious. I can recall comments made on liberal blogs regarding Senator Rick Santorum that were borderline homicidal-rage.

To cruise through the ultra-leftwing blogsphere is to go on a voyage through, what the film Animal House might describe as "SO profound and disgusting that decorum prohibits listing them here.

skeetor said...

well said Tito, and "fidei defensor."

John said...

Can you quote something in my blog post that's a "diatribe against Catholicism" (as opposed to a critical look at the statements of a particular group)?

The irony here is something; you can't criticize a statement by a Catholic person without being called "anti-Catholic." Talk about political correctness run amok!

Anonymous said...

Looking at his blogs, and from some of the other comments on his blog, it appears that the reason for his anti-Catholicism, and of some of the others, is rooted in Catholic teaching on the morality or lack thereof of certain actions. No surprise.

Still waiting for you to post on his Chron.blog, Tito.

John said...

You can say it, Anon: gay. That's actually not my issue with the Catholic Church particularly; I think that the Catholic position is much more defensible that that of the conservative Protestant denominations. Your church at least acknowledges that there are gay people, while the conservative Protestants insist that there is no such thing, just people behaving badly.

Now, as a non-Catholic I have a problem with the burdens that the Church places on gay people for (in my view, not yours I know) no rational reason. But, in general, I think the Catholic church takes its theology much more seriously and treats issues with more care and thought than many other Christian churches do.

My main issue with the church is that it's been an important political force for a very long time, while often claiming to be above criticism because of its religious nature. (That is, to some degree, the argument against me given on this blog post: the church is right, therefore by disagreeing, I'm a bigot. As far as I could tell; it wasn't a very rational argument, which surprised me, because I've read this blog before & generally found the content here to be much better thought out than this particular post.)

So here's are some questions:

Can one criticize the church's actions or statements without being a bigot?

Does criticizing not the church, but one specific group of Catholics (which is what I did - I said nothing about the church in my original blog post) make one "anti-Catholic?"

If so, which groups does this apply to? Any group of Catholics? There are a lot of American Catholics who disagree with some church teaching and say so - are they anti-Catholic Catholics? Are they bigots?

These questions flow right out of the argument above. I'm accused of being a bigot because I said that the Catholic League is wrong in their evaluation of this current situation, and because I characterized them as extreme.

One may disagree with either of those statements, of course, but to then claim that this reveals some dislike of Catholics - the actual people who are part of the church - is quite a leap, and not one that Mr. Tito provides any evidence of. Thus it's basically a slander on me, rather than any logical refutation of anything I've said.

I think there's a very interesting discussion to be had about where individuals making political decisions that are rooted in their religious beliefs changes into a church acting as a political group. It's unfortunate to find a response that consists mostly of ad hominem arguments.

One final note: you'll notice that in my original post, I was careful not to defend the statements of the bloggers Edwards hired (I think they were pretty juvenile; I was being understated when I called them "rude.") I simply think that it's dangerous to blur the distinction between active bigotry (taking the form of discriminatory actions against individuals of a certain faith, race, etc.) and expressions (however angry or crude) of opinions about the actions or statements of a group (like the Catholic league).

Tito said...

Mr. Whiteside,

As per your first comment:

Can you quote something in my blog post that's a "diatribe against Catholicism" (as opposed to a critical look at the statements of a particular group)?

Yes I can, I’ll start with your most recent Blue Bayou posting with these examples taken exactly straight from your blog:

Number one: “Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who often can be found saying nasty things about gay people and warning that the Jews run Hollywood”

Unsupported evidence. And if you were to find these ‘allegations’, I’m sure you would have to edit his comments about the Jews and explain that ‘Church teaching’ says nasty things. Again a double standard in the media, specifically you.

Number two: “Criticizing the Catholic Church or its beliefs is not "anti-Catholic bigotry.” Because you say so makes it so? So if I were to deny that the holocaust actually occurred I wouldn’t be called a bigot? Your logic is irrational and contradictory. It’s irrational because you are unable to step away from your comments and see it for what it is, bigotry and hate. It’s contradictory because you equate the difference between hate speeches that if it’s Catholicism its ok, but if it’s Judaism it’s not ok.

Number three: “if a church is going to act like a political action committee, those activities are a valid target of criticism.” The Church does not act like a political action committee. Just because you disagree with the teachings of the Church doesn’t give you the pretext to ‘assume’ it is acting like a political action committee and then run your diatribe of hate and bigotry. You create a straw man argument so as to excuse yourself from being called what you are, an anti-Catholic bigot.

Number four: “bunch of scary lunatics,” That pretty much explains itself. Though you were quoting your alleged Catholic friends you followed up by explicitly affirming it with the following statement… “The Catholic League is a political group that represents a pretty extreme fringe”

If that’s not an ad hominem attack, then it would be pointless to continue this discussion with you.

Number five: “Toward a kinder, gentler oppression”. Your November 14, 2006 posting in Blue Bayou where you viciously attacked the Catholic Church. The following statements are taken directly from this abomination of a posting… “More accurate terms would be insulting, callous, or degrading.”, “And that's what makes the document being discussed so awful.”, and your condescending tone is pretty indicative of where you stand in your bigotry here, “The insult comes from hearing bishops call this "welcoming." It's anything but. . . . And it's horrifying to think that some of these bishops are proud of their supposed compassion.”

Number six: Another of your infamous postings titled, “A modest marriage proposal”. Full of said comments… “(T)he religious right scare-fest that took place last weekend.” I’ll stop here because I haven’t begun yet on your own independent blog getting your various hate-mongering comments towards the Catholic Church.

As per your second comment:

The irony here is something; you can't criticize a statement by a Catholic person without being called "anti-Catholic." Talk about political correctness run amok!

Either the double standard in the media, which includes you, is stopped where attacking Catholicism is fair game, but dare we say something about Judaism or Islam and we are branded bigots. You are the epitome of political correctness run amok.

As per your second posting,

Can one criticize the church's actions or statements without being a bigot?

Fair protection under the law would be nice. But I don’t mind you exercising your free speech, just as long as I can exercise mine. Unfortunately for you were caught red-handed with your hate and vile towards the Catholic Church. Why with the strong language Tito? Why are we as Catholics supposed to accept uneducated and unnecessary hate filled language from bloggers such as Mr. Whiteside? I’ve turned the other cheek, now it’s time for your education Mr. Whiteside.

If so, which groups does this apply to? Any group of Catholics? There are a lot of American Catholics who disagree with some church teaching and say so - are they anti-Catholic Catholics? Are they bigots?

There are a lot of American Catholics that disagree with some of the Church’s teachings and we as Catholics try by example and education to teach our fallen brethren to understand their faith better. But if these Catholics who disagree fail to attend Mass on Sunday’s and fail to read up on their faith, we are unable to help these fallen away brethren, but pray for them. No, they aren’t bigots, just cafeteria Catholics that we pray for and by the grace of God will return to their Church.

One may disagree with either of those statements, of course, but to then claim that this reveals some dislike of Catholics - the actual people who are part of the church - is quite a leap, and not one that Mr. Tito provides any evidence of. Thus it's basically a slander on me, rather than any logical refutation of anything I've said.

Many bigots weren’t aware they were bigots until later. Like the segregationist South, many claimed not to be bigots lest the evidence begged otherwise. The same situation is occurring here with you Mr. Whiteside.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciate your kindness and decorum.

God bless.

Tito said...

Anon,

Bill and Matt are doing an excellent job educating and explaining to Mr. Whiteside his irrational logic and contradictory statements.

I'll jump in when I feel a point is not being addressed.

Unfortunately Mr. Whiteside is being obstinate in ignoring the evidence in those comments and creating straw man arguments where none exist.

God bless.

John said...

I asked you for examples of diatribes against Catholocism. You gave me a criticism of a man, a criticism of a document, and a characterization of an event in which some Catholics participated.

Do you see the distinction here? I don't share your faith. I think in some cases, promotion of your faith is bad for the community as a whole. But I do understand that it's important to you, and respect your right to practice it.

My criticisms are prompted by two general things: an attempt to force others (through law) to practice some aspect of your faith, or an example of a statement from your church which I believe will be damaging to people (such as the statement on homosexuality).

This may all be irrelevant; it seems that you have anwered the most important question (can one criticize the statements of actions of the church without being a bigot) with a fairly definitive no. Given that, there's really not much ground for a discussion, is there?

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