Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bigotry and Bellisario

I noticed that Mr. Bellisario has posted against something Dr. White mentioned in passing in a Sunday School lesson. Mr. Bellisario starts his post thus: "James White at Alpha and Omega has once again proven why he is an anti-Catholic bigot." However, when it comes to his critique of what Dr. White said, Mr. Bellisario says: "First of all I would love to know where James White got his information that tells us large amounts of the guards were “practicing” Catholics."

One has to chuckle. Bellisario has no idea where Dr. White got his information, but Dr. White is a "bigot" (in Mr. Bellisario's mind) simply for holding to the opinion that it has been rightly said that a large portion of the guards at Buchenwald and Auschewitz were practicing Catholics. That opinion would seem to be justified strictly on the statistical fact of Germany's population being about 1/3 Roman Catholic and the German practice of conscription for military service.

Oh, and Bellisario doesn't stop there. His second point is equally amusing: "Secondly, what does he consider the definition of “practicing Catholics” to be?" Bellisario isn't sure what Dr. White means by "practicing Catholics" but he's sure Dr. White is just being a bigot.

Amazing! Does Bellisario even know the definition of a bigot?

Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition, defines it this way:
1. a person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed, opinion, etc.
2. a narrow-minded, prejudiced person
this term has evolved a bit over the years, but the sense was about the same in 1913, when Webster's gave (after an obsolete sense) this definition:
2. A person who regards his own faith and views in matters of religion as unquestionably right, and any belief or opinion opposed to or differing from them as unreasonable or wicked. In an extended sense, a person who is intolerant of opinions which conflict with his own, as in politics or morals; one obstinately and blindly devoted to his own church, party, belief, or opinion.


That describes Mr. Bellisario, not Dr. White, to the "t." Bellisario is intolerant of opinions that conflict with his own and is obstinately and blindly devoted to his own church. He is prejudiced against anything remotely negative that is said about his church, and will call others "bigots" for holding to their opinions, even before any facts are brought to bear on the subject.

Bigotry indeed, but not from Dr. White. Dr. White simply mentioned an historical fact in passing during a Sunday-school lesson on Matthew 23:37. Ironically, the matter was tangentially related to pointing out that there are some unreasonbly intolerant folks out there who will scream "bigot" (or worse) when you mention that the Jews killed Jesus and even called down his blood on them and their children. Apparently, there are equally bigoted Romanists who will shout "bigot" when you dare to suggest that Roman Catholics were prison guards. Ah, the irony. Nevertheless, we are glad to see that Mr. Bellisario is paying close attention to Dr. White's sunday-school lessons, and we hope that he will get past his prejudice and focus on the main points of that lesson, rather than a single sentence spoken in passing.

-TurretinFan

*** Update ***

There are a number of radical Romanists upset by a passing remark that Dr. White made about the participation of some practicing Roman Catholics in the atrocities of the Holocaust. They demand an apology.

I wonder if they are familiar with the following facts:

Hitler was baptized as a Roman Catholic and was confirmed on May 22, 1904, at Linz Cathedral. The Roman Catholic church never formally excommunicated Hitler.

On July 20, 1933, the Roman Catholic Church represented by Cardinal Pacelli (who later became Pope Pius XII) signed the Reichskonkordat (Concordat). This document has, as its first article:
The German Reich guarantees freedom of profession and public practice of the Catholic religion.

It acknowledges the right of the Catholic Church, within the limit of those laws which are applicable to all, to manage and regulate her own affairs independently, and, within the framework of her own competence, to publish laws and ordinances binding on her members.
(source)

Others have noted that Goebbels and Himmler were also from Roman Catholic families and were apparently confirmed Roman Catholics. Goebbels was even married in the Roman Catholic church. None of them were formally excommunicated.

Were there Roman Catholic priests imprisoned etc. by the Nazis? Absolutely! Most of those were imprisoned at Dachau, where they were permitted to set up a chapel for the practice of their religion within Barracks 26. And, in the fall of November 1945, former SS men from the camp built a Roman Catholic Church and it was subsequently used by them for worship under the American regime that transformed the camp into an internment camp for Nazis.

(see, for example, Legacies of Dachau, by Harold Marcuse)

Was there anti-Vatican sentiment among Nazi heirarchs like Goebbels and Himmler? Of course. But were the Roman Catholics who, like the rest of the population, got involved in the bad deeds of the Germans? I think one would have to be very naive to believe otherwise. No one is suggesting (well - no one in this conversation) that only practicing Roman Catholics were involved or even that practicing Roman Catholics were more involved than Protestants. It is a little interesting that non-practicing Roman Catholics were the leaders of the Nazi organization, but for some reason it seems to trigger a knee-jerk reaction from folks like Bellisario when someone suggests in passing that practicing Roman Catholics were somehow involved.

21 comments:

Fisher said...

I don't want to be rude or anything, but I have to say, Mr. Bellisario can be just intolerable at times. It's like he'll latch on to anything at all as an excuse to flame and rant against you guys.

Douglas Kofi Adu-Boahen said...

It's a laughable state of affair when someone resorts to foolishnees like this. Good post, sir!

Ben Douglass said...

That opinion would seem to be justified strictly on the statistical fact of Germany's population being about 1/3 Roman Catholic and the German practice of conscription for military service.

By that logic, you must admit that a large portion of the guards at concentration camps were practicing Protestants.

Turretinfan said...

Of course, Ben.

Fisher said...

If I recall correctly, the Protestant church was divided in two at that time. The larger German Christians movement supported the Nazi regime, while the smaller Confessing Church movement (of which Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a member) opposed it.

Turretinfan said...

Frankly, for Dr. White's point it didn't really even matter if they were "Protestants" or "Catholics."

I looked around real quick but there doesn't seem to be much data on the religious affiliation of Nazi Prison Guards. The closest "data" that I could find was from an atheist site which noted that the "Catholic" support for Nazism was lower than among "Protestants" in Germany but still significant (link to atheist site - not recommended).

Matthew Bellisario said...

Then where does your pal White get away with making such an accusation?

Turretinfan said...

Get away with?

Accusations?

He made a passing remark that almost nothing to do with the subject under discussion - a remark that you took unreasonable umbrage at.

You don't know what evidence Dr. White based that on or even what he meant by "practicing Catholics" by your own admission. Your easily-mocked bigotry takes the relative paucity of data as an "admission" from me. But you made the accusation that his claim was "garbage." Prove it! Show us one - even just one - at least semi-reliable breakdown of the religious affiliations/practices of the guards at the two camps that Dr. White named.

Or just admit that your whole post was based on prejudice not fact. We reasonably conclude that from the fact that you attempt to provide some data to support your opinion - data this irrelevant to the issue at hand, to wit the religious practice of the particular prison guards in question.

That said ... perhaps Dr. White erred and should have named different camps or a different religion "Lutherans" instead of "Catholics."

Honestly, who besides you cares if he slipped up and should have said "Lutherans" rather than "Catholics"? It makes no difference to the discussion he was providing.

-TurretinFan

Andrew W said...

That Dr White can make a statement such as this, even in passing, and not have to make an apology and correction is insane.

What if during a public engagement that was then posted on youtube I said "it is widely accepted that "the majority of wife beaters are calvinists" in passing during a discussion about whatever? When (rightfully) confronted that there is no evidence to support such an absurd statement, wouldn't I be expected to apologize and do so publicly?

Maybe as the small peon that I am, nobody would notice. But this is Dr James White, who does have a wide audience and is respected within many circles. When he states something as an accepted fact, a lot of his audience will accept it as such.

I don't understand why an apology and retraction shouldn't be demanded from Dr White for trying to link Catholics and the Catholic Church to the horrible atrocities committed by Nazi's in the holocaust.

I politely ask Dr White to apologize and retract his statement.

Anonymous said...

Turretinfan, how is it that your reaction to Bellisario exhibits anything less than what you excuse Bellisario of? Why is it that Bellisario is considered bigot for rejecting your opinion yet you fail to consider yourself one for doing just the same thing. After all, the facts do stand against you. There is little in this world, frankly nothing in the world, remotely close important as is truth. What White said is simply not supported. At the end of the day that's what matters. Quit "avoiding the issue."

Turretinfan said...

"Turretinfan, how is it that your reaction to Bellisario exhibits anything less than what you excuse Bellisario of?"

I have evidence of Bellisario's ignorance from his own mouth. Bellisario simply assumes that Dr. White's comments are ignorant. See the difference.

I assume you mean "accuse" not "excuse."

"Why is it that Bellisario is considered bigot for rejecting your opinion yet you fail to consider yourself one for doing just the same thing."

Note ... bigotry is not just rejecting someone's opinion. See the definitions in the post.

"After all, the facts do stand against you."

What facts exactly? Bellisario confessed that he accused Dr. White without knowing the basis for Dr. White's comment or even the meaning behind one of the key words that Dr. White used.

Or do you mean against Dr. White? Bellisario hasn't pointed to any evidence of the religious breakdown of Nazi prison guards.

So ... I'm not sure why you think what you do.

"There is little in this world, frankly nothing in the world, remotely close important as is truth."

The number of hairs on my head is a truth. I assure that it is not worth your time investigating. So, no. Just because something is "truth" doesn't mean it's worth anyone's time.

"What White said is simply not supported."

Let's suppose you're right. Perhaps the explanation is simply that Dr. White meant to say "practicing Lutherans" or "non-practicing Catholics" or "practicing Christians." The particular detail of the people in question being "catholics" had practically no bearing on the discussion. It's not like the discussion was about criticizing Catholicism. If it were, I would understand the otherwise irrational tirade of Bellisario.

"At the end of the day that's what matters."

Dr. White makes mistakes, and I've reported on them before. If your concern is to prove that Dr. White is fallible, consider yourself a winner already, even though you haven't provided a shred of evidence that he erred in this case.

"Quit 'avoiding the issue.'"

The issue here is Bellisario's bigotry ... plain and simple. He can't let a passing comment go.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Andrew:

"That Dr White can make a statement such as this, even in passing, and not have to make an apology and correction is insane."

The horror of horrors of suggesting that there might have been Nazis that were also practicing Roman Catholics! Oh no! What will we do! There must be public apologies or blood in the street -- any other option is insanity!

Clearly I'm mocking you and your ridiculous outrage over a passing comment.

"What if during a public engagement that was then posted on youtube I said "it is widely accepted that "the majority of wife beaters are calvinists" in passing during a discussion about whatever?"

The person should be forced to apologize or burnt at the stake. I mock you, of course. Who cares? If it was just a passing comment, let it lie. Why make a mountain out of a molehill.

"When (rightfully) confronted that there is no evidence to support such an absurd statement, wouldn't I be expected to apologize and do so publicly?"

Uh ... no. Not every factual error demands a public apology. And, of course, there is no evidence as yet that Dr. White even made a factual error.

"Maybe as the small peon that I am, nobody would notice."

Frankly, if Bellisario had not highlighted this matter, I doubt many people at all would have noticed. Now, Roman Catholic participation with the Nazis is being highlighted.

"But this is Dr James White, who does have a wide audience and is respected within many circles."

I don't think anyone views him as a WW2 historian. I could be mistaken, but I've not seen that. I don't suppose you're under the misunderstanding that the historical detail in question was in any way the point of the discussion ...

"When he states something as an accepted fact, a lot of his audience will accept it as such."

Assuming they even remember it! It was a minor point that was part of a tangent. As I pointed out above, the reason that this will stick in folks minds is because Bellisario and his bigotry highlighted it.

"I don't understand why an apology and retraction shouldn't be demanded from Dr White for trying to link Catholics and the Catholic Church to the horrible atrocities committed by Nazi's in the holocaust."

See, now you are inferring an intent that wasn't there. Dr. White didn't try to link "the Catholic Church" to "horrible atrocities." I demand an immediate public apology from you for your factual error. Also, I demand an immediate and formal public apology for spelling it "Nazi's" instead of "Nazis." I mock, of course - about the apology, though of course your claim about intent is wrong. It was just a passing remark about how people are afraid these days to be called anti-Semites. Your ridiculous over-reaction (like Bellisario's) confirm the point that Dr. White was making, which had nothing to do with connecting the Vatican and concentration camps.

"I politely ask Dr White to apologize and retract his statement."

A polite request probably shouldn't have "insane" in the first sentence ... just a pointer. Also, polite requests to Dr. White should be directed to Dr. White, not to me. I don't mind pointing out the bigotry of radical Romanists like Bellisario, but I am not Dr. White's messenger boy.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

I will wade into the frey here and concede by saying, "I am a bigot" based on both definitions offered, TF.

I would equally say, Dr. White is a bigot and so are you!

The question then is not that we are bigots, which we all are, even those making the accusations in here against Dr. White, it is a question of what you are going to do because of what has been done for bigots about that Truth?

I can say with some remorse that not until Christ came alive in me I was blind to my bigotry!

Now here's the logic that I use to make such a substantial claim about myself and others in here. It is as James puts it:

Jas 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well.
Jas 2:9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Jas 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
Jas 2:11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
Jas 2:12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.
Jas 2:13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Mr. Bellisario, I see you have continued your charge against Dr. White herein. Let me ask you a question, have you ever sinned on one point of the Law of Righteousness? If you have, then you are a bigot!

Now then, consider this, for me, I would put it over succinctly, quoting Paul, that "perfect" Jew according to the Law of Righteousness and the Word of God, mind you, yet he was so deceived by that perfection, so much so Jesus said this to him which he testified to and related his testimony to King Agrippa this way:

Act 26:14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
Act 26:15 And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.

Do you not see then, that by this charge you make against Dr. White, you in fact are persecuting Christ?

I for one would counsel you advisedly that as the Apostle Paul did during his service and witness to the things of the Lord, so Dr. White can help you to see the Truth that will aid you in turning from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God so that indeed you can receive the forgiveness because of your sins, which is bigotry and take your place among the Saints as Paul says to King Agrippa too:

Act 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

By the way, let me quote Matthew to hopefully put over the point:

Mat 7:1 "Judge not, that you be not judged.
Mat 7:2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
Mat 7:3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Mat 7:4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?
Mat 7:5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.


TF, the thing that most concerns me is the following verse:

Mat 7:6 "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

But I end my appeal this way:

Joh 8:7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."

Stones anyone?

timharris said...

T-fan, I find this whole discussion quite confusing. First, what's the big deal about being a guard at a concentration camp? Are you suggesting that US guards say at Gitmo should be excommunicated?

Second, I'd be curious to see how you would have formulated "charges" against the three men mentioned, if you had been a churchman at the time. Whether Catholic or Protestant. Start with Goebbels, for example. What would your charge be, what would the specifications be, and in what year do you suppose you would have filed your charge?

Turretinfan said...

Dear Tim:

1) The reason why the remark was made in passing was mentioning an example of why folks are afraid to speak about the judgment that came upon the Jews, for fear of being called anti-Semites.

2) However, certain bigoted Romanists are highly offended at the suggestion that there might have been Nazi prison guards who were also practicing Romanists. Your first question is rightly directed at them, since it is they who are upset about this fact.

3) As for whether Hitler et al. should have been excommunicated ... my point was not so much that the RCC wasn't doing its job, but that if they wanted to distances themselves from the Nazis, one logical thing to do would be to do what they did to previous Germans they didn't like.

-TurretinFan

timharris said...

Ah, confusion instantly dispersed. Now I understand. Thanks.

Alex said...

Turretinfan, I find that excusing James White’s comment as being a remark made in passing is really a poor excuse. I could make the passing comment that the majority of abortionists are practicing Reformed Lutherans as part of a discussion on the culture of death. If someone were to challenge that passing comment, would you come to my defense by stating that my passing comment was above scrutiny? Would you characterize those who challenged my comments as radicals? Are all remarks made in passing above scrutiny in your opinion?

Are you of the opinion that it is incumbent upon us who challenge White’s assertion to demonstrate its untruthfulness prior to White first demonstrating its truthfulness? If you do not believe that White has to demonstrate the truthfulness of his claim, are you proposing that we make this a universal rule, or just a specific rule to be applied to White alone?

Secondly, would you characterize Dr. Tiller as a practicing Reformed Lutheran?

Turretinfan said...

"I could make the passing comment that the majority of abortionists are practicing Reformed Lutherans as part of a discussion on the culture of death."

That's non-analogous. The topic under discussion was general modern fears of being considered antisemitic.

"Are you of the opinion that it is incumbent upon us who challenge White’s assertion to demonstrate its untruthfulness prior to White first demonstrating its truthfulness?"

That kind of comment shows me that you've missed the point. The point is not whether Dr. White's statements have to be taken as true until proved false. Instead, the point is that if you go around calling folks "bigots" simply for making statements that you don't like (even though you're not sure what the person means and you're not sure what they are basing their comment on), then you yourself are (ironically) exhibiting the dictionary definition of bigotry.

Dr. Tiller was a practicing "Lutheran" broadly defined. His Lutheran church isn't "Reformed" in any meaningful sense, and isn't even "Lutheran" in the sense of following the teachings of Luther. His church is as close to that of Luther as yours is to the apostles: connection in name only.

Deacon Harbey Santiago said...

TF>> That said ... perhaps Dr. White erred and should have named different camps or a different religion "Lutherans" instead of "Catholics."

Apology accepted... Let move one...

Viva Cristo Rey!

CatholicDeacon

Anonymous said...

I know this is along time after the original posting of this but I have a question. What does it matter if they were practicing Catholics? What's the point of "mentioning this in passing?" What was he trying to prove? This is the worst kind of logical fallacy. Lets say they were practicing Catholics or whatever, lets say they were Calathumpians. Does that mean that said religion is evil simply because some people who have practiced the religion happened to also be Nazi guards? This argument is absurd, Hitler also happened to be a vegitarian and also a dog lover. Whats the point of me bringing up the point that Hitler was a dog lover and a vegitarian unless I am trying to discredit vegitarianism and loving dogs? this is beneath a man of White's intelligence!

Turretinfan said...

"I know this is along time after the original posting of this but I have a question."

No worries.

"What does it matter if they were practicing Catholics?"

Short answer, it matters that they weren't atheists but rather some species of "Christian" broadly defined.

"What's the point of 'mentioning this in passing?'"

Things mentioned in passing often don't have much of a point. However, the limited point is noted above, namely that these are folks with some form of "Christian" profession.

"What was he trying to prove?"

See above. Of course, the best answer is to listen to the program (though perhaps it is no longer available for free).

"This is the worst kind of logical fallacy."

Huh?

"Lets say they were practicing Catholics or whatever, lets say they were Calathumpians. Does that mean that said religion is evil simply because some people who have practiced the religion happened to also be Nazi guards?"

No, it doesn't. You're 100% right about that. Also, that wasn't Dr. White's argument, although it is the wrong impression one gets from reading Bellisario.

"This argument is absurd, Hitler also happened to be a vegitarian and also a dog lover. Whats the point of me bringing up the point that Hitler was a dog lover and a vegitarian unless I am trying to discredit vegitarianism and loving dogs? this is beneath a man of White's intelligence!"

It's nice of you to praise his intelligence, but I think you should try to listen to his comment in its context. In the context, it really wouldn't have made a difference if Dr. White had said "Lutherans" or "Catholics." His point was not what Bellisario extracted, but simply ... well I've already stated it, and I encourage you to listen for yourself and confirm that my account is right.

It's not part of an argument against Roman Catholicism.

-TurretinFan